Within the Tennessee Department of Health are several Health Professional Boards that regulate and review the professional standards and licensing for different segments of the medical field. If you are a nurse, dentist, optometrist, athletic trainer, or other healthcare professionals, you are familiar with the board that oversees your profession. However, the extent and purpose of these Health Professional Boards may be unknown, even to an individual licensed by these state agencies.
What Authority Is Given to Health Professional Boards?
Health Professional Boards have extensive responsibility and control over the professional and ethical standards of medical practice. Not only do these boards act as gatekeepers to a particular career in healthcare, but also are responsible for monitoring the conduct of licensed professionals.
Oversight and safeguarding the medical profession both fall under the directives and authority provided to Health Professional Boards in Tennessee. As part of these tasks, each Health Professional Board, whether for nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, or physicians, can hold administrative hearings.
A Tennessee licensure defense lawyer may appear on your behalf at a hearing before a Health Professional Board for a number of reasons, but the most likely is for misconduct. Whether the misconduct is professional or personal, it can lead to an administrative hearing before a Health Professional Board, and require the representation of a Tennessee lawyer practicing specifically in licensure defense. The possible enforcement actions available to a Health Professional Board are strong reasons to hire a lawyer.
Civil Fines for Misconduct and Missed Continued Learning
Even minor misconduct can land a healthcare professional in front of a board hearing. For example, the Board of Licensing Health Care Facilities can punish facility administrators and operators for failing to maintain a clean kitchen. The punishment is a civil penalty of $500. Another example of a minor infraction or instance of misconduct that has repercussions before a Health Professional Board is failing complete continuing education requirements.
Several medical professions require practitioners to complete a specific number of continuing education hours to maintain a license. Typically, the nursing licensing board, dentistry licensing board, etc. will assess a civil fine for failure to complete the requisite hours.
Many practitioners wonder if they need a Tennessee licensure defense lawyer when facing accusations of minor misconduct. While there is no set answer, it is important to remember that some infractions or professional misconduct might seem minor but has major consequences. One instance is the failure to comply with a Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation student loan agreement. This is a seemingly minor action that leads to suspension of your license for medicine, nursing or emergency medical services, among others.
Suspension and Revocation of a License
More serious instances of misconduct are punished by far more severe punishments. The Board of Nursing, Board of Dentistry, and other Health Professional Boards can suspend and even revoke a license. Of course, this enforcement action has widespread repercussions, including restrictions on your future career, ability to work in healthcare in Tennessee, and may even prevent you from applying for a license or certification in another state. In short, suspending or revoking your license could impact your entire future.
If you are facing investigation or accusations of serious misconduct, it is in your best interest to hire a Tennessee licensure defense lawyer. However, it is helpful to know what actions lead to this serious consequence. First, practicing without a license or with a suspended license is certain to lead to further, more serious repercussions. Substantial civil fines can also be imposed for practicing without a valid and up-to-date license.
Second, certain personal misconduct can also result in a suspended or revoked license. The Health Professional Boards have the ability to review a practitioner’s possible misconduct when charged with driving under the influence, abuse of alcohol or other controlled substances, embezzlement, or other white-collar crimes.
Third, charges of health care fraud, particularly when directly involved in your profession, are certain to result in review by a Health Professional Board in Tennessee. In these instances, you may need assistance with Tennessee licensure defense and defense to other criminal or civil charges.
Contacting a Tennessee Licensure Defense Lawyer
If you have a hearing for misconduct, of any type or severity, and want to discuss the issue with an experienced Tennessee licensure defense lawyer, contact a top firm in Nashville, Suber, Asher, Suber & Moushon, PLLC. Garrett Asher, who leads this practice area, can be reached at 615-997-1914.