DEA Registration Surrenders
Voluntarily surrendering your DEA registration may seem like an absurd request, yet many healthcare practitioners have done exactly that. The voluntarily surrender often occurs after a DEA inspection, interview or raid, when practitioners are often scared, confused or fearing additional consequences.
Healthcare professionals are told they may voluntarily surrender their DEA registration in lieu of any additional action being taken. They may do exactly that, thereby signing away their entire career.
Voluntarily surrender of DEA registration has negatively impacted too many practitioners, but it doesn’t have to. The healthcare attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group can help. With more than a decade representing healthcare professionals, we’re experienced with all DEA matters, including voluntarily DEA registration surrenders.
Detriments to Voluntarily Surrendering DEA Registration
Our attorneys believe that voluntarily surrendering DEA registration is one of the most detrimental things a practitioner can do. Even if the short-term lack of additional consequences may seem beneficial, long-term consequences can be heavy. Reasons not to surrender your DEA registration include:
- Triggering administrative action against state, medical and other professional licenses
- Likelihood of not being able to reapply for DEA registration in the future
- The DEA adjudication process often moves slowly, and you may be permitted to practice while you’re awaiting a resolution of the DEA registration matter
When DEA Registration Can be Suspended or Revoked
Suspension or revocation of DEA registration can occur when the attorney general proves one of the following:
- Falsified material on your registration application
- Felony conviction related to a controlled substance
- Suspension, revocation or denial by a state license or registration
- Commission of acts inconsistent with the public interest with regards to health and safety
Delays in DEA Adjudication Process
Before DEA registration can be revoked, the registrant must be given a show cause order. This order gives the registrant an opportunity to explain why registration should not be suspended, revoked or denied. In emergency situations where public health or safety is at risk, a show cause order may be issued at the same time as the revocation, suspension or denial.
Otherwise, the registrant has 30 days to respond to the show cause order and is granted a hearing. Voluntarily surrendering DEA registration waives all rights to a hearing, and it also requires healthcare practitioners reapply for DEA registration once all proceedings are complete. This process may take years.
In fact, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found adjudication often took more than one year between notification of a hearing and DEA action. This “very lengthy” amount of time can work in a registrant’s benefit, who can continue to practice while the matter is dragging on. If you surrender your DEA registration, the extensive timeframe can instead work against you, leaving you unable to practice until matters are resolved.
When faced with the decision to voluntarily surrender registration without a hearing or face immediate suspension, requesting a hearing is almost always the wiser choice. Not only does the practitioner have some likelihood of a favorable outcome at the administrative hearing, but there is always a chance the DEA will end up not filing an immediate suspension order.
It’s also important to remember that voluntarily surrendering DEA registration means you will need to seek registration reinstatement before resuming your practice. Delays in the adjudication process will impact the amount of time it takes to return to practice after completion of your pending civil, criminal or administrative matter.
Administrative Actions Triggered by Surrender
Every state has its own set of laws governing prescriptions of controlled substances, but most states require a license to prescribe controlled substances in the Schedule II, Schedule III and Schedule IV categories. When healthcare professionals voluntarily surrender their DEA registration, the state may also take action to limit, suspend or revoke the state license as well.
Voluntarily surrendering DEA registration can result in a domino effect, which results in additional administrative actions, state sanctions and significant legal expenses. The credentialing bodies of most insurers and hospitals also require a DEA license as a condition of participation or employment. Voluntarily surrender can trigger a mandatory reporting requirement to the credentialing bodies and insurers, which often results in harsh credentialing action and loss of privileges.
Refusing to voluntarily surrender DEA registration delays this domino effect, and may prevent it altogether. The key is to have an experienced healthcare lawyer that can successful resolve pending administrative, civil or criminal action against you. The attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group are at your service.
Our healthcare attorneys are experienced in DEA matters, and we’ve represented licensed and registered professionals during investigations, hearings and administrative, civil and criminal proceedings. Voluntarily surrender of DEA registration rarely benefits the practitioner, but obtaining skilled legal counsel can. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.