Beware the Risk of the “Lapsed” License in Professional Licensure Actions

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Phil Puccio

Although practicing in only one state, many physicians are licensed to practice in multiple states. Some retain active licenses in states where they no longer practice just in case they decide to return at some point in the future. Others allow their licenses to lapse and become inactive as they have no intention of practicing again in the former state. Doctors with more than one license whether active or inactive, should be aware of the risks this poses in the event of licensing disciplinary proceedings. Consider the following scenario:

dr A currently practices in Nebraska, where he holds an active medical license. He completed his residency in Minnesota and practiced in Iowa before moving to Nebraska. He has expired his licenses in Minnesota and Iowa and has no plans to practice in either state again. The Nebraska Department of Health is investigating a complaint from a patient of Dr. A. If the investigation into disciplinary action against Dr. A leads, it will be reported to the states of Minnesota and Iowa. These states can then fight against Dr. A. Investigate and discipline him even though he has not renewed either license for several years. Any disciplinary action will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Multiple exams, even without unfavorable findings, are associated with a large amount of physician time, defense costs, stress and anxiety. Several disciplinary actions can further damage the physician’s career by affecting their ability to obtain or maintain a qualification, professional license, and future license.

To avoid the risk of multiple investigations/disciplinary actions, physicians should decide whether it is in their best interest to maintain licenses in states where they no longer practice, or to formally relinquish them before an investigation begins in any state. In most, if not all, states, attempting to relinquish a license after an investigation has begun does not protect the physician from disciplinary action. Consulting an attorney with knowledge of the laws and regulations pertaining to licensing processes in states where the physician holds active and inactive licenses can guide the physician in determining the best course of action with the least risk.

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Original Source: https://www.ldmlaw.com/2022/07/beware-the-risk-of-the-lapsed-license-in-professional-licensure-actions/
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