The Collateral Effects of a Criminal Case on a Licensed Health Professional

Thursday, September 6, 2018
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Criminal charges against a health care professional can result in severe consequences. In this blog, I will discuss the impact of a criminal charge on a Florida licensed health care professional.
 

How Does a Plea of Nolo Contendere Affect Licensed Health Professionals?

Pursuant to Chapter 456 of Florida Statutes, a plea of nolo contendere is treated the same as a plea of guilty for all purposes. Additionally, the chapter of Florida Statutes that governs each type of health professional usually contains similar provisions.


What Is the Effect of an Adjudication or Finding of Adjudication Withheld?

Per Chapter 456 of Florida Statutes, an adjudication or finding of adjudication withheld (or "adjudication deferred" in some jurisdictions) is treated the same as a finding of guilty for all purposes. Additionally the chapter of Florida Statutes that governs each type of health professional usually contains similar provisions; sometimes this will be in the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) Rules that have been adopted by the separate professional licensing board for that profession.
 

Which Crimes May Result in an Automatic Bar to Licensure?

Senate Bill 1984, effective July 1, 2009, amended various section of Florida Statutes, including sections of Chapter 456. These amendments prohibit the DOH from granting a new license to or granting the renewal of a license to a health professional because of a guilty plea or conviction of certain offenses. This is also grounds for revocation of the health professional's license. Generally, as set forth in Section 456.0635(2)(a), Florida Statutes these are: Being convicted of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under:

  •         Chapter 409 (the Medicaid Program)
  •         Chapter 817 (Fraud)
  •         Chapter 893 (Drugs)
  •         21 U.S.C. Sects. 801-970 (Food and Drugs); or
  •         42 U.S.C. Sects. 1395-1396 (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security)

This stands unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or pleas ended more than 15 years prior to the date of the application. (Sect. 456.0635(2)(a), Fla. Stat.)

Additionally, grounds for discipline against the existing license of health professional includes:

  • Any misdemeanor or felony relating to Medicaid fraud: "Being convicted of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, any misdemeanor or felony, regardless of adjudication, under 18 U.S.C. Sect. 669, Sects. 285-287, Sect. 371, Sect. 1001, Sect. 1035, Sect. 1341, Sect. 1343, Sect. 1347, Sect. 1349, or Sect. 1518, or 42 U.S.C. Sects. 1320a-7b, relating to the Medicaid program." (Sect. 456.072(1)(ii), Fla. Stat.)

  • Being convicted of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, any misdemeanor or felony, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which relates to health care fraud. (Sect. 456.072(1)(ll), Fla. Stat.

What Are the Collateral Effects of "Conviction" of above Offenses?


  1. A case involving an arrest or a conviction involving alcohol abuse (DUI/public Intoxication) or drugs (possession, diversion, theft, trafficking) will probably result in an emergency suspension order (ESO) until entire licensure case is complete.
  2. Client may be required to be evaluated and probably enrolled in the Impaired Nurses Program (IPN) (for nurses only) or the Professionals Resource Network (PRN) (for all other licensed health professionals), which is usually at least a five year contract.
  3. Action to revoke, suspend or take other action against the clinical privileges and medical staff membership of those licensed health professionals who may have such in a hospital, ambulatory surgical center, skilled nursing facility, or staff model HMO or clinic. This will usually be physicians, physician assistants (PAs), advance registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), podiatrists, clinical psychologists and clinical pharmacists.
  4. Mandatory report to the National Practitioner Data Base (NPDB) (Note: Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank or HIPDB recently folded into NPDB) which remains there for 50 years.
  5. Must be reported to and included in the DOH profile that is available to the public online (for those having one), and remains for at least ten years.
  6. Any other states or jurisdictions in which the client has a license will also initiate action against him or her in that jurisdiction. (Note: I have had two clients who had licenses in seven other states).
  7. The OIG of HHS will take action to exclude the provider from the Medicare Program. If this occurs (and most of these offense require mandatory exclusion) the provider will be placed on the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) maintained by the HHS OIG.
  8. If the above occurs, the provider is also automatically "debarred" or prohibited from participating in any capacity in any federal contracting and is placed on the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA's) debarment list.
  9. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will act to revoke the professional's DEA registration if he or she has one.
  10. The certified health professional's certify organization will act to revoke his or her certification.
  11. Third party payors (health insurance companies, HMOs, etc.) will terminate the professional's contract or panel membership with that organization.
  12. Any profile maintained by a national organization or federation (e.g., American Medical Association physician profile or Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy profile) will include the conviction.
  13. Regardless of any of the above, any facility licensed by AHCA (hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), public health clinics, public health clinics, group homes for the developmentally disabled, etc.) that are required to perform background screenings on their employees will result in AHCA notifying the facility and the professional that he or she is disqualified from employment.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

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: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.


KeyWords: legal representation for investigation by state licensing board, legal representation for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, DEA investigation defense attorney, legal representation for Board investigations, legal representation for Board complaints, legal representation for licensure revocation, license defense attorney, licensure defense for health care professionals, legal representation for health professionals, legal representation for DOH investigations, DOH defense attorney, legal representation for DOH complaints, legal representation for disciplinary actions,  legal representation for health professionals, legal representation for doctors, Legal counsel for licensure issues, licensure defense attorney, legal representation for suspended or revoked license, legal representation for adverse disciplinary actions, administrative defense attorney, legal representation for investigations and complaints, legal representation for administrative hearings, complaint investigation defense attorney for health care professionals, appeals (and variations on appeal ) of adverse license action, The Health Law Firm reviews, reviews of The Health Law Firm Attorneys, The Health Law Firm


“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2018 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
9/6/2018

Like this blog? Add your public comments:

Items in bold indicate required information.