By Lenis L. Archer, J.D., M.P.H., The Health Law Firm
The administrator of the Florida Department of Health's (DOH) Unlicensed Activity Program presented an update on the investigations of unlicensed activity in the state. This report, presented at the recent Board of Psychology, is one of the many reports being presented to the various professional licensing boards.
The presentation indicated that Florida has dramatically increased its efforts to not only investigate and prosecute unlicensed activity, but to make the public aware of the danger of seeking health services for unlicensed practitioners.
Weapon of Choice in This Battle: Trust Funds.
Florida is the only state with a dedicated trust fund to combat unlicensed activity. Section 456.065(3), Florida Statutes, imposes a $5.00 fee on all health practitioners upon initial licensure and each licensure renewal. These funds are deposited into Florida's Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund by profession. Each professional board is then consulted regarding enforcement methods and strategies to increase awareness about unlicensed activity.
Thanks to these funds, the Department of Health has more than doubled the investigators in the Unlicensed Activity Unit from seven investigators to nineteen. This dramatic increase in resources and staff has resulted in the investigation of almost all complaints of unlicensed activity reported to the DOH.
Public Service Announcements.
The Bureau of Enforcement has produced several short videos to inform the public of unlicensed activity. These public service announcement videos are currently being run as movie previews in theaters throughout South Florida. South Florida, as the most densely populated region in the state, higher rates of unlicensed activity than other parts of Florida.
To view the Florida DOH video on unlicensed activity in dentistry, click here.
Common Procedures Performed by Unlicensed Impostors.
The most common complaints of unlicensed activity are:
- Cosmetic surgery such as implants, Botox, etc.;
- Teeth whitening services; and
- Unlicensed massage therapists and message establishments.
For the Board of Psychology, complaints of unlicensed activity are coming from the following practitioner areas:
- Life coaches;
- Christian counselors; and
- Persons with degrees and licenses from unaccredited and fraudulent online schools.
Word to the Wise.
A patient who seeks services from an unlicensed individual may have little or no recourse if he or she suffer any damages due to their care. It is important to note that since these frauds are NOT licensed medical professionals, they cannot be sued for malpractice.
We strongly suggest that the public always verify a health practitioner's license at the DOH Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) Services website. Health care professionals who suspect unlicensed colleagues or practices should immediatly report the suspicious activity to the DOH as well.
Now more than ever, the DOH's Bureau of Enforcement is cracking down on unlicensed activity. It is highly likely that if you are practicing a health profession without a license, any complaint about you will be investigated. Penalties include arrest by law enforcement, fines, and the issuance of a cease and desist order.
To view the DOH Unlicensed Activity Program website, click here.
Do you think the increase of unlicensed health care imposters poses a threat to the integrity of the profession? Have you personally experienced this fraudulence? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.
The Health Law Firm routinely represents physicians, pharmacists, pharmacies, optometrists, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, NPDB actions, inspections and audits involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
About the Author: Lenis L. Archer is as attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
Tag Words: Unlicensed activity, Unlicensed medical activity, unlicensed healthcare activity, unlicensed dentist, unlicensed physician, unlicensed doctor, unlicensed nurse, healthcare professional fraud, healthcare professional impostor, Florida Department of Health (DOH), Florida Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund, Unlicensed Activity Unit, Unlicensed Activity Program, DOH investigation, DOH fraud investigation, DOH unlicensed activity investigation, fake doctor, fake nurse, fake dentist, botched Botox, Board of Medicine, The Health Law Firm reviews
The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999. Copyright © 1999-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.