DOH and LARA Investigations
Licensed healthcare professionals worked hard to obtain their license, which is why the attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group work hard to help you maintain it. Your healthcare license may be at risk if you’re facing investigations from the Department of Health (DOH) or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
Both agencies handle complaints against healthcare practitioners, with the selected agency based on where you practice. Every state has a designated agency where administrative complaints are filed. For instance, DOH handles administrative complaints in Florida, while LARA is the agency that fields complaints in Michigan.
Regardless of where the complaints are filed, healthcare professionals tend to have a higher rate of success defending their licenses with a qualified healthcare attorney at their side. With more than 10 years’ experience in the legal healthcare field, the lawyers at Norman Spencer Law Group have represented healthcare practitioners during administrative complaints, investigations, license suspensions, revocations and other disciplinary actions.
Our legal team regularly works with state investigators on behalf of our clients, often resolving investigations before a formal administrative complaint is filed against the professional. The best practice is to contact one of our attorneys as soon as you become aware of an investigation. This gives our lawyers sufficient time to gather information regarding the incident or conduct in question. The more information we can collect before the meeting with the investigator, the more likely a favorable outcome will be.
The Administrative Complaint Process
The administrative complaint process begins when a complaint is filed with the proper state licensing agency. Complaints against licensed healthcare professionals may be filed by anyone, and they are most commonly lodged by employers, former patients or colleagues. The agency assigns an investigator to look into the complaint, and the investigator often has no information beyond the actual complaint filed.
It’s the investigator’s duty is to find evidence to back up the allegations in the complaint, and this process includes setting up a meeting with the healthcare professional against which the complaint is filed. Meeting with an investigator without first consulting with a professional licensing attorney can be dangerous. Contacting one of our professional licensing attorneys for a consultation can be very helpful, especially if you contact us the moment you learn of a complaint against you.
Time is of the essence. There is typically only a very short time frame before the case moves forward to a formal complaint or administrative hearing. Obtaining legal counsel as rapidly as possible is the wisest move to ensure your lawyer has enough time to evaluate the issues and meet with the investigator before it proceeds to the next stage.
Proceed Carefully with Administrative Complaints
Some licensed healthcare professionals try to resolve complaints, investigations, licensing issues and disciplinary actions on their own. Their attempts to resolve matters on their own often make the situation even worse. Even if they feel they have nothing to hide, healthcare practitioners can end up divulging information that can later be used against them in a formal administrative complaint.
It’s not uncommon for healthcare professionals to mistake an investigator’s friendly demeanor as an opportunity to cooperate and remove any suspicion of wrongdoing. It’s important to remember the investigator’s job is to gather information so a formal complaint can be filed. Regardless of how friendly an investigator may come across, you must remember they are not your friend. They are out to gather evidence against you, not help you clear up allegations.
Retaining an attorney before scheduling a meeting with an investigator is crucial, as is having your attorney attend the meeting. A qualified healthcare law attorney can present your information to the investigator in the most favorable light. Your lawyer can also protect information that may be damaging or used against you if a formal complaint is filed.
Our attorneys can also spot and point out weaknesses in the investigator’s case. Once investigators are made aware of the case’s weaknesses, they may be persuaded to dismiss the investigation altogether.
Importance of a Professional Licensing Attorney
Complaints are filed constantly, and some may have no validity. Yet they can still pose a risk against your license if the investigation is not handled properly from the beginning. The risk of potential sanctions against your healthcare license far outweighs the cost of hiring an attorney. Healthcare professionals who obtain legal representation are not only more strongly represented and defended throughout the case, but they also enjoy peace of mind that an experienced lawyer is on their side.
Over the years, the attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group have helped many clients achieve a dismissal or a significant reduction in sanctions. There is no reason licensed healthcare professionals need to navigate the complex and risky administrative complaint process on their own. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.