PROFESSIONAL LICENSE HEARINGS
You get a license from the State of Missouri. The State Board allows you to work in your field. A client files complaint against you, now what happens? The complaint threatens your livelihood.
What is a Professional License?
The State of Missouri has 39 licensing boards and commissions which issue licenses and regulate activities. I have defended complaints against many professionals, including:
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers,
- Certified Public Accountants,
- Attorneys at Law and others.
The Procedure from complaint to resolution is complex.
For example, say a co-worker complaints against a nurse for substance abuse. The Board of Nursing may require the nurse to undergo drug treatment, but has not filed a formal complaint. The nurse should hire an attorney immediately. I will resolve this before a formal complaint is filed, if possible. Yet, the nurse denies substance abuse, so the Board files a formal complaint with the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). The AHC is located in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Informal and Local Hearings: The Nurse works at a facility in St. Louis. Although the complaint is filed in Jefferson City, the initial proceedings may take place in St. Louis. This local hearing may be informal. That is, without an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) conducting the hearing, or a court reporter taking testimony under oath. I will resolve the complaint at this level if possible.
Formal in Jefferson City: However, if it is not possible to resolve the complaint informally, there will be a formal hearing in Jefferson City. There, the Administrative Hearing Commission will issue subpoenas, hear from witnesses and determine whether the Nursing Board has reason to punish the nurse’s license.
What forms of punishment are available?
The Nursing Board imposes punishment after the AHC confirms the complaint. Here are the options:
- CENSURE: The nurse may work as before, and without restriction. However, this is a public reprimand, and is permanently kept in the nurse’s file.
- PROBATION: The nurse may continue to work, but must comply with extra conditions throughout the probationary period. Probation may be up to 5 years.
- SUSPENSION: Suspension requires that the nurse stop practicing nursing. This may be as long as 3 years.
- REVOCATION: The nursing license is terminated indefinitely.
If you are facing the threat of a complaint, you need to call me now, before responding to the investigator if possible. Just remember, whatever stage your complaint is in, it is not too late for me to help.