The healthcare industry is highly regulated by state and federal laws intended to protect public health, safety, and welfare. This includes regulations on licensed and unlicensed professionals and the entities that employ them. Navigating these complex regulations is difficult and violations can have serious career or business destroying consequences.
Most licensing boards are required to investigate all complaints that they receive. Anyone, including your employees, your employer, a patient, a customer, or a colleague, may file a complaint. Complaints generally involve alleged practice errors (unprofessional or unethical conduct that violates a board statute or rule or falls below the standard of care) or conduct unrelated to one’s professional practice (conviction of felonies or misdemeanors such as a DUI). Licensing boards may also initiate complaints from inspections or audits, false statements in applications, or failure to complete continuing education, to name a few. If you have received notice of a complaint against you or your business, you will want to consult with attorneys who are experienced with handling licensing board matters.
At Boesen & Snow, LLC, we advocate for your rights to secure practical, efficient, and fair outcomes. Our team has more than 45 years of combined experience focused on navigating the complexities of healthcare law both as licensees and business owners and as attorneys defending others, making us incredibly qualified to understand and help defend your license. We understand how important your personal and professional reputation is and the impact public allegations against you will have in your community and with your patients and business associates.
The lawyers at Boesen & Snow understand the legal and practical impacts that board investigations have on professionals and business. They will defend you from the board so that you can focus on your patients and your business.
Board complaints typically begin with an investigator’s notice requesting records and a complete response, often within only a few days. In some instances, however, board staff will contact you by phone informally. In either case, what you say “can and will be used against you.” The attorneys at Boesen & Snow understand your rights and will fight to make sure you receive due process, including a fair opportunity to respond and defend yourself during the investigation and—if necessary—at an administrative hearing or subsequent appeals. If you have been contacted by the Board, you may politely request an opportunity to consult with legal counsel before responding and consult an attorney before responding.
Failing to protect your rights through experienced counsel can result in unintended admissions, waiving your right to a fair hearing, agreeing to outcomes that have unintended, permanent consequences, and often a more expensive and longer ordeal. Boesen & Snow’s attorneys will work with you to develop a defense strategy that incorporates your personal, professional, and financial circumstances. Strategic cooperation with board investigations through counsel may produce quick, acceptable results while preserving your ability to take your fight as far as needed to vindicate you or your business.
Whether it is a public or board-initiated complaint, the investigator may have conducted research and formed opinions before contacting you. If that is the case, your first notice may include a detailed description of alleged violations and a specific list of requested documents. In other cases, the investigator may simply be fishing for violations and include a vague, general allegation and no request for records, which requires you to speculate and likely say more than necessary. Boesen & Snow’s experienced attorneys understand these investigative tactics and how to ensure you have adequate notice of allegations against you to allow you to prepare a thorough response.
When you work with Boesen & Snow’s attorneys, you will submit thorough responses that address the board’s concerns and present relevant, compelling evidence to refute or mitigate the allegations. An experienced healthcare defense attorney will help you identify and gather evidence to build an effective defense, and then will advocate for you in formal and informal interviews and in board meetings and hearings.
If a board has voted to hold a formal interview to impose civil penalties, probation, or other discipline, or to send your matter to a hearing for suspension or revocation, an experienced Assistant Attorney General will prosecute the case against you. These trained attorneys will not have sympathy for you if you represent yourself and will in fact exploit that vulnerability. The record that you create in that proceeding will be your only tool to appeal an unfavorable decision. Experienced attorneys may be unable to successfully appeal an incorrect decision if you have not presented key information and arguments in the hearing, thereby waiving them.
In addition, in administrative law, even if your matter is heard by an independent Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the judge’s decision is typically only a recommendation to the agency. The agency can disregard your victory in a hearing and replace the judge’s decision with an unfavorable one. Understanding this process is critical to presenting a case that the agency will be reluctant to reverse.
If you have received an unfavorable decision, however, all is not lost. In most jurisdictions, final board decisions may be appealed through a request for rehearing to the board, an appeal to the superior or district court including an opportunity for a fresh trial, and even to high courts of appeal. Boesen & Snow’s team of experienced healthcare attorneys has extensive appellate experience and can work with you to fight bad decisions.
Many regulatory complaints against medical professionals involve common themes and outcomes, depending on the agency. Common regulatory complaints that medical professionals face include the following:
An experienced healthcare attorney can ensure that you receive a fair opportunity to defend your license or permit, can present a compelling defense through effective advocacy, and can litigate with the government on your behalf to contest civil penalties, suspension, or revocation. Even unproven allegations can have a significant impact on your reputation, career, and business. An experienced healthcare attorney may help you mitigate these risks, develop the full story (not only one side), and present your side of the story to the board, employers, business associates, and the public. Working with an attorney from the beginning will help to steer your case down the correct path and may prevent one-sided, unflattering narratives from damaging you before you receive your day in court.
At Boesen & Snow, we believe that healthcare professionals deserve the support of an experienced attorney. The complex intersections of healthcare and law are overwhelming and full of risk, but your attorney can walk you through every step. Schedule a consultation at our Scottsdale office by calling (602) 900-8562 or by filling out this online contact form.
Fields marked with an * are required