While many Missouri licensed professionals often become unnecessarily involved in scandals and controversies, there are others who actually do break the law and fail to comply with the basic standards outlined by their licensing authority. For example, teachers becoming sexually involved with their students, a surgeon performing surgery while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, a nurse neglecting a patient or being careless about the prescribed dosage, an accountant misreporting or conducting a fraudulent activity against their employer etc. All these are examples of gross misconduct and if found, these licensed professionals can lose their license forever. But if a complaint has been filed against you that has little or no merit, then it is time to reach out to a Kansas City professional license defense attorney so they can help you protect your reputation and your practice.
Kansas City Professional Licensing Boards
In Kansas City, many professions are licensed and regulated by different licensing boards. Some of these professions include:
- Doctors, physicians, surgeons, therapists, trainers, physician assistants and respiratory care therapists are licensed by the State Board of Registration of the Healing Arts.
- All nurses including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and advanced practice nurses are regulated by the Board of Nursing.
- Social workers are licensed by the Committee for Social Workers
- Psychologists are licensed by the Committee of Psychologists while counselors are licensed by the Committee for Professional Counselors.
- Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies are licensed by the Board of Pharmacy.
- Podiatrists are licensed by the Board of Podiatric Medicine.
- Architects, engineers, land surveyors and landscape architects are licensed by the Board of Architects, Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors, and Landscape Architects.
Disciplinary Actions for Professional License Complaints
Licensing and disciplinary review actions can be taken against you under the following circumstances:
- If a complaint is filed against you by a client, a patient or a customer.
- If a complaint is filed against you by a colleague, coworker, or someone who works in the same profession as you.
- If there is an issue that comes up when you submit an application for a license or for a license renewal.
- If there are any criminal charges against you.
Several types of complaints can be filed against a licensed professional. These include:
- Professional negligence
- Physical abuse
- False reporting
- License violation
- Alcohol or drug impaired
- Inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct
There are situations where everything is not black and white and where there may be some form of miscommunication or misunderstanding between the parties involved. In such cases, both the Board and the individual who is being investigated have the right to gather whatever evidence they can to establish whether the complaint has any merit or not. All professionals who make an effort to study and gain experience in their respective field know that as a licensed professional, they have to meet certain expectations. If they fail to do so, they must be disciplined. A doctor has the right to provide the best quality care to their patient and to be present on the job 100%. Similarly, a nurse takes an oath to take care of patients to the best of their ability.
Any demonstration of hostility, impatience or neglect is never taken lightly, as it can result in fatal consequences. Real estate agents, architects, engineers, therapists, accountants, teachers and other professionals all have to live up to certain expectations. This comes with the territory and if they have chosen a certain profession, they need to ensure they meet the standards that are enforced by the licensing board.
If a complaint is filed against you, the relevant licensing board will contact you and inform you that this has happened. You will then be asked to provide an explanation. At this point, it would be a good idea to hire the services of a professional license defense attorney in Kansas City, Missouri as these things can get complicated fairly quickly. For this reason, you will want the services of a skilled professional who knows the law and who knows how to defend any allegations that may be placed against you. Licensing boards are required to monitor any discrepancies and that is why they will investigate the complaint whether you believe it to be true or not. If the complaint is not valid, the Board will simply close the file and will inform the person who filed the complaint about the decision.
However, if there is some validity to the claim, the Board may try to resolve the case through a settlement agreement. If there is just cause, they may refer the complaint to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). In case the complaint is passed on to the AHC, there will be a hearing and the licensing board will have to prove that there is sufficient evidence against the professional and that disciplinary action may be required. In case the evidence is not convincing enough for the AHC, the case will be closed. If the AHC feels that there is enough material against the professional, a disciplinary hearing will be scheduled. Any action or decision taken by the licensing board with respect to the level of disciplinary action can be appealed by the licensed professional.
Impact of Professional License Complaints on Career and Reputation
Keep in mind that whenever a complaint is filed against you with a state licensing board, this complaint can have serious consequences on your career. Under no circumstances should you ignore such a complaint, even if you know for a fact that you are innocent and that you have done nothing wrong. If that is the case, you need to hire a Kansas City professional license defense lawyer and ask them to defend your case.
