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Licensed and Regulated Professions in TN

Cole Law administrative attorneys are experienced in representing clients before various Tennessee licensing boards. This is often a stressful situation for those who practice in the legal and medical professions, or for those who are employed in specific commercial industries, as they attempt to navigate a process that can have a huge impact both careerwise and financially on their lives. Working on these cases has inspired us to help others who have found themselves ensnared in professional disciplinary cases in Tennessee.

Most potential clients have never been subject to discipline before their current situation, and thus do not know what to expect. Understanding the process and what is likely to occur during each stage makes people less afraid of an uncertain outcome.

What Professions Are Regulated by Professional Boards in Tennessee?

Numerous professionals are able to practice in Tennessee only after having been issued a license by a professional board or regulatory agency. Health professional boards license and regulate doctors, dentists, nurses, masseuses, occupational therapists, professional counselors, social workers, midwives, veterinarians, and many others. A complete list of the thirty-nine specific health care professionals that must submit information to the Department regarding details of their training, specialty certification and practice can be found on the Tennessee Department of Health website.

Tennesseans employed in specific commercial industries are also licensed and regulated, including auctioneers, accountants, court reporters, home inspectors, insurance agents, private investigation, real estate agents, appraisers, TennCare oversight, etc. The TN Department of Commerce and Insurance provides a list of commercial industries that are regulated and the Regulatory Boards and Divisions that oversee them.

Lawyers in Tennessee are subject to the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. The status, renewal and registration rules can be found on the BPR website.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Health Professional Boards in TN?

According to their official website, the Health Professional Boards in Tennessee are described as follows: “The mission of each [health professional] board is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring those who practice health care professions within this state to be qualified. The boards interpret the laws, rules and regulations to determine the appropriate standards of practice in an effort to ensure the highest degree of professional conduct. The boards are also responsible for the investigation of alleged violations of the Practice Act and rules and are responsible for the discipline of licensees who are found guilty of such violations. Board members, with few exceptions, are appointed by the Governor.” [1]

What Is the Function of the Regulatory Boards Under the TN Dept. of Commerce and Insurance?

The Regulatory Boards under the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance describe their function as: “The division of Regulatory Boards regulates several hundred thousand Tennesseans in their professions and businesses. These boards, commissions and programs are empowered to take disciplinary action–including revocation of licenses and assessment of civil penalties–against license holders found guilty of violating laws governing their professions, and have a separate investigations unit.” [2]

Tennessee Administrative Procedures Act

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-321 titled “Administrative Procedures Division Manual of Policies and Procedures Code of Conduct” created the Tennessee administrative procedures division. This state law created a “pool of administrative judges and hearing officers” and states that “The secretary of state shall adopt by rule, promulgated in accordance with the rule making requirements of this chapter, a manual of policies and procedures, including a code of conduct, to be followed by all administrative judges and hearing officers.” [3]

What Happens If a Complaint Is Filed Against Me or My Business?

Complaints filed against licensed professionals or regulated industries will then trigger a professional administrative disciplinary procedure.

Disciplinary cases will normally go through an investigation period followed by an adjudication phase. The adjudication phase includes a settlement offer. If a settlement is not mutually accepted, then a contested case hearing and appeals will follow.

1 – https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards.html

2 – https://www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards.html

3 – https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/rules/1360/1360-04/1360-04-01.pdf

The TN Professional Disciplinary Process

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