As a licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC), your job is to help people who are struggling with addictions. Occasionally interactions regarding this sensitive subject can go sour. And you may find that one of your clients has filed a complaint against you with the state licensing board.
These cases are uncommon, and many of the complaints are never even investigated. However, it is still important that you understand the steps to take in case you do receive notice that you are under investigation.
STEP ONE: Make sure you are protected.
Protecting yourself and your career is a step you can take right now. First, make sure you have the proper insurance coverage. Carry a malpractice insurance plan that includes coverage for board investigations. This type of plan helps cover the costs to defend yourself.
Second, if you are involved in a difficult case, seek expert opinions on your treatment plan and other issues. And keep very good records of your plans and decisions, expert opinions, and any other pertinent information. That way you are always prepared if the board does come knocking at your door.
STEP TWO: Take any board investigation seriously.
Even if you are fully confident that you’ve done nothing wrong, you still need to take the investigation seriously. Do not ignore it and do not assume that the board will believe your innocence.
You may have a solid reputation and be on good terms with the board, however, ultimately your record is what will determine your innocence or guilt. So, do not respond directly to the letter of inquiry and do not contact the client who filed the complaint. Take the situation seriously and know your legal options.
STEP THREE: Seek legal advice.
Once you have received a letter of inquiry from the licensing board, the best thing to do next is seek the advice of an experienced professional license defense attorney. Do not turn medical records over or discuss anything with the board without the guidance of your attorney. Even casual conversations can unknowingly incriminate you.
You worked hard to become licensed in your field. If your license is revoked, it can take away your livelihood. So, take any investigation seriously, and seek legal counsel before taking any other steps with your case.