Are you being investigated as a doctor for failing to report disciplinary action within 30 days?
Have you received an administrative complaint against your physician’s license for failure to report to the Board of Medicine of action taken against your license in another state, territory, or country within 30 days? If you have, it is very important that you contact an experienced health care attorney to go over the charges. These charges are serious and can have a negative impact on your license and your ability to practice as a doctor in Florida.
The law states that it is a violation of the law to not report that action has been taken against your license to the appropriate board within 30 days of that action being taken. Florida law on point here is Florida Statute 458.331(1)(kk). The statute says the following in particular:
(1) The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):
(kk) Failing to report to the board, in writing, within 30 days if action as defined in paragraph (b) has been taken against one’s license to practice medicine in another state, territory, or country.
The important point here is that you have 30 days to report to the Board of Medicine that action has been taken against your license to practice medicine in another state, territory, or country. You should also note that you must report to the board in writing, within those 30 days. Paragraph (b) that the statute talks about is the statute that says disciplinary action can be taken against your license if your license has had disciplinary action taken against it in another jurisdiction. Any action will suffice. For more information on the disciplinary guidelines and factors related to administrative charges against your license for a violation of paragraph (b), please visit the blog on this website pertaining to that issue. If you have had complaints made against your license for violation of this statute, you should contact an experienced health care attorney immediately to go over your options. There can be severe repercussions for you if you wait.
There are a range of actions that can be taken against you should the Board of Medicine decide to take disciplinary action against you. The penalties you could face are found in the Disciplinary Guidelines for the Board of Medicine, particularly in Rule 64B8-8.001 in the Florida Administrative Code. The rule states the following for disciplinary guidelines for violation of the statute:
|FIRST OFFENSE:||An administrative fine of $2,000.00 to a fine of $5,000.00 and a reprimand|
|denial or revocation of license and administrative fine of $5,000.00.|
|SECOND OFFENSE:||Probation and an administrative fine from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00.||Suspension, to be followed by a period of probation, or denial, and an administrative fine from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00.|
The minimum penalty for a first offense under the disciplinary guidelines calls for an administrative fine from $2,000 to $5,000 and a reprimand against you. The penalties get stiffer as time goes on. It is possible that your license in Florida is denied or revoked on the first offense as a result of your violation of the statute. In addition, you would face a fine of $5,000. For a second offense, the fines get bigger, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. You could be placed on probation as well, if not suspended first. Your license could be denied after that suspension or probation on the second offense too. This is very serious. You should also be aware that these are guidelines that the board should follow in handing out discipline, but are not set in stone, and can be accompanied by other penalties or deviated from. These penalties can be found in Florida Statute 456.072(2), which you should review with your health care attorney.
The board hearing your case can take into account various factors that could affect the discipline you receive. These factors are called aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances are factors that can hurt your case. If aggravating circumstances are proven you could face harsher penalties. Mitigating circumstances are factors that can help your case. If mitigating circumstances are proven you could face lesser penalties. These factors can also be found in rule 64B8-8.001(3) in the Florida Administrative Code. If either side can prove with clear and convincing evidence the aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the discipline you face could be altered by the board. Here are the factors:
(a) Exposure of patient or public to injury or potential injury, physical or otherwise: none, slight, severe, or death;
(b) Legal status at the time of the offense: no restraints, or legal constraints;
(c) The number of counts or separate offenses established;
(d) The number of times the same offense or offenses have previously been committed by the licensee or applicant;
(e) The disciplinary history of the applicant or licensee in any jurisdiction and the length of practice;
(f) Pecuniary benefit or self-gain inuring to the applicant or licensee;
(g) The involvement in any violation of Section 458.331, F.S., of the provision of controlled substances for trade, barter or sale, by a licensee. In such cases, the Board will deviate from the penalties recommended above and impose suspension or revocation of licensure.
(h) Where a licensee has been charged with violating the standard of care pursuant to Section 458.331(1)(t), F.S., but the licensee, who is also the records owner pursuant to Section 456.057(1), F.S., fails to keep and/or produce the medical records.
(i) Any other relevant mitigating factors.
The board can take into account any of these factors, or other factors, in your hearing. The board can deviate from the standard disciplinary guidelines if they find that any of these aggravating or mitigating circumstances exist. These are very important factors that you should discuss with your health care attorney.
If you are a licensed health care professional in Florida and have received an administrative complaint for violation of the statutes, you are probably concerned about how this may affect your license. To set up a FREE no obligation consultation with Jeff Howell contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law at 850-877-7776. We represent licensed health care professionals and facilities statewide, including out of state clients who are concerned about the status of their Florida license.