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Complaints and 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 Health Licensing Office (HLO) and the volunteer citizen boards overseen by HLO are required by state law to uphold regulations meant to protect the health, safety and rights of consumers.

HLO conducts inspections and investigations, and licensees who violate Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) or Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) are subject to discipline.

Investigative protocol

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

If there is reasonable cause to believe a statute or administrative rule has been violated, HLO proceeds with the investigation.

For some professions, HLO notifies or consults with a board or a board chair before an investigation is underway.

The HLO investigator and, in some cases, a subject matter expert (SME), will prepare detailed reports describing the events that took place and evidence collected during the investigation.

In cases where it is determined that the allegations are unfounded, HLO will send a letter notifying the licensee that the case was unfounded.

If the investigation finds that a violation of the statutes or rules exists, HLO may take it to an Enforcement Committee or Board for expert review and recommendations. A Notice of Intent to Impose Disciplinary Action (NOI) will be prepared and sent to the licensee who violated the law.

In some cases it can take several months to investigate the case and prepare the NOI.

If the evidence does not support the facts of the complaint allegation, the investigation is terminated.

Notice of disciplinary action

When allegations are substantiated, a NOI and Notice of Right to Request a Hearing will be sent to the licensee. The NOI includes the violation(s), proposed disciplinary action and the rights of the licensee. Proposed discipline is just that — what HLO proposes as discipline to address alleged violations based on the evidence and the specific related state law and/or administrative rule.

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 an NOI and disputing an HLO action

If you receive a NOI from HLO you should not ignore it. All NOIs come with a Notice of Right to Request a Hearing.

If you receive a NOI, you must respond within the time designated if you would like to contest the allegations or negotiate a settlement. In most cases, a licensee has 30 days to request a hearing, and the hearing request must be in writing. Hearings are held before an independent administrative law judge through the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Office of Administrative Hearings

Failure to respond to a NOI by requesting a hearing is considered a default of your rights, and HLO may proceed with disciplinary action. A NOI that is not responded to within the allotted time will result in HLO issuing a final order imposing discipline.
Once a final order is issued, the findings from an investigation can be requested by going to HLO's website and filing a public records request. Sometimes, details of an investigation cannot be disclosed to the public.

Health Licensing Office home page
Public records request form

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