FAQ About IDFPR
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FAQs About the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation

Illinois Professional License Defense Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions

IDFPR has contacted me regarding allegations of misconduct. Do I need an attorney?closed arrow
You are not required to retain the services of an attorney, however it is prudent to do so. It is also recommended that you seek an attorney who is familiar with IDFPR statutes and administrative rules and experienced in representing professionals before the IDFPR board. Once you have secured an attorney's services, IDFPR is prohibited from communicating with you directly without your or your attorney's approval. Furthermore, an attorney can speak with the department's investigators to determine what the allegations are and what preparations need to be made to prepare a defense.
If I hire an attorney to represent me at an informal hearing with IDFPR, won't that make me look "guilty"?closed arrow
Your being represented before the IDFPR by an attorney is not interpreted by the department professionals as either guilt or innocence. In fact, it presents you to IDFPR as an astute professional who takes his or her professional license seriously. Having legal representation whenever you are dealing with governing agencies is a sign of wisdom and good judgment, not guilt.
I was contacted by IDFPR and told that I am under investigation; what should I do?closed arrow
Call an attorney immediately - one with experience in dealing with IDFPR. If IDFPR contacts you again, tell them that you are in the process of hiring an attorney and that your attorney will contact them soon. IDFPR investigators are trained professionals who cleverly acquire information about you by asking questions about seemingly irrelevant matters. The existence of an attorney-client relationship will stop any further direct communication between you and the department.
I have an informal conference scheduled before the IDFPR. Do I need a lawyer?closed arrow
Although you are not required to have a lawyer with you, it is in your best interest to do so. You will be prosecuted by the department's attorney and his supervisor will most likely be counseling him. Therefore, there will be two (2) attorneys representing the department. If you have no legal representation, you will be at a serious disadvantage. IDFPR's statutes and administrative rules are complex. Even if you are innocent of misconduct or have mitigating evidence to offer, proving it up pursuant to statute or department rules requires legal knowledge and experience that may be beyond your abilities.
I have had an informal conference with IDFPR and have been offered a disciplinary order that is unreasonable or unacceptable to me. What are my options?closed arrow
You can negotiate the terms of the order or reject it, in which case the department will file formal charges against you. If you are unwilling to accept the offer, then obtaining legal representation is wise. Successful negotiation requires an understanding of the department's case. To successfully combat the department in a formal administrative hearing requires technical knowledge of IDFPR rules, the Administrative Act and evidentiary rules and procedures. This is best handled by an attorney who has negotiation and litigation experience with IDFPR.
The IDFPR has filed formal charges against me. Do I need a lawyer?closed arrow
At this point, the only thing that stands in the way of your license being revoked or suspended is the formal administrative hearing. Therefore, your case requires the polished presentation of an attorney who is familiar with IDFPR formal administrative statutes and rules and experienced in formal administrative hearings. Representing yourself through this process puts you and your license at a severely unfair disadvantage. Remember, the department has a team of investigators and lawyers preparing its case against you. It is in your best interest to also have competent legal representation.
I have been convicted of a crime. Is my professional license in jeopardy?closed arrow
The IDFPR has its own statutes and rules regarding criminal convictions and licensee misconduct. For example, physicians, dentists and pharmacists operate under the rules of the Medical Practice Act. It is best to speak with an attorney regarding your particular situation as the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest and conviction can alter the department's position. In some cases a conviction for certain offenses requires a mandatory suspension or revocation of your professional license, unless it can be demonstrated that the continued issuance of the license would be in the best interest of the public and the licensee. Under such circumstances, it is prudent to have an attorney represent you before the department and put forth the evidence that is statutorily required for continued licensure.
I have been charged with a DUI. Will this affect my professional license and what should I do next?closed arrow
Contact a criminal attorney immediately to represent you on the criminal case and explain to the lawyer your concerns about your professional license. It is advisable for your criminal lawyer to contact an attorney who is familiar with the licensing statutes and the attitude the board towards DUI and chemical dependency. In some cases, a proactive approach can overcome the department's presumption that an arrest or conviction for DUI means that you are chemically dependent and need to be in a monitoring program or under a disciplinary order. Our firm can recommend criminal attorneys who are experienced in dealing with IDFPR.
