The Complaint, Disciplinary and Compliance Processes
The Board reacts to complaints submitted regarding violations of law and regulations. Common complaints against licensees include false advertising, inappropriate behavior, unprofessional conduct, fraudulent/improper billing practices, and over-utilization of treatment.
Anonymous complaints, while reviewed, generally carry little credibility. Individuals seeking to file a complaint may download a complaint form from the FORMS section of this Web site, fill it out, and mail it to the Board Executive Director, Chief of Compliance. Complaint forms may also be obtained from the Board Office. You should call 410-764-4726 to ask questions and to make a formal complaint.
Each complaint is initially reviewed for jurisdiction, that is, to insure that the alleged violation is one under the cognizance of the Board. The Chief of Compliance will send a notification letter to the complainant that the complaint was received and is accepted or rejected. The letter will also explain the administrative processes involved.
If jurisdiction exists, an official case file is catalogued, opened, and assigned to a Board investigator for review and investigation. The investigator will interview all applicable witnesses including the complainant and the practitioner alleged to have committed the offense(s).
The Investigator will also gather documentary and real evidence and prepare a full written investigation report. The Investigator presents the report to the Board of Chiropractic Examiners at an executive/closed session. The Board will review the report and all evidence and will render a decision as to any disciplinary action. The disciplinary may be to dismiss charges, handle the charges informally (through administrative letters of education, admonition or cease & desist orders) or it may recommend that the subject practitioner’s certificate/registration be formally charged and administratively prosecuted.
The Board may elect to forward the case to the DHMH Office of the Attorney General, recommending administrative prosecution. In such cases, the licensed practitioner is formally advised of the charge and is given the opportunity to defend him/herself at a full, formal evidentiary administrative hearing. At such a hearing, the Board will sit as the truer-of-fact. In some cases, the matter may be forwarded to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge. In either forum, the case is prosecuted by an administrative prosecutor who is assigned by the office of the Attorney General. The massage practitioner is entitled to representation by an attorney or representative at his/her own expense.
Prior to the hearing, a case resolution conference (“CRC”) is generally convened at which time the party accused may make a voluntary plea in exchange for a pre-determined sanction. The agreement committing all parties to the terms of a CRC is called a “consent order”.
If the case moves forward to a formal hearing and the charge is found proved, the Board can award revocation or suspension of the certification or registration of the practitioner. In addition, fines, monetary penalties, probation, community service, and required medical or psychiatric treatment can be ordered. Additionally, the Board can require the practitioner to attend certain educational courses such as ethics, record-keeping, professional boundaries, etc. An official decision/order or consent order details the charges, findings and sanctions as well as the law upon which the sanction is based.
Any final decision or consent order is public information and is releasable to the general public. Such orders are routinely published in Board of Chiropractic Examiners newsletters and on the Disciplinary Actions section on this Web site.
Informal orders and decisions such as letters of admonishment cease & desist orders and letters of education are confidential and are not released to the general public.