Professional Licensure Defense

Donna J. Craig, RN, JD

Donna J. Craig, RN, JD, as a nurse attorney, is particularly qualified to advise clients in the defense of health care providers facing professional license issues because she has extensive experience in representing health care providers facing professional licensure actions and knows the impact the defense of professional licensure actions and potential sanctions may have on the health care provider’s ability to provide future clinical services. A healthcare provider has a right to be represented by an attorney when being interviewed by a LARA investigator.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA�?), Health Professions Division and the various professional boards of licensing are responsible for overseeing the professional practices of a variety of healthcare providers, and are required to safeguard the health and welfare of the public. Based on those responsibilities when a professional licensing board (board of medicine, board of nursing, board of counseling, etc.) or LARA receives a notice or a complaint concerning the quality of care rendered by a licensed healthcare provider, a professional licensure investigation is initiated.

LARA, the Health Professions Division starts its investigation by meeting with the person or facility representative(s) that filed the notice or complaint against the health care provider. Other people may be interviewed by the investigator as well. The LARA investigator will complete the investigation stage by contacting the healthcare provider who is the subject of the notice or complaint. This contact by the LARA investigation may come in the form of a letter or a phone call, and the investigator by requesting a meeting with the health care provider. This will be the first time the healthcare provider will have an opportunity to tell his/her side of the story. Because this interview by the LARA investigator is an important step, and can impact what happens thereafter, it is important that you consult with a health care attorney who specializes in professional license defense matters before attending an interview with the LARA investigator.

Once LARA has completed its licensure investigation, the file is reviewed and a determination is made as to whether the Michigan public health code has been violated by the health care provider. If the determination is that the public health code has been violated, LARA will file an administrative complaint against the health care provider’s professional license. Should this happen, the health care provider must respond to the administrative complaint within 30 days of receipt of the administrative complaint. At this stage it is important to have the advice of a health care attorney who specializes in professional license defense matters as to the next steps to be taken. Answering the administrative complaint becomes a permanent record with LARA, and much thought should be taken before responding to an administrative complaint. As a nurse attorney, Donna J. Craig, RN, JD has had years of experience in representing health care providers facing professional licensure issues and throughly discusses with her clients all aspects of the proposed professional license defense approach.

Once the administrative complaint is responded to, the health care provider will have the opportunity to meet with a LARA analyst to demonstrate that the public health code was not violated, or use the time as an opportunity to discuss resolution of the matter. The health care provider will be allowed to be represented by defense counsel at this stage. If a satisfactory outcome cannot be agreed upon, the health care provider always has the opportunity to go before an administrative administrative law judge (“ALJ�?) in an administrative hearing. At the hearing LARA and the health care provider are able to call witnesses, cross examine witnesses and present evidence to support their respective positions. The client is actively involved in discussions regarding the defense of his/her professional license. The ALJ then issues his/her findings, which is submitted to the respective professional licensure board.

If you are in need of a defense attorney who specializes in professional licensure actions, please contact The Health Law Center, PLC at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *