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Your Licensing Board sent you notice of an investigation. -What's your next step?

You have received notice from your licensing Board that an investigation has been initiated. The realization that an investigation or other action has been initiated is a stressful event in itself. Professional license holders depend on their licenses for their businesses. If you have received notice of an adverse action against your professional license your license may be in jeopardy.

Physicians, Nurses, Dentists, Psychologists, Pharmacists, Massage Therapists, Insurance Agents, Accountants, and Investment Advisors, to name a few, all relay upon their licenses for their businesses. Adverse actions could result in:

• License revocation

• Required education courses

• Fines

• Penalties

• Reprimands

• Probation

• Monitored supervision

• Emergency license suspension

• Additional sanctions

Your license may be the key to your job and your livelihood. Your quick action and response can help you manage this stressful and daunting occasion. As such, you may need diligent and resourceful representation. When you receive notice that an investigation or peer review has begun, or are contacted by a state agency, state licensing board or federal authorities, you may need to contact and retain an attorney to begin representing you in the matter. You may receive a notice from any of the following:

· Texas Medical Board Texas

· State Board of Pharmacy

· Texas Department of State Health Services

· Texas Board of Nursing

· Texas State Board of Public Accountancy

· Texas State Security Board

· Texas Department of Insurance

A diligent defense begins early. It may be a governmental agency but you have rights that you must protect. Unfortunately, disgruntled consumers or former employees can lodge complaints that bear little resemblance to the actual facts. These complaints can initiate an investigation. When licensed professionals are falsely accused of improper conduct their business and lives can be damaged or ruined.

If you do communicate with the Board, its staff or its investigators after receiving notice of an action remain professional and polite. Be mindful, they may not know all the facts and they have a job do. If you react in an unprofessional or rude manner, it may be reflected in the Board’s internal documents. In addition, many licensed professions are required by their code of ethics to truthfully respond to complaints before their Board. Your behavior may even wrongly signal the Board’s staff or investigator that there are deeper problems present. Moreover, your behavior during the investigation may be a factor the Board examines when it determines an appropriate sanction.

However, remember your Licensing Board is not on your side if it has initiated an investigation. You should remain friendly, but you should not treat them as a friend. Licensing Boards are burdened with protecting the public. Licensing Boards are not tasked with protecting your reputation or career.

You may want to retain an attorney to protect your interests before your Licensing Board. Hiring an attorney will not make you look any worse before the Board. Your Licensing Board understands that this process is stressful and that you may need an attorney to assist you through the process.

An attorney can represent you in all matters including at informal settlement conferences, enforcement committee meetings, appeals tribunals, or before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). An attorney is important to ensure that your rights are protected, that the proper language appears in any order, and that you have done everything possible to protect your license, reputation and business. Moreover, an attorney can help alleviate the stress of the event. Your decision to retain an attorney deserves your attention. At this stage you can still protect your license.

Additional resources provided by the author

• Texas State Securities Board: www.ssb.state.tx.us/
• Department of State Health Services : www.dshs.state.tx.us/
• Texas State Board of Accountancy : www.tsbpa.state.tx.us/
• Texas Medical Board : www.tmb.state.tx.us/
• Texas Board of Nurse Examiners : www.bon.texas.gov/
• Texas State Board of Phamarcy : www.tsbp.state.tx.us/
• Texas State Board of Dental Examiners : www.tsbde.state.tx.us/
• Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners : www.tbce.state.tx.us/
• Texas Board of Professional Engineers : www.tbpe.state.tx.us/
• Health and Human Services Commission : www.hhsc.state.tx.us/
• Texas Finance Commission : www.fc.state.tx.us/
• Texas Department of Insurance : www.tdi.texas.gov/

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