Professional License Lawyer in North Carolina

North Carolina Occupational Therapist License Defense Lawyer

North State Law helps North Carolina Occupational Therapists who are facing an investigation or disciplinary action stemming from a complaint filed with the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy.

North Carolina Professional Licensing Attorney Nick Dowgul and his team at North State Law Firm understand the challenges and potential consequences that complaints, investigations, and discipline can pose to the career of a Licensed North Carolina Occupational Therapist.

The North State Law Firm legal team is committed to defending and advocating for North Carolina Occupational Therapists who find themselves facing complaints or under investigation by the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy.

If you’re a North Carolina Occupational Therapist and are dealing with a situation that could negatively impact your professional record due to a complaint or investigation, reach out to North State Law Firm to learn more about your unique situation and learn steps you can take to protect your license and mitigate the potential damage.

The North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy

The North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy is made up of 7 members. All are appointed by the Governor and are residents of the state of North Carolina.

  • Three members of the board are Licensed Occupational Therapist

  • One member is a Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • One member is a physician who is licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board

  • One member represents the public at large who is not a health care provider or licensed by any entity or the spouse of any licensed health care provider

  • One member is a school-based professional who is employed by the public school system and is not an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant.

The powers and duties of this board include, but are not limited to:

  • Determining the fitness of applicants for licensure

  • Conducting investigations

  • Communicating disciplinary action

  • Conducting administrative hearings for contested cases

North Carolina Occupational Therapist Guiding Legal Documents

As with many occupations that require a professional license in the state of North Carolina, there are two sets of documents that guide the practice of Occupational Therapy in the state. One originates from the North Carolina General Assembly and the other from the North Carolina Administrative Code.

Below we have listed and linked each document:

North Carolina General Assembly:
North Carolina General Statute Chapter 90, Article 18D – North Carolina Occupational Therapy Act

North Carolina Administrative Code:
NCAC Title 21, Chapter 38 – Occupational Therapy

Why would I need the help of a lawyer for a complaint into my NC Occupational Therapist License?

First things first, when you are facing complaints and discipline from the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Board, you have the right to obtain counsel to defend your best interests in the matter.

“Your Best Interests” is very important here. By securing an attorney to help you with this matter, you’re placing someone on your team who not only has experience dealing with professional licensing entities in the state of North Carolina but is motivated and dedicated to looking out for your livelihood by protecting the license that allows you to earn income for you and your family.

Many professionals may think, “Well, I’m educated, and I’ve worked hard to get to this point in my career and I don’t think I did anything wrong, so I’ll just take care of this myself.”

While you may be very educated and the hardest worker out there, there is a very real possibility that you may submit unnecessary documents, say the wrong thing to an investigator or allow an investigator to hit you with a line of questioning that creates confusion and gives credence to digging further into the details.

Unfortunately, in some cases the damage may already be done and even if an attorney is secured later in the process, they may be handcuffed by those statements or documents. This may have potentially been avoided if an attorney had been brought in at the onset of the matter.

Speaking more on the procedural side of things, an attorney can make sure deadlines are met, you’re prepared for any possible hearings, build evidence to prove your side of the matter, and help negotiate to reach a resolution that mitigates any type of permanent damage to your career.

While the hiring of an attorney is always a decision that is optional, at the very least, we suggest if you’re facing a complaint, at least reach out and speak with an attorney who has experience handling professional licensing matters in North Carolina to better understand what you may be facing.

What actions are grounds for an Occupational Therapy License denial or discipline from the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Board?

North Carolina Administrative Code, Title 21 Chapter 38.0304 covers many actions that may be grounds for not being able to obtain a license or to face discipline from the Board.

This list includes many items that fall under the umbrella of moral turpitude, including abandonment of patients, practicing under the influence of alcohol or drugs, committing crimes which relate to the Occupational Therapy profession, and improper relationships/advances with patients.

The list also includes neglecting proper oversight, such as allowing an unlicensed individual to practice under the control of a licensee, delegating professional responsibilities to a person who doesn’t have the proper training, and lack of supervision of individuals who require someone who is licensed to supervise their work.

Additionally, NC GS 90-270.76 covers actions that may cause a license to be denied, suspended, or revoked. While not as detailed and exhaustive as those listed in the NCAC document, they cover generally the same patterns of being unethical or neglecting professional responsibilities.

What is the process when the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Board receives a complaint?

Complaints against licensees can be filed either by mail or online.

Once the Board receives this complaint, they begin their investigation into the matter. If the investigation doesn’t find any violations, the matter may be dismissed by the board.

If the Board does find violations through their investigation, they may attempt to settle the matter by way of a consent agreement. This is a document where the licensee and Board come to an agreement as to the discipline (if any) that will be rendered. It will have to be signed by the licensee.

If the Board and licensee cannot come to an agreement, the matter may move to a hearing. This is referred to as a Contested Case.

If I receive notice of complaint from the Board and an investigator reaches out to me, am I required to speak with them?

It’s not mandatory.

Within the two documents that guide Occupational Therapy which we have referenced on this page, there is no language that requires you to speak with an investigator or comply with an investigation into the complaint.

While it is an optional step, if you decline, it’s best practice to do so politely.

If an investigator is reaching out to you after a complaint into your license, it may be time to speak with an attorney about the situation to better help you understand what and why they are requesting certain items and the best course of action to take moving forward.

How will I be notified for the hearing of a contested case?

The board will send what is called a Notice of Hearing. The Notice of Hearing will be sent not less than 15 days before the hearing. Information in this notice will include:

  • Board Contact Information for further discussion.
  • Date, Time, and Place of Preconference Hearing
  • Any additional information deemed relevant as to the procedure of the hearing.

If my case makes its way to hearing, who will be hearing the details of the case?

The full North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy, a panel of the majority of the members of the Board, or an Administrative Law Judge will hear the contested case. 

Since the full board consists of seven members, a panel would need to be made up of at least four Board members.

After the hearing, when will a final decision be reached by the Board?

The Board will issue its decision within 60 days after its next regularly scheduled meeting. This decision is considered the “final agency decision” and is a prerequisite for seeking judicial review.

As a Licensed North Carolina Occupational Therapist, am I required to report to the board if I am arrested or facing a civil suit?

It depends on what you were arrested for or why the civil lawsuit is being filed.

If your criminal charge results in a conviction, plea of guilty, or no contest to a felony charge, you must report this to the board within 30 days.

In addition, any crime that involves moral turpitude (such as fraud) must also be reported to the board within 30 days.

Concerning civil lawsuits, if the lawsuit is related to the practice of Occupational Therapy, the licensee must report it to the board within 30 days.

Contact North State Law Today

 If you have received a complaint, are facing investigation, or disciplinary action from the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy, contact Nick Dowgul of North State Law to discuss your situation.

North Carolina Occupational Therapy License Videos from North State Law

NC Board of Occupational Therapy Investigation Compliance

Why You Should Get An Attorney Involved Sooner Than Later

Will a Complaint Filed Against My Professional License Open Me Up to Civil or Monetary Damages?

How Long Will the Process for the Professional License Complaint Take to Completion?

North Carolina Occupational Therapy License Information from the North State Law Blog:

Additional NC Occupational Therapy License Resources:

North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy Board Information

North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy
Website

Physical Address:
4140 ParkLake Ave,
Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27612

Phone:
919-832-1380