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Complaints & Compliance
What Licensees Should Know
Have you been notified that a complaint has been filed against you?  Have you been cited during a facility inspection?  You should know your rights and understand how the disciplinary process works.
 
The Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) and the volunteer citizen boards overseen by OHLA are required by state law to uphold regulations meant to protect the health, safety and rights of consumers. 
 
OHLA holds statutory authority to conduct investigations and to discipline licensees who violate Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) or Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR).

 
Resolution / Due Process

If licensees receive a Notice from OHLA they should not ignore it.  All notices come with a Notice of Right to Request a Hearing and Final Order Upon Default.  In most cases a licensee has 30 days to request a hearing, and it must be in writing.  This begins the Due Process.

If a licensee chooses to ignore a Notice, then the Notice will become a Final Order and not likely to change.

 
Licensees Receive Due Process
OHLA strictly follows the Oregon Attorney General’s Model Rules of Procedure, which require that licensees receive due process during disciplinary proceedings.
 
While it is rare, licensees may contest a disciplinary action to the Oregon Supreme Court.  Licensees / respondents should remember that even while negotiations are taking place, they retain the right to a hearing before an impartial hearings officer and to representation by an attorney.

 
Notice of Disciplinary Action

Compliance action begins with a complaint to OHLA and may end with a Final Order.  But before we get to the Final Order, an investigation will occur.

If the allegations are substantiated, a Notice of Intent to Assess a Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Request a Hearing will be sent to the licensee.  The notice includes the violation(s), proposed penalty and the rights of the licensee

If the allegations are unfounded, the licensee will receive a letter from OHLA communicating this finding.

The information from an investigation can be requested by going to OHLA's website and filing a public records request  once a final order is issued.  Specific details of an investigation may not be disclosed to the public.

For any violation(s). disciplinary actions may include fines up to $5,000 and suspension or revocation of a practitioner's authorization to practice and up to $5,000 for the cost of disciplinary proceedings. 

 

 

 
Responding to a Notice
If you receive a Notice of Intent to Assess a Civil Penalty (Notice), you must respond within the time designated on the notice if you would like to contest the allegations or negotiate a settlement. 
 
Proposed discipline is just that — what OHLA proposes as discipline to address alleged violations based on the evidence and the specific, related state law and administrative rule.
 
Failure to respond to a disciplinary notice is considered a default of your rights, and OHLA may proceed with disciplinary action.  A disciplinary notice issued as a Proposed /Final Order and Notice automatically becomes a final order if you fail to respond within the designated time.

 

 

 

 
Investigative Protocol Provides Regulatory Roadmap
 
OHLA has developed a 28-step investigative protocol that
provides a “regulatory roadmap” for the agency’s investigators.
In some cases OHLA will notify a board or a board chair when an investigation is underway. In other cases a subject matter expert (SME) may be used as a consultant during the investigation.
The OHLA investigator and SME will prepare detailed reports describing the events that took place and evidence collected during the investigation.
In some cases the allegations are unfounded.  A report will still be written and a letter to the respondent will be written notifying that the case was unfounded.
If the investigation finds that a violation of the statutes or rules exists, OHLA may take it to an Enforcement Committee for expert review and recommendations then a Notice will be prepared and sent to the respondent.
In some cases the investigation can take months to investigate and get the Notice prepared.
 

 

Protocol's "Exit Points" Ensure Efficiency

OHLA must open an investigation on every complaint, reviewing the
complaint for merit.

OHLA then proceeds with the investigation if there is reasonable cause to believe a statute or administrative rule has been violated.

OHLA has statutory authority to issue an immediate suspension of a license if there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the public.
However, if the evidence does not support the facts of the complaint allegation, the investigation is terminated.  These “exit points” help to ensure that investigations are not unnecessarily continued, saving all parties involved time and expense.
 

 

Disputing an OHLA Action
If you dispute an action taken against you by the Oregon Health Licensing Agency or any other state agency, you may request a hearing before an independent administrative law judge through the Office of Administrative Hearings. 
 
Click here for more information on the Office of Administrative Hearings and the hearing process.