Your medical license is an important part of your identity. If you are facing an investigation from a licensing board, you are probably wondering what you can expect and how you can protect your license. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs oversees complaints regarding licensed medical professional in the state. The Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation conducts the investigations of complaints.

What triggers a licensing board investigation?

Several situations may instigate a licensing board investigation. Many times, a failed drug test at work triggers the investigation. Failing a new employee drug test is the next most common reason. You could initiate an investigation when you self-report for your license renewal that you were convicted of a DUI or drug-related felony. Finally, an anonymous complaint may initiate an investigation. Whereas the first three scenarios are based on evidence, the last scenario is only based on someone’s unsubstantiated allegation.

Talking to the investigator

If someone files an anonymous complaint, you will probably hear from an investigator. This may happen in a number of ways. They may show up at your home or office to ask you questions or leave you telephone messages. They will appear polite and friendly to get you talking. Do not be fooled. The investigator is not your friend. Keep in mind that you do not have to speak to them. Politely decline to talk to them until you have had a chance to seek legal counsel.

The investigator can use any statement you make, no matter how innocent it sounds to you, to show you have an ongoing mental health or substance abuse issue. If you open the door for the investigator, they will continue the investigation. The board is likely to push for a monitoring program if you admit to any sort of impairment.

The hearing

If the board decides to file formal charges against you, they will send you an Order to Show Cause and set a time for a hearing. You may attempt to negotiate a settlement with the board. Otherwise, you will attend a hearing before a hearing examiner. The hearing examiner makes a decision and issues an order.

Facing an investigation is never easy, but you do have support and resources. You also have rights. Make sure yours are protected as you go through this process.