Every professional who is granted a license to practice in the State of Missouri understands the value of this license and the expectations that are associated with it. People put their heart and soul into these endeavors and the last thing they need is an issue that could potentially put their professional license at risk. If a complaint has been filed against you, the first thing that you should do is consult with a St. Louis professional license defense lawyer.
The most important element of professional licensing is not only the fact that those who acquire these certifications and licenses do so after significant time and effort, but also the fact that these professionals are closely monitored by licensing boards who make it their goal to ensure that every individual who practices in these particular areas complies with the rules and regulations established by these Boards. The a Missouri professional license that is granted to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, psychologists, dentists, accountants, real estate agents, social workers or any other professional is more or less a promise to provide the highest standard of professional service and care. Nearly 40 licensing boards are managed by the Missouri Board of Professional Registration and these Boards are in turn responsible for regulating the activities of numerous professionals working in St. Louis, MO.
Who Can File Complaints against a Licensed Professional in St. Louis?
Most licensed professionals work in fields that provide care and services to the general public. In other words, doctors who treat patients, nurses who take care of these patients, dentists who fix teeth for clients, accountants who provide financial services to clients, therapists who provide physical and occupational care and all other professionals who work in similar environments come across people from all walks of life. These professionals have a string of patients and clients who are extremely satisfied with the quality and standard of service they receive, but there are others who may not be as satisfied or who may feel their experience was not as good as they expected. These people, no matter who they are, can file a complaint against any licensed professional. The complaint can be filed with the licensing board and the licensing board is required to look into the complaint, investigate, and determine if any disciplinary action is required against the licensed professional.
There is no doubt that the transparency of such a system is something that we all should appreciate, but while freedom to file a complaint is important, this freedom can often result in people complaining about professionals without any merit or for issues that do not deserve to be taken to such extreme levels. Nurses, doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers as well as those offering their services in the financial, legal or teaching sectors, work very hard to acquire the skills and experience to be able to contribute to society. While there may be some professionals who do not do justice to their profession and engage in activities that are below par but at the same time, a large majority of professionals realize the value of their license and also understand their obligation to serve their clients to the best of their ability.
Nevertheless, when it comes to complaints, anyone, including a patient, a client, a colleague, a friend or anyone else, can file a complaint with the licensing board against a licensed professional.
Complaints can range from negligent service to inappropriate behavior or misconduct. There can be complaints about alcohol or drugs; fraud; false reporting; self-prescription; incompetence; mistreatment; abuse or dishonesty. Whatever complaint is filed against a licensed professional must be proven before any action can be taken against the individual.
What Happens If a Complaint is Filed Against Me?
- The complaint must be filed with the relevant licensing board. For example, if a complaint is being filed against a nurse, it must be filed with the Missouri Board of Nursing.
- When the Board receives the complaint, they will inform the nurse that a complaint has been filed against them.
- The nurse will be requested to respond to the complaint in writing and to present their side of the story so that the Board can determine the exact nature of the complaint and whether it has any merit.
- Based on the nurse’s response, the Board has to decide how to proceed. If the complaint is resolved quickly, there is a chance that the board will issue a warning and may put the nurse on probation. If the complaint is serious, the board may choose to suspend the license or revoke it.
- If there is no initial resolution of the issue in question, the complaint may be referred to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). The AHC will then schedule a hearing where the Board will be required to present evidence to prove that the nurse had indeed violated any rules and regulations. If the evidence is not sufficient to prove that the nurse had broken any rules, the complaint will be dismissed and the person who filed the complaint will be thus informed. The nurse will be able to resume their work without any disciplinary action.
- If however, the evidence shows that the nurse had failed to comply with the standards of the Board and that the allegations against the nurse are true, the Board will then determine the level of discipline that should be imposed. This could include reprimand and probation, suspension or revocation.
What Should I Do If My Professional License is at Risk?
We all understand the importance of complying with the rules and regulations that have been established by licensing boards. There can be situations where the licensed professional did not intend to break the rules, but did so due to unforeseen circumstances or accident. In such a scenario, the Board should not impose a punishment that puts their career at risk. However, if a professional fails to meet the minimum standard, they are and should be punished. For example, a doctor who caters to the patient while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol has absolutely no justification for behaving in such a manner. Similarly, an accountant who engages in false reporting or any other fraudulent activity should be held liable for their actions.
