What Michigan Licensed Healthcare Professionals Need to Know About Reporting Their Criminal Convictions

A health care defense attorney reviewing their legal defense before a court hearing.

Failing to Report Convictions to LARA, Your Board, and Other Entities Can Make Collateral Consequences Even Worse

It’s bad enough for anyone to have a criminal record. For licensed healthcare providers in Michigan, not reporting a conviction to your medical licensing board — and other healthcare entities — can very well lead to the end of your healthcare career.

Why? Because if you don’t report, you could get hit with penalties, fines, and disciplinary action ranging from license probation to full license revocation. These are not simply blemishes on your record; they irreparably damage your healthcare career.

And it doesn’t matter whether the charge has nothing to do with your practice (such as a DUI/DWI or domestic violence conviction), or if it is directly related (such as healthcare fraud or drug diversion). Your licensing board, employer, insurance carrier, and other administrative entities have a discipline process for all criminal convictions, as well as collateral consequences.

That’s why your criminal law and/or healthcare license defense attorney(s) handling your case must know from the outset whether you are a healthcare provider. By disclosing this early in the process, your attorney can make sure all the bases will be covered as your case goes on. At the same time, you should be aware of which boards and entities need to know about your criminal conviction — and when.

As the adage goes, the coverup is worse than the crime. If you’re a healthcare provider who could be facing a criminal conviction, here’s what you need to know in order to stay out of the “worse” category.

If I Meet with a Criminal Law or Licensing Attorney About My Criminal Matter, What Should I Be Prepared to Disclose?

First, you must indicate from the outset that you are a licensed healthcare professional and must have answers to the following questions:

    • Which State(s) Are You licensed in? While you may only be licensed in Michigan, you also may hold a license from another state. For example, you could have had a residency from another state and simply kept that license, or you’re a traveling nurse/physician who holds multiple state licenses. Your attorney will need to know what those other states are because those jurisdictions will probably have different rules on how to report a conviction. For example, Arizona requires 10 days’ notice of certain arrests, and telling your attorney about your Arizona conviction five days into the process could put a severe strain on things.
    • Where Are You Currently Employed? This is important not just for physicians and nurses, but also residents in training. The employment agreement will specify what needs to be disclosed to a hospital, as the hospital is the employer. You should have a copy of the employment agreement readily available for your attorney to review. Now, your organization may have a fair approach to things when, say, an employee immediately reports on an OWI and keeps the hospital or medical practice informed. But, if you wait until a plea is entered to report the OWI to the hospital or medical practice, you could get fired or have your residency terminated.
    • Are You a Member of a Medical Staff? Physicians, dentists, podiatrists, and other medical professionals could be part of a medical staff, and that staff’s bylaws will dictate what needs to be disclosed (such as arrests and convictions) and when. You should provide a copy of the bylaws for your lawyer to review. And, using the above example, make sure your organization is in the know immediately about your arrest/conviction.
    • Are You Board Certified or Certified by Any Accreditation Organization? In order to be part of a medical staff, physicians need to be board certified in their specialty, and board certification organizations have their own notification requirements. You don’t want board certification revocation because you did not follow notification protocol.
    • Are you a Medicare, Medicaid, or Commercial Insurance Provider? These entities have their own notification requirements, and your attorney will need to know which ones you should notify or should have notified.

Things Your Healthcare Attorney Should Know If You Have Criminal Convictions

What Are the Conviction Reporting Requirements?

    • Reporting Conviction to LARA: The Public Health Code requires reporting any/all convictions, whether felony or misdemeanor, within 30 days of the plea (note: not within 30 days of the sentencing), unless it is not a conviction under the Public Health Code (769.4a, 7411) or the HYTA (Holmes Youth Training Act).
    • Reporting Conviction to Other State Licensing Boards: You will need to check the applicable requirements for that state. Some states require reporting, while others require updating your licensing profile online, and others may require only reporting the conviction at the time of renewal.
    • Reporting Conviction to Medicare: Medicare requires reporting any adverse legal actions within 30 days to CMS.
    • Reporting Conviction to Medicaid: Must notify the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) of any criminal conviction within 35 days via the online CHAMPS system.
    • Reporting Conviction to Employer/Hospital Medical Staff Office: Check your employment agreement and/or hospital bylaws for reporting requirements and timeframes.
    • Reporting Conviction to a Board Certification Organization or Credentialing Organization: Some professional liability insurance policies require notification of criminal convictions, so request to see a copy to find out what this is. Even if you are not physician, your certification organization still may have reporting requirements; the National Commission on Certification for Physician’s Assistants (NCCPA) is one example.
    • Reporting Conviction to a Professional Liability Carrier: Some professional liability insurance policies require notification of criminal convictions; request to see copy of the policy(-ies) for details.

What Are the Potential Collateral Consequences to My Michigan Medical License for a Conviction?

