What Happens if I Fail to Follow an Agreed Order

If you are a licensed professional in Texas, you are subject to various laws and rules that govern your profession. Your licensing board or agency can also assess different sanctions against you through disciplinary proceedings if they find that you have violated those laws or rules, including agreed board orders. 

When facing disciplinary proceedings, you should understand the potential range of consequences that you may face for agreed board orders and other types of sanctions. By obtaining a Texas licensing board defense lawyer 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.

Understanding Agreed Orders

Agreed orders are one way to resolve complaints against your professional licenses without proceeding to a contested hearing. Most Texas licensing boards and agencies allow you to resolve a complaint through these agreements, which contain specific conditions you must meet, rather than proceeding to a contested hearing and receiving a formal sanction.

The requirements of an Agreed Order vary according to the severity of your violations of the rules or laws governing your profession. The duration of an Agreed Order also will depend on the severity of the complaint against you. Possible provisions that an Agreed Order may contain can include:

  • Restrictions on your practice;
  • Completion of additional training or educational courses;
  • Assignment of a practice or records monitor;
  • Periodic mandatory appearances before your licensing board;
  • Completion of rehabilitation or behavioral health programs;
  • Mandatory periodic drug and alcohol testing;
  • Abstention from drugs and alcohol;
  • Payment of administrative penalties or fines;
  • Issuance of a public reprimand; and
  • Probated or actual suspension or revocation of a license;

Once you sign an Agreed Order, your licensing board typically must vote and approve it for it to become final. If it becomes final, the Agreed Order goes into effect, and you become subject to its provisions. Your agency then will monitor your compliance with the provisions of the Agreed Board Order.

Non-compliance with Agreed Orders

Failure to follow any provisions of an Agreed Order can result in your licensing board or agency initiating non-compliance proceedings against you. These proceedings can lead to additional and more severe disciplinary proceedings.

As a result, you need to ensure you are clear on all your responsibilities and obligations before you sign your Agreed Order. You should understand that you must complete all conditions outlined in your Agreed Order and assess whether you will complete them.

Compliance and the Texas Medical Board

The Texas Medical Board (TMB), which regulates physicians and other medical professionals, has various laws related to monitoring the compliance of the orders that its issues in disciplinary proceedings, including Agreed Orders. In the rules relating to its Compliance Program, the TMB refers to all licensees subject to TMB orders as “probationers.”

Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 189.8, TMB staff can find that a probationer has failed to comply with the terms of an order after a periodic compliance hearing by the probationer, or the executive director of the TMB can make that finding. Under Texas law, non-compliance with a TMB order constitutes unprofessional or dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or injure the public, violating the Texas Medical Practice Act. Non-compliance can take any of the following forms:

  • Failure to comply with a term or condition in an order or remedial plan;
  • Failure to cooperate with agency representatives;
  • Failure to promptly respond to communications by agency representatives;
  • Failure to comply with deadlines outlined in an order or remedial plan or as established by agency representatives for enforcement of an order or remedial plan;
  • Failure to timely submit documents required as a term or condition of an order or remedial plan;
  • Failure to release documents as requested by agency representatives;
  • Failure and/or refusal to meet with and discuss compliance matters with agency representatives during any compliance visit;
  • Interference by probationer or agents of probationer that compromises and/or prevents agency representatives from fulfilling duties and responsibilities as set by an order, remedial plan, rule, or statute during a compliance visit; and
  • Any expression by word or deed, either directly or indirectly, to agency representatives that a reasonable person would find as harassing, insulting, disrespectful, or rude.

When the TMB finds non-compliance, it will invite the probationer to attend a show cause compliance proceeding under 22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 187.44. These proceedings follow the same procedures as Informal Settlement Conferences before the TMB. The probationer will receive notice of the hearing at least ten days before the hearing, and the probationer must submit any information to the TMB at least five days before the hearing. During the proceedings, the TMB representatives will consider all facts relevant to the probationer’s alleged non-compliance, including all documents furnished by the TMB to the probationer and vice versa. Based on that evidence, the TMB may recommend that the Agreed Order be modified or extended. 

However, in some cases, the probationer wishes to resolve the matter quickly. In that case, the probationer may accept a settlement offer from the TMB instead of attending the show cause compliance hearing. 

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Bertolino LLP: A Law Firm Who Stands Ready to Defend You 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. As soon as you contact us about your disciplinary case, we can begin representing you. Contact the lawyers of Bertolino LLP today by calling (512) 515-9518 or visiting us online

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