Have you received an administrative complaint against your dentist license for practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting responsibilities you know you are not competent to handle? 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 dentist in Florida.
The law states that disciplinary action can be taken against your license if you practice or offer to practice beyond the scope permitted by statute. Disciplinary action can also be taken against you for accepting or performing a responsibility you know you are not competent to handle. Florida law on point here is Florida Statute 466.028(1)(y). That 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):
(y) Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that she or he is not competent to perform.
Important to note here is that if you have reason to know that you are not competent to perform a professional responsibility that you accept or perform, that is grounds for discipline. It does not matter just if you knew you weren’t competent. The mere offer to practice beyond the scope permitted by law is grounds for discipline, not just actually practicing, though that is a violation is well. 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 Dentistry decide to take disciplinary action against you. The penalties you could face are found in the Disciplinary Guidelines for the Board of Dentistry, particularly in Rule 64B5-13.005 in the Florida Administrative Code. The rule states the following for disciplinary guidelines for violation of the statute:
|FIRST OFFENSE:||$500 fine||Probation with conditions and a $10,000 fine|
|SECOND OFFENSE:||Probation with conditions and $1,000 fine||Suspension and $10,000 fine|
|THIRD OFFENSE:||$2,500 fine||Revocation and $10,000 fine|
For a first offense, you could face a minimum penalty of a $500 fine. At a maximum, you could face probation with conditions on your license and a fine of $10,000. The penalties become more severe with each offense. For a second offense, you could face a minimum penalty of probation with conditions and a fine of $1,000. At a maximum, your license could be suspended and you could receive a fine of $10,000. For a third offense, you could face a minimum of a $2,500 fine. At a maximum, your license could be revoked and could receive a fine of $10,000. 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 64B5-13.005 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) Based upon consideration of aggravating or mitigating factors, present in an individual case, except for explicit statutory maximum and minimum penalty requirements, the Board may deviate from the penalties recommended in subsections (1) above and (3) below. The Board shall consider as aggravating or mitigating factors the following:
(a) The danger to the public;
(b) The number of specific offenses, other than the offense for which the licensee is being punished.;
(c) Prior discipline that has been imposed on the licensee;
(d) The length of time the licensee has practiced;
(e) The actual damage, physical or otherwise, caused by the violation and the reversibility of the damage;
(f) The deterrent effect of the penalty imposed;
(g) The effect of the penalty upon the licensee;
(h) Efforts by the licensee towards rehabilitation;
(i) The actual knowledge of the licensee pertaining to the violation;
(j) Attempts by the licensee to correct or stop the violation or refusal by the licensee to correct or stop the violation; and
(k) Any other relevant mitigating or aggravating factor under the 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.
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 or Rickey Strong, contact the law firm of Phipps & Howell at 850-222-7000. We represent licensed health care professionals and facilities statewide, including out of state clients who are concerned about the status of their Florida license