Michigan Public Health Code
MAHS is a forum for cases concerning the licensing of health care professionals in Michigan.
The Michigan Public Health Code (Public Health Code), 1978 PA 368, is the primary statute that provides for regulation of health care professionals in the state of Michigan.
The Public Health Code provides for administrative disciplinary proceedings regarding licensed or registered health care professionals, as well as for administrative proceedings regarding issues such as reinstatement of a suspended health care professional’s license. The administrative process that oversees health care professional licensing is designed to ensure protection of the public health, safety, or welfare.
How does a health care professional licensing matter come to MAHS?
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, through the Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL) can initiate an administrative complaint against a licensed healthcare professional when it believes that disciplinary action is required due to violations of the Public Health Code.
When the Bureau files an administrative complaint, alleging a violation or violations of the Public Health Code against a Licensee, the matter goes through a procedural process which can culminate in its being referred to MAHS for purposes of conducting an impartial administrative hearing. Often, an administrative complaint filed by the Bureau stems from a patient complaint or the outcome of other legal proceedings which involved the healthcare professional. Administrative hearings are conducted under the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969 (APA), 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 et seq., and the Michigan Administrative Hearing Rules.
After receipt of an administrative complaint involving a licensed healthcare professional, MAHS assigns the matter to an Administrative Law Judge and a hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, a representative of the Bureau and the Licensee are allowed to present testimony and evidence in support of their respective positions regarding the issues raised in the administrative complaint. Both the Licensee and the Bureau may choose to be represented by legal counsel.
If, in addition to filing an administrative complaint, the Bureau believes that emergency action against a licensed healthcare professional is required due to a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare, it can issue a summary suspension of the healthcare license pursuant to Section 92 of the Administrative Procedures Act and Section 16233(5) of the Public Health Code. If the licensee files a petition to dissolve the summary suspension, an immediate administrative hearing is scheduled to address the issue of the summary suspension and whether an imminent threat exists to the public health, safety and welfare.
In addition to disciplinary proceedings, a healthcare professional who has had his or her license suspended for a period greater than six months can file a petition for reinstatement of the suspended license. Pursuant to the Public Health Code, a reinstatement hearing would then be conducted by a MAHS Administrative Law Judge regarding the issue of whether the license should or should not be reinstated.
What types of healthcare professional licensing hearings are conducted by MAHS?
The Bureau, with state licensing boards, regulates 25 healthcare professions in Michigan under the Public Health Code. Healthcare professions governed by the Public Health Code, and subject to hearings conducted by MAHS include the following areas: Acupuncture, Athletic Trainers, Audiologists, Chiropractic, Counseling, Dentistry, Dietetics and Nutrition, Marriage & Family Therapy, Massage Therapy, Nursing, Nursing Home Administrators, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Osteopathic Medicine & Surgery, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician’s Assistant, Podiatric Medicine & Surgery, Psychology, Respiratory Care, Sanitarian, Social Worker, Speech-Language Pathology, and Veterinary Medicine.
What authority does MAHS have in the healthcare professional licensing process?
The healthcare professions under the Public Health Code are each governed by a Board or Taskforce. After the Administrative Law Judge conducts a hearing, a Proposal for Decision (PFD) is issued. MAHS Administrative Law Judges do not have final authority in healthcare professional licensing matters, but are charged to conduct formal hearings and issue the PFD which contains both Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
The PFD is sent to the Bureau and the Licensee. Each party may choose to file written Exceptions to the findings in the PFD. The certified record of the hearing, including the PFD and Exceptions is then forwarded to the Board of the subject health profession, or the Board’s disciplinary subcommittee. The Board, or its disciplinary subcommittee, reviews the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law within the Proposal for Decision, and then issues a Final Decision/Order to resolve the issues in the Administrative Complaint.
Summary Suspension Proceedings
If a hearing is held regarding a summarily suspended license of a healthcare professional, the MAHS Administrative Law Judge must issue an immediate Order after the hearing either dissolving the suspension or maintaining the suspension. The determining factor is whether there is sufficient basis to indicate that there is an imminent threat to the public health, safety, or welfare which requires the license to remain summarily suspended during the pending administrative proceeding. Regardless of the outcome regarding the summary suspension, the charges put forward in the related administrative complaint would still proceed to be addressed via a subsequent administrative hearing.
Petitions to Reinstate a Healthcare Professionals License
If a healthcare professional’s license was suspended for a period of greater than six months by the profession’s Board, a petition to reinstate the professional license can be filed after the suspension period. A request to reinstate a license would result in a hearing conducted by a MAHS Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing the healthcare professional must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that set criteria are met to allow for the reinstatement of the license, and that reinstatement is in the public interest.
As with the disciplinary hearings which stem from administrative complaints, MAHS Administrative Law Judges do not have final authority in license reinstatement proceedings, but are charged to conduct the formal hearing, and issue a PFD which contains both Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. In the PFD, the Administrative Law Judge can recommend reinstatement of the license, or recommend denial of the reinstatement request if all criteria for reinstatement have not been established by clear and convincing evidence.
The PFD on a reinstatement matter is sent to the Bureau and the Licensee. The PFD is also forwarded to the Board of the subject healthcare profession, or the Board’s disciplinary subcommittee. The Board or its disciplinary subcommittee then issues a Final Decision/Order reinstating the license or maintaining the suspension.
MAHS cannot provide legal advice, and an Administrative Law Judge cannot discuss a pending matter. However, for general questions regarding healthcare licensing matters within MAHS, inquiries can be made through the MAHS Lansing office at 517-335-2484.
Q. How can I determine the license status of healthcare professional in Michigan?
A. The following link provides access to a public database of Michigan healthcare professional licensees. https://w2.lara.state.mi.us/val/license/search
Q. What should I do if I have a legal question regarding my rights and responsibilities as a healthcare professional under the Public Health Code?
A. MAHS cannot provide legal advice. For general questions regarding licensing, an individual may wish to contact the Bureau of Professional Licensing.
Q. Who is in charge of the licensing process for EMS personnel?
A. EMS personnel in Michigan are licensed though the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Disciplinary proceedings regarding EMS personnel are also conducted through MAHS.