Chiropractors who receive complaints with the North Carolina Chiropractic Board of Examiners will receive notification of the complaint either in writing or directly from the Board’s investigator. As soon as they receive the notification, they should take time and decide whether to defend their interests on their own or hire a Charlotte professional license defense attorney.
Of course, those who choose self-defense can change their mind and hire an attorney later along the way. However, the sooner they do it, the more a license defense attorney can do for them. This becomes clear when looking at how the North Carolina Chiropractic Board of Examiners Works, and what their procedure for reviewing complaints is.
Complaint Procedure, or the Bureaucracy behind the Charlotte Professional License Defense Process
The role of the NC Chiropractic Board of Examiners, as the General Assembly established it, is to regulate chiropractic practice. To do so, it relies on eight members. Their appointment is the responsibility of the Governor and the General Assembly. However, six of the members have to have at least eight consecutive years of active practice. Unless otherwise warranted, the Board meets every trimester.
Complaint Assessment for Charlotte Professional License Defense
When the Board receives a complaint, its secretary reviews it to determine the gravity of the alleged violation. In case of minor alleged violations, the secretary will attempt to handle the complaint informally by communicating with the chiropractor and complainant.
In case of major alleged violations, the secretary usually assists the complainant to file a formal complaint. Formal complaints require the use of a dedicated form. The authors have to be under oath and formulate the complaints in writing.
They should specify the standard, rule, or statute the chiropractor allegedly violated, and briefly describe the facts representing the alleged violation, including names, dates, and any other details that could help a potential investigation.
Complaint Review for Charlotte Professional License Defense
The authority reviewing formal complaints is the Chiropractic Review Committee. It consists of the Board’s attorney, the secretary, and a licensed chiropractor. The secretary has the responsibility to choose the chiropractor from professionals who applied for board membership unsuccessfully.
The purpose of the Committee is to assess the existence of probable cause to believe the alleged violation of standards, rules, or statute occurred. To do so, they schedule a hearing and notify the chiropractor to attend.
The notification has to precede the hearing by at least fifteen days. The chiropractor has the right to enlist the help of an experienced North Carolina professional license defense attorney to prepare for the hearing and assist them during it.
The Probable Cause Hearing for Charlotte Professional License Defense
This hearing is an informal one, allowing the Board’s secretary to establish the necessary procedures for examining the evidence. The Review Committee may accept evidence inadmissible in a contested case hearing, and seasoned license defense attorneys usually exploit this opportunity to prove their clients’ innocence. Depending on the circumstances, the following outcomes are possible:
(1) If the evidence is inconclusive and the chiropractor’s defense is solid, the Committee may dismiss the charge due to lack of probable cause to believe the alleged violation occurred.
(2) If the evidence is consistent and the licensee admits the charge, the Committee will order the cessation of any acts in violation of G.S. 90-154, such as:
- Misleading or false advertising of services
- Convictions of moral turpitude crimes or felonies
- Drugs or alcohol addiction that may impair one’s safe practice ability
- Unethical conduct as per G.S. 90-154.2
- Negligence, malpractice, or incompetence in practicing chiropractic medicine
- Failure to render acceptable care while practicing the profession as per G.S. 90-154.3
- Immoral or rude conduct towards patients
- Attempts or acts of fraud, misrepresentation, or deception
- Offers to waive patients’ deductible or copayment obligations as per the patient insurer’s requirements
- Failure to provide upon request copies of claim forms filed with the patients’ insurance company
- Offering or granting rebates to patients portions of funds received from the insurer, when the respective rebates are not legally due refunds for previous overpayments
- Advertising free or discounted services without specifying the standard fees for the respective services
- Charging insurers or third-party payers more than one would charge a patient paying directly
- Charging insurers or third-party payers more than the fee advertised for the services provided
- Violating the stipulations of G.S. 90-154.1
- Mental, emotional, or physical infirmity so severe that it could impact one’s safe practice ability
- Violating the stipulations of G.S. 90-151 on license limitation and extent
- Untruthful and incomplete responses to the Board’s inquiries on license-related matters and information concealment
- Failure to comply with final Board decisions
- Acts committed from October 1, 2007, onward, demonstrating lack of good moral character, and which may have constituted a basis for license denial as per G.S. 90-143(b)(1) if they had been committed before the license application.
(3) If the Committee determines the existence of probable cause, the hearing may convince them to deny the charge or admit it and deem it serious enough to impose punitive sanctions appropriate. In the latter situation, the Committee will present the complaint to the Board for a decision according to the contested cases statutes.
Formal Contested Case Hearing and Possible Outcome
The disciplinary measures the Board finds appropriate make the object of contested cases, and entitle the licensee to a formal hearing. Few chiropractors dare to appear alone in front of the Board, most of them using the services of a Charlotte license defense attorney. The majority of the Board conducts the hearing, with the Board president acting as a presiding officer.
If the Board finds the chiropractor guilty of any of the offenses described above, it can:
- Permanently revoke the chiropractor’s license
- Suspend the license
- Reject the chiropractor’s license application
- Censure the licensee
- Issue a reprimand letter
- Order probationary status for the chiropractor.
The Importance of Working with a Charlotte Professional License Defense Attorney
As mentioned above, the best time for hiring a Charlotte professional license defense attorney is the moment the chiropractor finds out the Board has received a complaint against them. This will give them time to discuss the case with a license defense attorney and prepare for the informal hearing.
Lawyers can sometimes succeed in convincing the Board to dismiss charges. If they do not, they have another chance at the formal hearing. No matter how serious the chiropractor’s alleged violations are, an experienced attorney has higher chances of convincing the Board of the chiropractor’s innocence than the chiropractor alone, as they are often more objective, organized, emotionally unattached and able to focus on facts and use precedents in their favor.
Did someone file a complaint against you with the North Carolina Chiropractic Board of examiners? Don’t let that complaint become a threat to your license and career! Contact Remington & Dixon now, and have the best Charlotte professional license defense attorney review your case!
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.