Understanding Agreed Orders and How They Work

As a licensed professional in Texas, your licensing board can assess various sanctions against you if you have violated the rules or laws governing your profession. When facing disciplinary proceedings, you need to be aware of and understand the potential range of consequences that you may face, including agreed orders. By obtaining legal counsel to represent your interests, you will put yourself in a better position to oppose the disciplinary complaint that has been filed against you and the potentially severe sanctions you may face.

When you are facing a professional disciplinary complaint, Texas licensing boards or agencies typically allow you to resolve your complaint informally by agreement rather than proceeding to a contested hearing and formal sanctions. In many cases, this informal resolution by agreement takes the form of an Agreed Order. Most disciplinary complaints are resolved in this matter. A comparatively small number of complaints cannot be resolved by agreement and must proceed to a contested hearing, usually in cases that involve allegations of severe misconduct. 

Defining the Agreed Order

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is an example of a licensing board that frequently uses Agreed Orders. When the TMB notifies you of a disciplinary complaint, you can respond to the allegations against your medical license. Once the agency has received your response, it may provide you with an Agreed Order, which is an agreement that imposes some degree of disciplinary action based on the severity of the alleged violation(s) of the rules and laws that govern your profession. For instance, an Agreed Order could contain one or more of the following provisions, as well as others:

  • Restrictions from performing certain procedures or practices.
  • Completion of additional training or continuing medical education courses.
  • Imposition of a medical practice monitor or chart monitor.
  • Periodic compliance appearances before the TMB.
  • Participation in rehabilitation or behavioral health programs.
  • Mandatory drug testing and/or abstention from drugs and alcohol.
  • Referral to the Texas Physician Health Program.
  • Payment of an administrative penalty.
  • Issuance of a public reprimand.
  • Probated license suspension or revocation.
  • License suspension or revocation.

If you accept the terms of an Agreed Order, licensing board staff must present it to the entire TMB for approval. If approved, the Order becomes final, subjecting you to its provisions. However, the TMB also has the option of approving the Agreed Order with some modifications or rejecting the Agreed Order altogether. If the TMB rejects the Agreed Order, you must likely proceed to a contested hearing to resolve your disciplinary complaint. 

Impact of an Agreed Order

An Agreed Order is a disciplinary action that becomes a permanent part of your professional disciplinary file. The TMB also reports it on its website, so the public can freely view it and have knowledge that you have been subject to discipline. Furthermore, if you fail to abide by the provisions of the Agreed Order, you can be subject to noncompliance proceedings by the TMB. As a result, you could face further and more severe disciplinary action because of failing to follow the Agreed Order. As a result, the repercussions of failing to comply with an Agreed Order can be significant. 

Choosing Whether to Sign an Agreed Order 

Every situation is different, and the provisions in an Agreed Order can vary widely. An Agreed Order is a permanent part of your professional license record, so your decision to sign an Agreed Order is not one to take lightly. Licensing agencies often default to an Agreed Order, which takes the fewest resources to resolve a disciplinary complaint. However, that doesn’t always mean it is your best option. While having a disciplinary complaint and investigation hanging over your head is stressful, you should not necessarily sign an Agreed Order to get it over with quickly. An Agreed Order can limit your future employment prospects, so you must ensure that it is the best way to resolve your complaint before signing it. 

Therefore, if you are under investigation by your licensing board or otherwise facing a disciplinary complaint, you should seek legal counsel before deciding whether to sign an Agreed Order. A professional license defense attorney can evaluate your situation and help you determine whether signing an Agreed Order is in your best interest based on your circumstances. 

Bertolino LLP: A Law Firm Who Will Defend Your Interests Before Your Professional Licensing Board 

When a complaint threatens your professional license, you should retain a seasoned Texas licensing board defense attorney to represent your interests. The sooner you contact us about your disciplinary case, the sooner we can start working on your case. Contact the lawyers of Bertolino LLP today by calling (512) 515-9518 or visiting us online.

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