Investigation Letter: When the letter of investigation is sent the clock starts ticking. The letter states that you have 20 days to respond; however, priority 1 and 2 cases are submitted to an attorney in the Department’s Emergency Action Unit (EAU) to review for potential emergency restriction or suspension of your license within 7 to 10 days. The letter does not identify which priority level: 1, 2, 3, or 4, that your case is assigned. If an Investigator with the Department hand delivered the letter this is a very good indicator that your case is priority level 1.
All priority level cases are submitted to the Department for review by a Prosecuting Attorney. The Department has attorneys prosecuting your case and it is vital that you retain an attorney to protect your license.
Underestimating the Seriousness of the Accusation: Over the years many nurses have contacted me after an Administrative Complaint is filed against their license because they mistakenly thought they could just tell their side of the story and that the prosecutor would understand and close the case. I work hard to advocate for closure of my client’s case with either a “No Violation” or “Letter of Guidance” (where appropriate), keeping the entire investigation confidential. This saves our clients from: 1) a public Administrative Complaint; 2) Disciplinary Proceedings; and 3) Paying the costs of the Department’s investigation and prosecution (see more below under affording an attorney). Once an Administrative Complaint is filed it becomes extremely difficult to “unring the bell” and seek reconsideration and closure of the case. Your case is reviewed by the prosecutor who makes a recommendation to the Probable Cause Panel members who meet at a confidential meeting to decide whether to closure your case or file a complaint. I request a copy of the file and timely submit a detailed response with supporting documents seeking the best possible outcome.
I cannot afford an Attorney: The Board orders the Licensee to pay the costs of the investigation and prosecution as part of the final order for discipline. When our clients’ cases are closed at Probable Cause, our client does not pay for the costs incurred by the Department in the investigation and review. This can save our clients thousands of dollars per case. Payment plans are offered. Voluntary Relinquishment: This may seem like a quick an easy way to resolve the pending case; especially if you plan to move onto a different career. STOP. DO NOT relinquish your license. Relinquishment of your license when there is a pending investigation is equivalent to the Board revoking your license. This type of relinquishment has long last impact for approval to work in any capacity in a facility that accepts Medicaid or Medicare and requires disclosure on future potential professional licenses including becoming a realtor, etc.
This is a critical stage to hire an attorney with training, knowledge and experience with the Department of Health’s procedures. Once retained, I will immediately file a letter of representation and demand a copy of the confidential investigative file before filing a response on your behalf. The Department has attorneys working to prosecute your case and you need an experienced attorney working hard on your side to defend the license you worked so hard to obtain.
Call today for a free telephone consultation. Representing nurses throughout Florida and throughout the U.S. for their Florida nursing license. Call (850) 529-1275 or toll free 1-800-659-7574.
Megan is a former prosecutor in the Nursing Section of the Florida Department of Health.
Megan represents nursing throughout Florida and offers a free telephone consultation. Call (850) 529-1275 or toll free 1-800-659-7574.