complaints are investigated internally by Board staff. However, depending
on the scope of an investigation, the licensing board may refer the
complaint to the Office of Investigations and the complaint is assigned
to an investigator.
The Investigative Process
When a complaint is assigned to an investigator, the investigator acts as an impartial, fact-finding third party and does not "represent" the complainant, the board, or the licensee. The Office of Investigations receives 950 - 1600 cases a year. Cases take from less than a month to more than a year to complete depending on complexity, witness cooperation and caseload. The average time to complete a case is 6 to 8 months.
Generally a copy of the complaint is sent to the licensee for his/her response. After the licensee has had a reasonable length of time to respond, the investigator begins the actual investigation. The investigator often obtains copies of pertinent document or records (including medical records), interviews witnesses and/or has the case reviewed by a specialty expert.
The investigator then prepares a written report that is reviewed by the licensing board. If the board determines there is probable cause to believe there has been a violation of licensing law, a hearing may be held or the licensee may agree to a settlement. If the alleged misconduct is proven, a hearing or settlement may result in the suspension or revocation of the license of the person against whom the complaint was filed or the imposition of the other sanctions.
The staff of the Office of Investigations can answer general questions about the investigative process or specific questions about the status of a case (except where prohibited by law).