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Do You Have to Report Another Health Care Provider to DOH if You Know of an Alleged Violation of the Law?

March 16, 2013
Est read time: 2 minutes

This questions gets asked of me from time to time and the answer depends on what the facts are.  Florida law states that practitioners can be disciplined under Section 456.072 (1), Florida Statutes, for failing to report certain events including:

“…failing to report to the Department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this chapter, the chapter regulating the alleged violation, or the rules of the Department or the Board.”

[I put the word "knows" in bold because I wanted to emphasize the point that the statute requires knowing or knowledge.]

The above-referenced law basically requires a licensed health care professional (i.e., doctor, nurse, dentist, therapist, etc) to report a violation if he or she knows that another licensee is: (1) violating Chapter 456, Florida Statutes (the general laws regulating health care professionals); (2) violating the individual’s practice act; and/or (3) administrative rules of the Department of Health or their professional Board.

This law places a difficult challenge to the licensed health care provider:  “Do I turn in another licensed health care worker if I know they are violating the law?”  Section 456.072 (1), Florida Statutes, does appear to establish a duty to report known violations, but I would emphasize that “knows” means “knowledge of” which in legal terms denotes that you would have to have real actual knowledge not just of the actions of another but of the law and thus conclude that a fellow worker has violated it.  This can get complicated.  Some violations of the practice act, for example, are obvious, while others are not.

My thought is tread carefully.  A known violation is reportable.

If you have encountered a problem with your license it is important to seek experienced legal advice before moving forward.  I represent licensed health care professionals and providers throughout Florida.  More information can be found at www.floridahealthcareattorney.com or contact me directly at 850-877-7776.  The initial consultation is free and there is no obligation.

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