Summary Suspensions and Restrictions of a Health Professional License

Washington State Department of Health | WSDH | Credentials and Licensing | Summary Suspensions and Restrictions of a Health Professional License | A Lawyer’s Perspective.

"UWMC" by Atomic Taco - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“UWMC” by Atomic Taco – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

If your professional license is summarily suspended, restricted or limited to practice due to allegations of unprofessional conduct or sexual misconduct, your situation is time sensitive and needs immediate attention. In general, you and your lawyer must ask for a hearing within 20 days of the issuance of the order  that summarily suspended, restricted or limited your right to practice as well as request a hearing regarding the Statement of Charges.

In order to summarily suspend, restrict or limit a health care professional’s license, the prosecuting administrative law lawyers that represent the licensing authority must prove it is more probable than not the license holder poses an immediate threat to the public health and safety in front of an appropriate committee panel or the Adjudicative Service Unit of the Department of Health depending on who has regulatory authority over the particular profession and situation.

At this hearing, you have a right to have all documentation in support of the charges and you have a right to fight for your livelihood. Summary action, restriction or limiting one’s ability to practice in a profession without the full due process of a complete hearing process is a strong action and, therefore, requires an agency to successfully argue to a high standard. Failure of the agency to prove a license holder represents an immediate threat, means that the summary suspension or restriction can be overturned or amended to something less restrictive during the pendency of the case.

In general, once the case passes this summary suspension stage, the secretary, board or commission must prove their actual case against you by clear and convincing evidence. If they fail to do so, you win. Recognize that failure to act will result in a default finding against you. Recognize that forcing an agency to provide the documentation they have against you upfront will improve your position in any subsequent proceeding.

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