If you received an administrative complaint or an investigative letter from the Florida Department of Health for failing to meet minimum standards of performance, there are serious charges that can negatively impact your Florida psychology license.
Please Note: Upon receipt of an administrative complaint or investigative letter, it is important you take action and contact an experienced professional licensing attorney immediately.
Understanding the Law
Florida law states that licensed psychologists must meet a minimum standard of performance, or face discipline against their license. Florida Statute 490.009(1)(r) states:
(1) The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):
(r) Failing to meet the minimum standards of performance in professional activities when measured against generally prevailing peer performance, including the undertaking of activities for which the licensee is not qualified by training or experience.
Note that the “minimum standards of performance” are measured against generally prevailing peer performance. In other words, what would a reasonable, similarly experienced psychologist do in the same situation?
The Board of Psychology uses disciplinary guidelines to help determine what actions should be taken in a particular case. These can be found in Florida Administrative Code 64B19-17.002. The discipline will vary depending on whether it’s the psychologist’s first offense or if he or she has violated before. For a failure to meet minimum standards of performance, the disciplinary guidelines are:
FIRST OFFENSE: Reprimand OR suspension PLUS $1,000 to $5,000 fine.
SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE: Revocation AND $5,000 to $10,000 fine.
Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstance
The disciplinary guidelines are not absolute. The Board considers various factors to determine what discipline you will receive, called aggravating and mitigating circumstances. These factors can also be found in Florida Administrative Code 64B19-17.002, and they include:
- The danger posed to the public.
- The length of time since the date of violation.
- The number of complaints filed against the psychologist.
- The length of time the psychologist has practiced without complaint or violations.
- The actual damage, physical or otherwise, to the patient(s), if applicable.
- The deterrent effect of the penalty imposed.
- The effect of the penalty upon the psychologist’s livelihood.
- Any efforts the psychologist has made toward rehabilitation.
- The actual knowledge of the psychologist had regarding the violation.
- Attempts by the psychologist to correct or stop violations.
- Any refusals by the psychologist to correct or stop violations.
- Related violations found against the psychologist in another state.
- Any other aggravating and/or mitigating circumstances that the Board wants to consider.
Aggravating factors can hurt your case and increase the penalties you receive. Mitigating factors can be used to argue that you should face lesser penalties. It is important to review all aggravating and mitigating factors with your attorney.
If you’re a licensed psychologist who has received an administrative complaint, you are probably concerned about how this may affect your license. We can help.
To set up a FREE no-obligation consultation, contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776. Our firm represents physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other licensed professionals statewide. Our goal is to successfully defend you so that you can keep your professional license.
Contact the law offices of Howell, Buchan & Strong; Attorneys at Law for your free consultation at any one of our locations:
Orlando (407) 717-1773 |Tallahassee (850) 877-7776 | Tampa (813) 833-6726 | Sarasota (941) 779-4348