You need to be aware of the risks to your healthcare license if you have a criminal record.

First, there is a mandatory Summary Suspension for any felony conviction in the state of Michigan. Your attorney will make every attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea to a misdemeanor instead of a felony in the event that going to trial is not a viable option. However, should the prosecutor say no, a felony will lead to a licensing suspension as the matter progresses.

At times, a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor, but in other situations, the prosecutor will only make a plea deal to reduce a felony to multiple misdemeanors. While having multiple misdemeanors could be better for your criminal record, this could be equal to a felony in eyes of LARA or the MDHHS.

Other repercussions to your license include:

    • Controlled Substance Felony Conviction: This is a five-year license revocation per the public health code; after five years, you may apply to have your license reinstated.
    • 4a (First-Time Domestic Violence Charge) and 7411 (Drug Possession): If you are convicted of either, one advantage is that it’s not considered a conviction under the public health code. However, someone such as an employer, an aggrieved family member, a former spouse, or someone else seeking “justice” could report that matter to LARA, which would prompt a licensing complaint and make the matter public record. In other words, while the conviction would “go away” on the criminal side, the administrative side could keep it alive via public record.
    • National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) Reporting Concern: The NPDB is a nonpublic database, where hospitals, insurance carriers, governmental entities, and licensing boards have access. This contains convictions related to the delivery of healthcare-related items or services, and they must be reported by the prosecutor.
    • Attempted Offense: While an actual assault can be pleaded down to attempted assault on the criminal side, LARA and MDHHS may still treat this as an actual offense for purposes of sanctioning your license or terminating Medicaid privileges.
    • Medicare/Medicaid Provider Exclusions: Depending on the severity of the conviction, you as a health care provider may not be able to bill Medicare/Medicaid, which will limit your employability down the road. For Medicare, the minimum exclusion period could be one to 10 years (per 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7) and for Medicaid, that period may be five to 10 years (MCL 400.111b through MCL 400.111e). These exclusion periods can be lengthened depending on the severity of the underlying offense.
    • Unemployment from Covered Facilities: One of the reasons why your attorney needs to know where you work is because you don’t want a plea to be entered that would render you unemployable by that facility. Certain healthcare facilities have workforce background checks, and if you work in one of the following facilities and you’re convicted, the time period bars range from one to 15 years, depending upon the conviction (per MCL 333.20173a):
      • Long-Term Care Facilities
      • Hospices
      • Psychiatric Hospitals
      • County Medical Care Facilities
      • Medicare-Certified Home Health Agencies
      • Swing Bed Hospitals
    • Fines: These can range from $250 to $250,000.
    • Probation: This is normally a single-page, quarterly reporting form through LARA, with particular conditions for which the convicted health care provider must comply.
    • Limitation: This can actually be a severe penalty for a licensee who bills Michigan Medicaid and private insurers, as it can result in not just placement on the MDHHS’s Michigan Medicare Excluder Provider List, but insurance carriers can also will exclude you.
    • Suspension: Anything more than six months and one day requires reinstatement of the license; anything below that time frame will have automatic reinstatement.
    • Revocation: For the most part, this is a three-year suspension, though felony controlled substance convictions will result in a five-year suspension. A permanent revocation is rare, such as in the Larry Nassar case.

If I Report My Conviction to My Respective Board(s), Does This Mean I Will Avoid a Bad Outcome?

An adverse outcome is often the result when reporting a conviction to your board(s), such as the Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Dentistry, and Board of Pharmacy. However, reporting does assist with getting recredentialed by these entities, as your reporting shows that you are open and honest about the conviction and have good moral character.

Why Should I Contact the Michigan Criminal Law and Healthcare Licensing Defense Attorneys at Chapman Law Group?

Having an experienced healthcare licensing attorney from Chapman Law Group assist in the reporting of the conviction, and subsequent licensing matters, will benefit you. We will provide the most effective mitigation evidence and strategy to obtain the best result possible — even with very challenging facts related to the underlying criminal conduct.

Chapman Law Group stands apart from other Michigan healthcare defense law firms: our lawyers specialize in, and coordinate on, both the professional licensing and criminal defense matters for healthcare professionals. This allows us to fight the criminal charges instead of simply pleading, and to get healthcare licenses reinstated. In addition, we work on:

At Chapman Law Group, we represent physicians, nurses, pharmacists, pain management specialists, and all other licensed healthcare professionals with licensing and criminal matters across Michigan. Our office is in Metro Detroit, and we service licensed healthcare providers in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Dearborn, Troy, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Bay City, Kalamazoo, Troy, Flint, and all points throughout the state. 

Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.

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Aaron J. Kemp

Senior Attorney

Chairperson of Professional Licensing & Regulatory Affairs

Michigan Office
1441 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 310
Troy, MI 48098
Phone: (248) 644-6326

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