A series of new laws take effect on July 1, 2014, which will impact physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists and other health care professionals licensed under the Michigan Public Health Code. Changes to health care professional licensing statutes will increase the likelihood of investigations, enhance penalties for repeat offenders and increase public disclosure of disciplinary actions. The new laws alter both the way allegations are selected for investigation and the level or severity of sanctions that may result.
Changes include the following:
- Require that three board members authorize investigations. Formerly, one board member had authority to either initiate or close an allegation.
- Require the mandatory suspension of a license for at least six months if the licensee is found to commit an offense within two years of a previous offense of the same kind. In the past, the boards had discretion on a second offender.
- Creates standards for conflict of interest rules to help board members know when they must withdraw from judging a fellow professional. There have been no standards in the past.
- Allows the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), after consultation with the board chairman, to supersede its judgment in a disciplinary case if the Department and the chairman of the board determine that the decision jeopardizes the public health, safety and welfare. Currently, only the disciplinary subcommittee, a portion of the board, can determine sanctions of health professionals.
- Mandates enhanced publication of disciplinary actions by requiring LARA to describe the offending conduct when a licensed health professional is disciplined. Presently, only the sanction is published.
- Requires that an investigation be initiated where a licensee has two previous allegations even if the previous allegations were found to be without merit.
- Increases the amount of fines for certain violations.
Taken together, these new measures tighten the process of discipline of health care professionals. Anyone facing a disciplinary action should seek the advice of an experienced licensing attorney.
For more information on these changes or other licensing issues, contact Fraser Trebilcock attorney Max R. Hoffman at 517.377.0880 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tom L. Sparks at 517.377.0829 or email@example.com.