August 23, 2022
What Happens During a Licensing Board Hearing?
As a health care professional, you may need a professional license to perform your job. Professional licenses affirm that a person has the necessary education and skills to perform their job safely and effectively when working with patients, and the licenses must be kept up to date. For some professions, these licenses can be obtained right after candidates finish school; for other professions, the licenses can be acquired after candidates enter their professional career.
One issue that can put the professional license of a health care worker in jeopardy is to be accused of professional misconduct and to face disciplinary action as a result. If this were to happen to you, you would appear before your licensing board for an administrative hearing to determine whether you’re allowed to keep practicing in your field.
What happens before a hearing?
Before a hearing takes place, the initial complaint is reviewed to determine if the licensing board has jurisdiction or authority to enforce laws or pronounce legal judgements. Boards can sometimes have limited resources, so they focus more on complaints that arise due to the significant harms the license holder has caused to a patient(s) like severe pain, medical errors, criminal conduct or being under the influence of illegal drugs while providing care.
Investigations can take months or longer because investigators often carry many cases at the same time. Additionally, hospitals may fight subpoenas for records, thousands of pages of patients’ records may have to be sorted and evaluations may take months to schedule.
What happens during a hearing?
Now that both parties — the licensee and the state — have their evidence compiled, a hearing will take place. The licensee will appear before either members of a professional licensing board or an administrative law judge (ALJ). In some cases, state law encourages the board to offer an informal settlement; if this is not accepted or offered, then the case proceeds to a hearing. This operates like a typical court case with both parties providing facts, evidence and arguments for their respective cases. After the panel or ALJ hears both sides, they will make a determination that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the basis of suspending or upholding a license.
What happens after a hearing?
The licensing board or the ALJ will announce a verdict that will be delivered to all parties. If the licensee disagrees with the ruling, the written decision should include information on how to file an appeal. When the full board accepts or amends a decision after an appeal is issued or the appeal period is over, usually 30 days, the decision is final. The decision becomes an official legal act of the board and is open to the public.
How you can protect yourself.
Proliability offers affordable professional liability insurance to help ensure you’re covered should a board complaint be made against you. Our insurance helps protect licensed health care workers that are associated with wrongful practices resulting in bodily injury, medical expenses and property damage, as well as the cost of defending the lawsuits.Back to Main page
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