Florida Health Care License

Nurse DOH Complaint

How to Survive After Receiving a Department of Health Complaint or Denial

When the Department of Health (DOH) issues an administrative complaint or denial of your health care renewal license, you need to know how to keep working. The DOH will issue an administrative complaint (A.C.) seeking revocation or suspension of your license or a denial of your renewal license. There are statutory provisions that help you keep working and not get shut down when litigating with the DOH and the case is sent to the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH).  We call this a Stay Process and in this blog, we'll illustrate the steps you can take to protect your livelihood.

The Stay Process | Step 01 

After receiving the complaint or denial, it is crucial that you file your election of rights (EOR) form or contact an attorney to prepare a request for a hearing.

Time is of the essence! You only have 21 days after receiving any of these notices to file the EOR. If not timely filed, the Department will default your case.  If you do not complete the EOR form correctly, the DOH will give you one chance to correct it. If it is not corrected to pass review, the DOH will proceed to default your case. 

When completing the EOR form, you also need to choose between an informal hearing and a formal hearing. It is helpful to have an attorney skilled in administrative law to assist in this making this choice. Upon filing your EOR or request for a hearing, there are a few statutes that apply to help you keep working.

Note: Licensees should be reminded that if they continue to operate while the complaint or denial is pending, they must continue to comply with all applicable statutes, including filing renewal applications. 

The Stay Process | Step 02

Equally important is that you can seek a stay after the Department enters a Final Order on a complaint seeking revocation or suspension or denial of your renewal license. This is step two of the stay process when you need to seek a court’s assistance to stay in business.

At this point, you need to appeal the final order and seek assistance from an appellate court. It is crucial to take an appeal within thirty (30) days of the “rendition of the final order” by the DOH. If an appeal is not taken, this right vanishes. After the appeal is filed, the licensee must seek a request for a stay or halting of enforcement of the final order issued by the DOH. 

A stay must be granted by an appellate court so that you are not required to cease practicing your profession. There are five appellate courts in Florida. A licensee can seek help from either the district court of appeal (DCA) for their home county or the DCA where the agency is located in Tallahassee. An administrative law attorney with appellate experience can assist in seeking the stay before a specific District Court of Appeal.

Contact Howell, Buchan & Strong if you need assistance for:

  • Review of the Department’s Administrative Complaint or denial of your renewal license;
  • Advice and counsel on options to save your license and keep practicing;
  • Discussing ways to stay (or "freeze") the DOH's attempt to suspend or revoke your license.
  • Representing you against the Department in legal proceedings.

Have Questions? Let's Talk

Have questions about your health care license? 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. 

Orlando (407) 717-1773 | Tallahassee (850) 877-7776 | Tampa (813) 833-6726 | Sarasota (941) 779-4348

Florida Health Care License Attorneys
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