Professional Licensing Charges
From accountants to social workers, a wide variety of Pennsylvania professionals are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of State, through its Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. These include, among many others, doctors, nurses, car sales persons, real estate agents, and physical therapists. The Bureau is charged with investigating and prosecuting violations of the various professional licensing laws. The professional licensing boards are empowered to punish violations by suspending or revoking licenses, assessing fines, or refusing to grant licenses in the first place. The boards will also recognize discipline from other states and impose discipline in Pennsylvania based on the actions of out-of-state disciplinary bodies.
The boards may also require certain professionals, particularly in the health care field, to undergo substance abuse treatment and drug testing.
An investigation will generally start with an investigator’s contacting a licensee about a complaint by a patient, client, or customer. Often the investigator will ask a licensee to submit to an interview. This is a crucial time in the process. A licensee can make statements that could be construed as admissions of wrongdoing, which can later be used against him or her. At this point it is important to contact an attorney promptly. The interposition of an attorney in the process can prevent against careless statements and admissions, and protect the licensee from being taken advantage of.
If the Bureau decides to charge a licensee, it will serve the licensee with an Order to Show Cause why discipline should not be imposed. Eventually, a hearing will be scheduled before the appropriate regulatory board. However, professional licensing complaints can often be settled or compromised so that the sanction can be reduced, even so as to allow the licensing to continue practicing.
If you find yourself facing investigation or charges from the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, call our office for a free initial consultation.