I was fired because I was accused of, or caught, diverting controlled substances. How will this affect my professional license?closed arrow
Under these circumstances, the potential for the filing of criminal charges by state or federal authorities, the filing of misconduct charges by your licensing agency, an attempt by the DEA to revoke your controlled substances license and the loss of your ability to seek reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid are all possibilities. You need to obtain competent legal representation immediately to intervene on your behalf and help you proceed through the process. Whether you admit to or deny the allegations, whether you want recovery help or not, this is not a situation you should try to handle by yourself. Moreover, once you are represented by an attorney, the authorities are prohibited from talking to you unless you knowingly waive your right to have counsel present.
As a result of an IDFPR disciplinary action against me, the insurance companies are dropping me as a network provider. Do I have any recourse?closed arrow
Insurance companies view a variety of disciplinary actions differently. Knowing the insurance company and the findings contained in the disciplinary record are crucial. The facts and circumstances surrounding the misconduct can also determine the outcome. Successful appeals, reapplications and continued participation can often be achieved via forceful advocacy, with the proper assertion and use of mitigation evidence. These appeals and notices are best handled by an experienced attorney, as the recent imposition of a disciplinary sanction puts you at a distinct disadvantage when representing yourself.
I am applying for a professional license and I have a criminal record. Can I be licensed?closed arrow
This is a complicated matter and is at the heart of a great many licensure disputes and disciplinary actions brought against licensees. Generally, sex offenders have the hardest time getting licensed, as do individuals who have committed a fiduciary crime or a crime that involves moral turpitude. The burden is not necessarily insurmountable, but it is a process that is best handled by an attorney with experience in this area. Many agencies will issue probationary, provisional or restrictive licenses after an initial hearing on your current moral character and fitness. It is wise to have counsel to help you prepare your application and advocate for you through the process of gathering mitigating and rehabilitative evidence.
The IDFPR wants to suspend or revoke my license. What should I do?closed arrow
Hire a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the IDFPR. When the department becomes aware that they will have a fight on their hands, sometimes their position towards the disciplinary process is altered. In serious cases they will proceed anyway, but often the reality of a long fight tends to aid in negotiations or settlement. In any event, your license is your livelihood and to give up your privileges without the fair assertion of your rights is tantamount to quitting. Finally, it is the department's burden to prove that you are not fit to practice in order to revoke your license; it is your attorney's job to prove that you are fit upon reapplication. A good strategy would be to keep the burden on the agency while gathering defensive, mitigation and rehabilitative evidence.
What forms do I need?closed arrow
To begin the Licensure process you need to submit an application form. All forms relevant to your area of practice are on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website. The Acts and Rules for each profession can be accessed from the Department's Home Page.
When will I get a renewal form?closed arrow
In most cases, a renewal notice will be sent to you in the mail approximately two months prior to the expiration date of your license. It is crucial to always keep your address updated.
What is the difference between a non-renewed and inactive license?closed arrow
A non-renewed license is a license that has not been renewed or placed on inactive status. An inactive license is a license that has been placed on inactive status by the licensee, usually at renewal time. Typically, you do not have to pay lapsed renewal fees if your license is placed on inactive status. If a license is non-renewed or inactive for five years or longer, it may be necessary to submit a restoration application and additional documentation; depending on the profession. You may not practice in Illinois when your license is non-renewed or inactive.
What does an "intent to deny" letter mean?closed arrow
After filling out an application or renewal form you may receive an "intent to deny" your application. Sometimes you may receive a "notice" to meet with the board. Either way, there are "issues" with your application that need to be discussed with the board. The majority of issues deal with previous criminal convictions and disciplinary actions from previous states. In these cases, it is wise to consult with legal counsel. Bear in mind that any "false" information or lack thereof on the application will make the underlying allegation that much harder to resolve.
How does an investigation start?closed arrow
The investigation process at IDFPR can be initiated in different ways. A licensee may have received a complaint to the Department, may have provided certain information on an application or renewal form, or another State or Federal agency may have put the Department on notice of its own adjudication. At this point, the Department will assign your case to an investigator who will open up a file and an IR report under your name and license number.
What should I do when an investigator contacts meclosed arrow
Do not act to quickly. Do not let the investigator control the situation. He or she may act as if they can make you act right away, but that is not the case. You may either hear from an investigator from the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation by telephone or in person. You might also receive a request for documentation related to the investigation. Despite not being prevented from practicing your trade at this point, it is wise to cooperate with the investigation in an effort to start off on the right foot with the IDFPR. This does not mean turn over any documents or speak to an investigator without advice of counsel, but refusing to return a phone call is not the best method to proceed. Bear in mind that every complaint that is processed by the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation must be investigated so try not take it personal.