As a licensed professional, you should realize that your license holds significant value. It is something you have worked hard to achieve and it is also something that matters to you, not just because it allows you to earn money, but because it is something you are passionate about. Nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other professionals work very hard to create a certain reputation and any complaints filed against them can tarnish their reputation quickly.
However, you do need to understand that since the law allows anyone to file a complaint against a licensed professional, you do not need to jump to the conclusion that your career is over just because such a complaint has been filed against you. Everything is not always as it seems and there are often circumstances that lead people to react in a certain way.
We have all heard of situations where a patient dies and the family members blame the doctor for their death. They may feel that it was the doctor’s negligence that led to the patient’s demise. You need to know that just because a patient or their family member blames a nurse or doctor for a situation, this does not make it true. The doctor or the nurse in question may have tried their best to save the patient and the resulting death was not due to any incompetence or negligence on their end.
The point is that just because a complaint is filed against you, it does not mean that you actually did something wrong. For any complaint filed against you, you have a right to defend yourself and you have a right to protect your license with help from a Kansas City, Missouri professional license defense attorney.
Professional License Complaint Investigations
If a complaint has been filed against you and if an investigation is underway, there are some things you must ensure:
- Contact a Missouri license defense lawyer immediately. No matter how confident you are and no matter how strongly you feel about the unfairness of the allegations against you, you need to stay calm and let an experienced professional license defense lawyer handle your case. Anything you have to say, you say to your professional license defense attorney. They know the law and they know how to defend a client. They also know how licensing boards operate and what evidence can make your case stronger and what could potentially work against you. You, as a doctor, nurse, teacher, engineer etc. are an expert in your field but fighting a court battle is definitely not your area of expertise. You should not attempt to defend your case since you can end up ruining your career forever.
- Under no circumstances should you start arguing with the investigator or make a statement. Keep in mind that the Board’s investigator is gathering evidence to determine if the complaint has any merit or not. If you say too much, they can draw their own assumptions and can make your case more difficult.
- Do not contact the person (whether it is your patient, client or customer) who has filed the complaint against you. If you contact them and if you say anything, even if it’s true, this can be used against you and can make your situation worse. We understand that the temptation to defend yourself can be too much, especially if the allegation is completely wrong. Many healthcare providers go through the frustration of having to prove their innocence in situations where they have done nothing but do their best. Patient families can often be very cruel because of the loss of a loved one or a serious health injury, but that does not give them the right to blame the very individuals who tried to help. However, in the real world, these things happen and no matter how strongly you feel about the situation, you need to stay put and let your lawyer and the Board deal with the complaint and the person who filed it.
- Do not discuss the specifics of your case with anyone (except your professional license defense lawyer and your spouse, if any). Even if it is a close friend or a colleague you trust, it is best to keep things quiet. Leave it to your professional license defense lawyer to obtain any statements, hire expert witnesses, analyze the specifics of the case and try to reach a settlement if necessary or defend your case if required.
Contact a Professional License Defense Attorney at Hollingshead and Dudley Trial Lawyers
Our legal team at Hollingshead & Dudley have significant experience dealing with professional license defense cases. Our professional license defense attorney will ensure that they provide you with the best possible legal representation. We have dealt with professionals in various practice areas including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, real estate agents, dentists, engineers, and others. Our Kansas City professional license defense lawyer will provide you with the necessary legal counsel and support throughout the Board’s investigation. This includes the initial hearing and subsequent hearings depending on the validity of the complaint and the evidence. Our professional license defense lawyer will also thoroughly evaluate the settlement agreement if one is offered to you to ensure that you are making the right decision. Whether it is the Board you are dealing with, the AHC or the Missouri Supreme Court, our legal team is here to help you ensure you get the justice you deserve.
If you are a licensed professional working in Kansas City, MO and if you have been informed that you are being investigated, contact our office immediately. We understand that the possibility of losing your license can be daunting. We also understand that you have put your heart and soul into this job and your career goals can be significantly hindered if any allegation against you is proven to be true. Every individual has the right to defend themselves and we are able and willing to do that for you.
Our professional license defense attorney knows how the system works and how the licensing boards in Missouri investigate complaints and what they expect from you. We want to make sure that no mistake is made when dealing with the Board and presenting your argument at the hearing. Call us today and our legal team will be happy to assist you with all your licensing issues. This is your career and your dream and we know that you do not want to lose any of it. We will help you settle the matter effectively and efficiently.