Informal Hearings Before the Department of Health: Your Decisions Matter
When an Administrative Complaint has been filed against your professional license by a regulatory licensing board or agency in Florida, you are given a choice of different types of hearings to resolve the issue. Pursuant to Section 120.57(2), Florida Statues, one of the hearings the licensee can request is a Hearing Not Involving Disputed Issues of Material Fact, also called an Informal Hearing.
In an Informal Hearing, the licensee does not dispute the factual allegations of the Administrative Complaint but is given the opportunity to present evidence to mitigate any penalty or discipline. After hearing the evidence, the Board will determine whether the Respondent should be disciplined and decide what kind of discipline, if any, is appropriate. Despite its name, an Informal Hearing is a very serious matter that can have a huge impact on your license, and you should seek the advice of an experienced licensing attorney.
Government regulators may tell you that you are not required to attend an Informal Hearing. However, you should attend! Licensing boards may take disciplinary action against your license, even if you are not there.
There is a range of penalties the Board may impose in a case depending on the allegations of the complaint. These penalties can range from fines to revocation of your license. Disciplinary action may also subject your license to reporting to national databanks and other potential negative outcomes.
If you find yourself in a situation where the Board acted on your license in your absence at an Informal Hearing, you may elect to file an appeal of the Board’s decision. However, there are time limitations and other requirements for filing appeals. The best decision is to seek the advice of an attorney before you decide to proceed with an Informal Hearing.