The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the state agency responsible for administering discipline among various professionals in the state of Illinois. It is responsible for imposing discipline on numerous professionals in the healthcare field, including doctors, nurses (including RN, LPN, and APN), and pharmacists. Facing discipline from the IDFPR can be a daunting situation. Healthcare professionals invest substantial time and money into obtaining the necessary degrees and licenses. However, it can all be tainted if the IDFPR takes disciplinary action against the license. Call an employment attorney who practices in healthcare license defense today to evaluate your legal situation.
In determining whether an individual’s license is subject to discipline, the IDFPR evaluates whether the individual has violated the statute governing the relevant profession. For example, nurses are subject to the Nursing Practice Act. 225 ILCS 65/50-1. A nurse’s license can be subject to a fine, reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation if he or she violates any number of sections, such as a felony conviction (225 ILCS 65/70-5(b)(3)), gross negligence in the practice of nursing (225 ILCS 65/70-5(b)(14)), or negligently violating the confidentiality between a nurse and a patient (225 ILCS 65/70-5(b)(24), among others. Nurses accused of violating the Illinois Nursing Practice Act are often alleged to have been convicted of a qualifying crime, diverted narcotics, or to have had an inappropriate relationship with a patient. Contact an employment attorney practicing healthcare license defense if you are facing disciplinary action against your healthcare license.
The Healthcare License Defense Process
The disciplinary process typically begins when someone files a complaint against an individual’s license with the IDFPR. The Department will then conduct an investigation of the Complaint, interview witnesses, and review pertinent documents. The licensee is usually the last witness the investigator interviews. Once the Department concludes the investigation, it will decide whether to pursue disciplinary action against the individual’s license.
If the Department chooses to pursue discipline against the individual’s license, it will often first conduct an informal disciplinary conference. At the private conference, the IDFPR attorney, a representative from the licensing board, the licensee, and the licensee’s attorney meet to determine if the parties can settle on an agreed-upon discipline. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement, or if the Department deems the Conference unnecessary, it will file a formal Complaint in front of an administrative law judge. From there, the case will proceed similar to a normal lawsuit filed in Court, including pleadings, discovery, and concluding with an evidentiary hearing (similar to a trial). At the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing, the administrative law judge issues its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations. The applicable board will then review the Administrative Law Judge’s recommendation, and either accept it or issue an alternative recommendation. The Director of the IDFPR then reviews all recommendations and makes the final determination. Even after the Director’s final order, the decision can still be appealed to Illinois Circuit Court, where a judge will determine whether the agencies erred in coming to their decision.
The possibility of discipline on your professional license should not be taken lightly. Some individuals think they can handle the case themselves, and only hire counsel when the case goes to an evidentiary hearing, or worse, an appeal. Unfortunately, by the time the attorney is involved, the pro se litigant has inflicted irrevocable damage to his or her case. If you are facing discipline on your license, contact an employment attorney from the outset.