However, there are often situations where the complaints filed with the licensing board have absolutely no merit. The licensed professional should understand that even if they are sure they have done nothing wrong, they do need to respond to the complaint. They cannot simply ignore it or take it lightly because they know they haven’t done anything wrong. The fact is that the Board will investigate and the Board will require a response from the professional who has been accused of breaking the code.
If you are a licensed professional working in St. Louis, MO and if a complaint has been filed against you, you should consult with a professional license defense attorney immediately. Even if you know there is no way any allegation can be proven against you, you should still defend yourself in front of the Board. Talk to a license defense lawyer to tell them your side of the story. They will then present your defense in front of the Board. When a complaint is filed against you, an investigator from the licensing board may try to approach you and get a statement. You should not, under any circumstances, do so without having a professional license defense lawyer present. No matter how much you know about the situation and no matter your level of knowledge or expertise in your field, defending your license is a tall order and you do not want to make any mistakes and put yourself at risk of losing your license. Talk to a license defense attorney before you do anything else. Do not give any statements, talk to any colleagues about your case, or blame the third party for anything. Leave the defense strategy to your St. Louis license defense lawyer while you focus on providing as much detail and information to your attorney as you possibly can.
Can a St. Louis Professional License Defense Attorney Help My Case?
At Hollingshead & Dudley, our legal team is known for being completely sincere with clients. We have a primary goal to ensure that all clients get the justice they deserve. We promise you that our St. Louis professional license defense attorney has the necessary skill to defend your case with the Board. In cases such as these, a lot of things are at risk. The professional license, the professional’s job, reputation, credibility, and clients. They say that in fields such as healthcare or finance, if you lose your reputation, there is pretty much nothing else to lose. Most clients consult you or ask for your services because they trust you and have faith in you. If a complaint is filed against you and if you do not defend your license properly, this could lead to damage to your reputation, your credibility and your years of hard work.
Our professional license defense lawyer at Hollingshead and Dudley Trial Lawyers have defended the licenses of many professionals. We believe that healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, therapists, dentists and other professionals such as teachers or accountants etc. play an important role in society. If a serious incident occurs, the professional must be punished but if the complaint has no merit, then you should in no way give up on protecting your license. Your licensing board is obligated to investigate the complaint. They have to follow the process for every professional the same way. Therefore, they will investigate, gather evidence, and do their best to try to resolve the matter through a settlement agreement if required and if not, they will take disciplinary action as and when required.
When a complaint is filed against you and you have not been involved in any unprofessional action or behavior, you should consult a license defense attorney and you should tell them everything they need to know to be able to defend you in front of the Board. Many professionals make the mistake of ignoring the complaint or dismissing the allegations without proving to the Board why they think their case should be dismissed. When you consult our firm, our professional license defense lawyer in St. Louis will prepare a strong argument that will show that you have always demonstrated the highest level of ethics and standards. Your lawyer will demonstrate the level of professionalism that you have demonstrated in the years that you have been practicing and will then establish that the complaint is invalid and has no merit.
Keep in mind that your professional license was acquired after putting in years and years of effort. If this license is now at risk, you need to fight and you need to ensure that nobody takes your right to practice away from you unless it is justified. Just because a certain patient did not appreciate the treatment you suggested or was not happy with your diagnosis does not give them the right to take your license from you.
Consult with Hollingshead and Dudley Trial Lawyers to Discuss Your Legal Options for Professional License Defense
Speak to our St. Louis professional license defense attorney today and provide them with every detail of your case from start to finish. By providing your lawyer with a history of your achievements over the years, you can help them outline a profile for you that will demonstrate that you have been serving your clients ethically and professionally for years. One complaint does not mean all is lost. The most important thing you need to do is to ensure you hire the right Missouri professional license defense lawyer to fight for your cause and to ensure that the Board sees the invalidity of the complaint. When we work in an environment where anybody can walk in, pay a retainer and hire your services, there is always the risk that we will run across somebody who will turn out to be quite challenging and difficult. Our lawyers will ensure your license is secure and that you can continue to work with your clients and your patients.