Michigan Adopts Broader Disciplinary Action Reporting Requirements

By: Jesse Adam Markos, Esq.

Pursuant to new requirements in the Michigan Public Health Code, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ (LARA) public licensing and registration website now provides immediate access to relevant documents that impose disciplinary action against a licensee, including the reason for and description of that disciplinary action. Easier access to this information makes it important for physicians and other licensed health professionals facing a licensing investigation to strongly defend against allegations that may tarnish their career and reputation.

By way of background, physicians’ and other health professionals’ licensing records are made available on the LARA website to provide access to information for the convenience of interested persons. The website acts, in part, as an alert system that collects and discloses disciplinary action taken against physicians and other licensed health professionals. Previous to the more expansive reporting required by Section 333.16216(6) of the Public Health Code, the Disciplinary Action section of a licensee’s search results page contained only a brief listing of any disciplinary action taken (along with any open formal complaints). Any additional information or documentation related to the underlying allegations could only be obtained by requesting such information in writing under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to LARA; a process that can be both costly and burdensome.

Pursuant to the new requirements in Section 333.16216(6) of the Public Health Code, disciplinary documents are now posted for immediate access to the public on the Documents section of a licensee’s search results page. As a result, additional information or documentation related to the underlying allegations can now be easily obtained without cost or delay. Moreover, these disciplinary documents include both the Final Decision or Consent Order imposing disciplinary action as well as the Administrative Complaint (which may include unfounded allegations that were dismissed or discredited prior to formal resolution of the matter).

An adverse action listed on the LARA website can significantly impact a health professional’s reputation and career. Sister state licensing authorities, hospitals and other health care entities, and professional societies search the LARA website when investigating qualifications. A response that lists a disciplinary action can result in a denial of credentialing, loss or limitation of hospital privileges, loss or limitation of licensure, exclusion from participation in health plans, and increases in premiums or exclusion from professional liability insurance.

Disciplinary action and the reason for and description of that disciplinary action listed on the LARA website can have significant professional and economic ramifications, it is important However, once an Administrative Complaint is issued, it becomes difficult for a provider to avoid damage to their reputation and career. As a result, a strong and early defense is necessary and providers should carefully explore all options available to prevent disciplinary action and avoid the resulting professional damage and economic implications. For additional information or assistance, contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at (248) 544-0888

Broader reporting in this area makes it important for providers facing an investigation to be vigilant and contest allegations that may tarnish that provider’s reputation and career.

NEW: Decisions published on LARA website. MCL 333.16216(6).

  • An adverse NPDB report can do significant damage to a physician’s reputation and career. The new NPDB Guidebook leaves hospitals with one less option when trying to evaluate competence and improve quality by non-punitive means. Hospitals and physicians alike must adapt to the stricter reporting requirements found in the new NPDB Guidebook and understand when a report is required and when one can be appropriately avoided.
  • Demonstrating compliance with the Public Health Code or that the matter does not merit discipline.
  • Importantly, an earlier opportunity to counter the allegations may be available.
  • There is no reason for disciplinary action, this can result in a finding that no violation occurred, and the process ends without the need for an Administrative Complaint.
  • At times, medical malpractice claims may be settled for convenience and do not necessarily reflect the professional competence or professional conduct of a practitioner; nevertheless, all payments, regardless of amount, made for the benefit of individual practitioners must be reported.

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