Do I have to talk to the investigator?closed arrow
You do not have to talk to an investigator from the Department, and you certainly are entitled to an attorney if you decide to do so. Many licensees have reported that their failure to comply, however, has made things worse and there is merit to that philosophy. You are always entitled to speak with legal counsel and have one present throughout the entire investigation. Many licensees have the false impression that the investigators are part of the decision-making process, which they are not, but the more compliance with them the better. Having legal counsel at this stage is crucial and will in no way affect the way the Department perceives you.
Do I have to give the Investigator Documents?closed arrow
Often times an investigator will request documentation from you as part of the investigation. In this situation, you can refuse this request and suggest that they send you a subpoena which will now give you legal standing to object to their request. Many licensees suggest that if the documentation is not "damaging" to your case and in fact may "help" your cause, you may want to consider turning it over. Most licensees don't realize that during the investigative stage you can actually be doing a lot of mitigation by providing your own evidence to the board. This information would typically have not been given, unless it had been provided to your investigator. As far as patient medical records, you are required to get authorization by the way of release. This release is generally provided by the investigator for you.
What is the first step in the disciplinary process?closed arrow
Once your matter has been assigned to a staff attorney, from an investigator, you will be given notice as to what happens next by the staff attorney. Be careful because, often times, licensees move residences and offices and forget to notify the Department. This will result in a Default Suspension if you don't respond to the notice. The notice will either be a "disciplinary conference" notice to meet with your designated board related to your license, or an actual formal complaint. A formal complaint will include a preliminary hearing date to appear in front of an administrative law judge for an initial status date. A "disciplinary conference" notice sounds worse than it is because of the use of the word "disciplinary." It is still, however, an opportunity on the licensees' part to meet on an "informal" basis with a staff attorney and a board member. The focus will be on trying to resolve the matter without having IDFPR file a formal complaint. If a formal complaint is filed, there is still an opportunity on most occasions to meet "informally." Should this occur, an appearance must be made in front of an administrative law judge. The judge will answer the complaint and set your matter for a hearing if it cannot be resolved in the "informal stage."
What is an informal conference?closed arrow
This is a meeting between yourself, an attorney for the Department and a member of the Disciplinary Board. At this meeting, you will have an opportunity to explain your side of the story, and the goal is to try to convince the Department to drop your case. The Conference is not a hearing. There is no court reporter, and there is no witness testimony. The Conference is essentially a conversation between you and the Board Member about the complaint against you.

If you are given a notice of Disciplinary Conference, it is highly recommended that you appear at the scheduled date and time. Not only can you dispose of your matter without a formal complaint at this point, but you can prevent a formal complaint from being filed against your license. The notice will inform the allegations against you and provide you with a list of documents to bring, at the time. You will need to meet with a staff attorney and a member of the board designated for your license. Information, relevant to your case, must be provided and questions answered in an effort to have the matter closed. If the case cannot be closed, there are disciplinary settlement options such as a fine, reprimand, a probation, and a suspension. Most licensees will tell you that having legal counsel at this stage is imperative. If your case is closed, you will not have to deal with the Department unless you receive a "letter of concern." This letter is mailed to your address and not posted on the Department website. Any other forms of discipline are negotiated into a stipulation called a "consent order." The consent order is signed by Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, you, and your legal counsel. A consent order is reportable to the IDFPR website and any other national practitioner databases.
How do I prepare for an informal conference?closed arrow
The Answer to this question is to simply prepare yourself the same way you would prepare yourself for a formal hearing. The Department often times uses the "Informal" process to intimidate and encourage licensees to settle cases without having to put in the time and resources of having to prepare itself for a formal hearing. In doing so, it has every expectation that you provide it with a full an accurate defense to its allegations in the "Informal" stage. Furthermore, during the informal process there is always a member of your disciplinary board present at your conference who will be the same board member who will be advising the entire board if your matter results in a formal hearing. It is crucial to provide your attorney with any and all documentation sent to you by the Department and any and all relevant documentation relevant to it allegations. If your licensing attorney has not prepared you for an informal proceeding as if it was a "formal" hearing then you have most likely hired the wrong attorney.
Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Illinois Pharmacists Association American Pharmacists Association 10.0Joseph John Bogdan
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