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Are you being investigated as a respiratory therapist for performing professional services which have not been duly ordered by a licensed physician and not in accordance with protocols?

August 2, 2016
Est read time: 4 minutes

Have you received an administrative complaint against your respiratory therapist license for performing professional services which have not been duly ordered by a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 and which are not in accordance with protocols? 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 physical therapist in Florida.

The Law

The law states that disciplinary action can be taken against your license for performing professional services which have not been duly ordered by a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 and which are not in accordance with protocols. Florida law on point here is Florida Statute 468.365(1)(v). 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):

 

(v) Performing professional services which have not been duly ordered by a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 and which are not in accordance with protocols established by the hospital, other health care provider, or the board, except as provided in ss. 743.064, 766.103, and 768.13.

 

This statute applies to those who perform professional services which have not been ordered by licensed physicians. The services undertaken cannot be in accordance with protocols that have been established by that hospital, the health care provider, or the board. However, there do seem to be some exceptions provided in different statutes that are mentioned in the law. This statute is meant to discipline anyone who doesn't follow protocol. 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.

Penalties

There are a range of actions that can be taken against you should the Board of Respiratory Care decide to take disciplinary action against you. The penalties you could face are found in the Disciplinary Guidelines for the Board of Physical Therapy, particularly in Rule 64B32-5.001 in the Florida Administrative Code. The rule states the following for disciplinary guidelines for violation of the statute:

 
FIRST OFFENSE:
From a reprimand to one year suspension, followed by
a minimum of one year probation with conditions and an
administrative fine from $300 to $1,000.

 

SECOND OFFENSE:
From six months probation with conditions to revocation
and a fine from $1,000 to $10,000.

 

THIRD OFFENSE
From six months suspension followed by one year probation to revocation with no ability to reapply and a fine from $3,000 to $10,000.

 

For a first offfense, you could face as little as a reprimand. However, you could face up to a 1 year suspension of your license, followed by a minimum of 1 year probation with conditions, and a fine from $300 to $1,000. It is important to realize that your license can be suspended on a first offense. For a second offense, the minimum penalty is 6 months probation with conditions up to a maximum penalty of revocation and a fine from $1,000 to $10,000. Your license can be revoked for a second offense. This is serious. For a third offense, you could face a 6 month suspension of your license, followed by 1 year probation, all the way up to revocation of your license with no ability to reapply and a fine from $3,000 to $10,000. This is really important to remember. If this is your third offense, the board could revoke your license and prevent you from reapplying for a license. You could possibly never worked as a licensed respiratory therapist again. 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.

Aggravating/Mitigating Circumstances

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 64B32-5.001 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:

(2) The range of disciplinary penalties which the Board may impose includes any and all set forth in Section 456.072, F.S., unless the conduct to be disciplined falls within the purview of Section 456.0635, F.S., in which case the Board shall impose the penalty specified in Section 456.0635, F.S. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action to be imposed in each case, the Board shall take into consideration the following factors:
(a) The danger to the public;
(b) The length of time since the date of the violation;
(c) The number of previous disciplinary cases filed against the applicant or licensee;
(d) The length of time the applicant or licensee has practiced;
(e) The actual damage, physical or otherwise, to the patient;
(f) The deterrent effect of the penalty imposed;
(g) The effect of the penalty upon the applicant’s or licensee’s livelihood;
(h) Any efforts for rehabilitation;
(i) Any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

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.

Conclusion

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

Have Questions? Let's Talk

Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE no-obligation consultation. Our firm represents physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other licensed professionals statewide.
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