Your career as a Florida health care provider is dependent on being licensed to practice. Losing your license means being unable to serve the patients you swore to protect. But if your medical, nursing, dentist’s, chiropractor’s, pharmacy, or other healthcare license is suspended, that doesn’t mean you can’t get it reinstated.
There are a variety of reasons why your medical, nursing, dentist’s, chiropractor’s, pharmacist’s, or other healthcare license may have been revoked or suspended. But suspension and revocation mean two different things.
In the state of Florida, licensure suspension is a temporary penalty, while licensure revocation is permanent. For this reason, licensure revocation, while not uncommon, is generally reserved for violations that the law considers bars to licensure or that the boards (i.e., Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Pharmacy) find irredeemable.
For instance, physicians may face licensure revocation if they have been excluded from participation in federal or state programs such as Medicare or Medicaid; these are considered bars to licensure under Florida statutes. As another example, a nurse may face revocation if she received a criminal conviction for public assistance fraud, as this is also considered a bar to licensure under Florida statutes.
Alternatively, certain violations that would otherwise not be considered a bar to licensure can be so severe to warrant revocation; this includes sexual misconduct.
On the other hand, suspension is not a permanent penalty as it’s usually limited by scope. The boards will impose a period of suspension, most often followed by a period of probation.
Yet, suspension is also considered a relatively severe penalty, most often seen in cases where the conduct of the licensee was gross negligence, or intentional or knowing. For example, a licensee may be suspended if they have committed medical malpractice that resulted in physical harm to a patient.
Suspension may also be conditional and are not limited in time. For instance, the board may suspend the licensee’s license on the condition that until they are found safe to practice by an impaired practitioner program (the two programs in Florida are the Intervention Project for Nurses, or IPN, and the Professionals Resource Network, or PRN). In these cases, the license will be suspended until the licensee is evaluated and cleared to be safe to practice.
With an attorney on your side, you can pursue reinstatement for a suspended license. Here’s what you need to know about the procedure and what you can expect.