The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) oversees audiologists as well as speech-language pathologists and hearing instrument fitters and dispensers. Complaints to the TDLR against audiologists cover a wide range. Some of the most common complaints involve:
- Delay of diagnosis
- Defective equipment (especially if the patient believes the audiologist knowingly sold the patient defective hearing aids)
- Inappropriate behavior (including sexual harassment or sexual assault)
Reckless or negligent behavior
Take your complaint seriously right from the start. Schedule a case evaluation with one of our experienced Texas medical license defense lawyers today.
Audiologist Complaint Process
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation governs Audiologists and therefore handles any complaints against a licensed audiologist. Anyone filing a complaint against an audiologist can do so online. There are two different reports that can be submitted, one for someone operating without a valid or active license, and another for all other allegations.
The processing division of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation receives complaints that customers or others file with the Enforcement Division. Intake reviews to ascertain first if TDLR has legal jurisdiction. Then, there will be a review to determine whether there is a credible allegation of a violation. Throughout this process, they may ask for additional information.
If the agency discovers that the situation is under the purview of TDLR a violation may have occurred, they will open an inquiry. An initial letter advising the complaintant that there is an ongoing investigation is sent. An initial letter will also addressed to the individual (the responder) who is the subject of the complaint if they have a license with the organization.
The agency will conduct telephone or in-person interviews with the complaintant, respondent, and other pertinent witnesses. They will also gather any evidence, including documents, relevant to the case. In some cases, an investigator go to the respondent’s place of business or the scene of the suppossed violation.
The investigator provides a prosecuting attorney with a thorough report of their findings following the conclusion of the investigation. The next stage is for the lawyer to decide what is the best course of action in the case.
Resolving a Complaint Against an Audiologist License
In every case, the prosecutor is responsible of choosing how the case will be resolved. The prosecution will legally end the case with a closing letter if the prosecutor decides they do not have enough evidence to move forward with the action. A warning letter instructing the respondent to comply with the law may also be sent by them.
A Notice of Alleged Violation (NOAV) requesting administrative fines and potential sanctions on the respondent’s license will occur if the prosecutor decides to move forward with official enforcement actions. Some penalties can include monetary fines that the respondent must pay the state. An action taken against the respondent’s license is known as a penalty, and it may take the form of a suspension, probation, written reprimand, or a complete license revocation.
A NOAV could include a settlement if an agreement is reached. When this occurs, the TDLR Executive Director issues an Agreed Order which could compel the respondent to pay an administrative penalty to the agency, make repairs or pay restitution to the consumer, enroll in extended classes, or give the agency the necessary paperwork. Up until the requirements of an order are satisfied, employees from the Enforcement Division keep track of the respondent’s efforts to comply with its terms.
Hearing Process and Review
The hearing is arranged before the State Office of Administrative Hearings if the respondent asks for it in writing within 20 days from when they receive the NOAV. The parties are notified of when the hearing will occur. A SOAH admin law judge hears the case and issues a Proposal for Decision to each party involved. The proposal is not the case’s ultimate ruling. After considering the proposal, the Commission of Licensing and Regulation makes the ultimate decision.
Motion for Rehearing
If the respondent feels that a decision has been made in error, the respondent may submit a motion to rehear the matter no later than the 25th day after the origial decision order is signed.
The error(s) in the original decision must be properly identified in the Motion for Rehearing. If the respondent files a Motion for Rehearing in a timely manner, the Commission has the right to approve, refuse, or take no action on it. The Motion is automatically denied if the Commission takes no action within 55 days from when the order was originally signed..
Defending an Audiologists License
The state board that issued your audiology license is also in charge of reviewing complaints and making decisions about disciplinary action against your license. If the evidence is insufficient, the board may opt to dismiss the complaint or agree to a lesser penalty that avoids removing your license at various points during the disciplinary process. A professional license defense attorney can considerably lower your chances of losing your license as a result of the complaint against you.
An attorney can give clear insights as to the nature of the complaint and the evidence against an audiologist’s license. This will allow for adequate preparation in defending a license and allegations. Additionally, a lawyer can act as an official legal representative in all matters before the state licensing board. This can include gathering evidence and witnesses to defend and/or disprove the complaint and all allegations.
Moreover, an experienced attorney will always work on behalf of their clients for the best possible outcome in a case. This includes a dismissal of the complaint, disallowing of certain evidence, or negotiating for lesser sanctions to help the respondent keep their license. Finally, an attorney can help get a license reinstated if it has already been suspended or revoked.
How We Can Help You
Often, such complaints come down to your word versus the patient’s complaint. You might think you don’t have to take the complaint against you seriously, especially if there’s no merit to their complaint.
But even if you know you didn’t do anything wrong, you need to take such complaints seriously. Otherwise, you could lose your audiology license in Texas. We know what’s at stake because we have successfully defended many medical professionals throughout the Lone Star State.
Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us today and make an appointment with one of our skilled legal professionals right now.