By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
You are reading Part 2 of this blog series. To read Part 1, click here.
If you are notified that you are under investigation, DO NOT take the easy way out by immediately relinquishing your license. And DO NOT hide your head in the sand by thinking the case will just go away on its own. DO NOT think that you can just talk to the investigator, explain your side, and the case will go away. Also, DO NOT request an informal hearing or agree to a settlement agreement (consent order) in which you admit the facts alleged against you are all true. If you do this you are, in effect, “pleading guilty.” If you are innocent of the charges, request a formal hearing and contest the charges; defend yourself.
DO immediately seek the advice of an attorney who has experience in such professional licensing matters and administrative hearings. These attorneys are out there, but you may have to search for one. Do this before you talk to or make any statement (oral or written) to an investigator.
DO purchase professional liability insurance that includes legal defense coverage for any professional license investigation against you, whether it is related to a malpractice claim or not. This insurance is cheap and will provide you with needed legal assistance at the time when you may be out of a job and not have money to hire an attorney. However, beware of the insurance policy that only covers professional license defense related to a malpractice claim.
DO NOT count on your employer to provide this type of insurance for you. In fact, most of such complaints against your license may well be filed by your employer or ex-employer.
If you are a traveling nurse or other contract or temporary type of health professional, always purchase your own insurance.
Our Advice On Professional Liability Insurance.
We strongly encourage nurses, mental health counselors, and all licensed health professionals and facilities to purchase independent insurance coverage. Make sure it covers professional license complaint defense expenses under all circumstances.
Also, make sure you have enough coverage to actually get you through a hearing. For example, $25,000 coverage for just professional licensure defense is the absolute minimum you should purchase; $50,000 may be adequate, but $75,000 or $100,000 may be what you need in such a situation. You can usually buy the higher limits for a few dollars more (and I do mean only a few). If necessary, such insurance is usually cheap enough that you can actually purchase two or more different policies.
Also, I will repeat, make sure it covers your legal defense in an administrative disciplinary proceeding against your license, even if there is no malpractice claim filed against you or likely to be filed against you. We also recommend that you purchase coverage through an insurance company that allows you to select your own attorney and does not make you use one that the insurance company picks for you.
Companies we have dealt with in the past which provide an inexpensive quality insurance product for professional license defense costs include CPH & Associates Insurance, Nurses Service Organization (NSO) insurance, Healthcare Providers Organization (HPSO) Insurance, and Lloyd’s of London Insurance.
To learn more, visit our Video Q&A section on our website and watch our video titled, “Should I voluntarily relinquish my professional license because I am being investigated?” and visit our YouTube page.
Click here to read one of our prior blogs for even more information on how to fight back against adverse NPBD reports.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Healthcare Professionals.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to medical professionals in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, licensing matters and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers. To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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