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Think Before You Ink: Signing a Voluntary Relinquishment Not Always Advantageous

February 3, 2022
Est read time: 3 minutes

The consequences of a voluntary relinquishment are worth understanding before you sign one. Voluntary relinquishment has long-term effects on your license and career. Before we dive into the repercussions, let's first explain the types of license relinquishments.

Understanding Voluntary Relinquishment & Types of License Relinquishments

There are two types of license relinquishments, administrative and disciplinary.

Administrative License Relinquishment

A licensee may administratively relinquish a license at any time if:

  1. There aren’t any already initiated instigations against the licensee;
  2. There are no anticipated investigations against the license;
  3. There is no disciplinary action against the license pending;
  4. Nor are there aren’t any current restrictions against the license by a Florida Board or any other jurisdiction.

Disciplinary License Relinquishment

If the license is under any disciplinary action as stated above, the licensee may only relinquish the license with the approval of the issuing board. If the voluntary relinquishment is accepted, then the relinquishment will be considered disciplinary action against the license. The licensee will be required to cease practice immediately upon signing the voluntary relinquishment and agrees to never reapply for licensure in Florida again.

Under DOH Investigation? Sign Voluntary Relinquishment as Your Last Option

Saving your license can be as simple as timely responding to letters of investigation, and Administrative Complaints. Generally, board action begins with one of the mentioned documents (administrative or disciplinary).

Letters of investigation require recipients to respond within 21 or 45 days. While a complaint generally gives the recipient 21 days to respond, if a recipient does not timely respond the DOH will default the case. To avoid a default, you need to have a timely response!

For more information on how to handle receiving an Administrative Complaint please see How to Survive After Receiving a Department of Health Complaint or Denial or contact our offices for assistance on how to respond to a complaint.

Voluntarily Relinquishment | The Long-term Effects on Your Career

Voluntarily relinquishing your license may seem like a quick fix to resolve a current issue, however, you run the risk of never being able to hold, much less apply for a license in Florida again. When a relinquishment is administrative, medical boards have discretion in granting and denying medical licenses. However, when a relinquishment is disciplinary, as a condition of the voluntary relinquishment, you agree to never reapply for licensure in Florida again. Even if years later you fix the initial issue that triggered the relinquishment, or if your life circumstances change, you will be barred from reentering the medical field as a licensed professional. Voluntary relinquishments can also affect your ability to apply for other professional fields that require licensure.

Voluntary Relinquishment Doesn't Go Away

Your record of a voluntary relinquishment hangs around and that's a problem. Here's why...

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a repository that maintains information relating to medical practitioners’ malpractice and adverse actions taken against their licenses. NPDB is available for boards from all 50 states to review. A search for an individual with action taken against his or her license will show up in the NPDB and likely hinder the applicant in any state.

  • Triggering Additional Investigations. Worth noting is that if a practitioner is already licensed in another state, a search may trigger that state to open an investigation against that licensee, which may result in losing licenses in that other state.
  • Denial of Application for Employment. Even if you decide to change professions, a hiring department will use the NPDB to inquire about your employment history or search history of actions against your license and may deny an application for employment.
  • Denial of Licensing Applications. It's also likely a licensing agency using that same database would deny you licensure for that profession.  

Before you sign a voluntary relinquishment, let our experienced attorneys at Howell, Buchan & Strong help you explore options that may save your license and your livelihood.

Have Questions? Let's Talk

Have questions about your health care license or received a voluntary relinquishment letter? 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

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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