Complaint Process Overview
Protocol For Complaint Processing
Complaints and Reports
Information regarding occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who may be in violation of Minnesota Statutes governing Occupational Therapy Practice (Minnesota Statue §148.6449), comes to the attention of the Board through written complaints/reports. Complaints/reports may be filed by anyone. Complaints and reports are not public information and may not be discussed with anyone except the respondent (subject of the investigation) and the complainant or reporter. The Board is mandated to investigate all jurisdictional complaints against individuals it regulates. In other words, if the complaint alleges a violation of Minnesota Statutes governing the practice of Occupational Therapy, the complaint will be investigated. An example of a non-jurisdictional complaint is one which alleges an excessive fee for services performed. The Board does not have the authority to determine how much an occupational therapy practitioner charges for services. Health care professionals and facilities are required by law to report conduct which may be grounds for disciplinary action under Minnesota Statutes governing Occupational Therapy Practice.
File Set Up and Assignment
When a jurisdictional complaint is received, a file is assigned to an analyst who will have responsibility for that file until no further action is required.
Beginning the Investigation:
For most complaints, the analyst will obtain a response from the respondent and all pertinent records or documents. Complaints alleging sexual misconduct must, by law, be investigated by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. The completed investigation will be returned to the Board for appropriate follow up.
Complaint Resolution Committee Meetings
The Complaint Resolution Committee (CRC) is comprised of three Board members who have agreed to serve on the Committee. The CRC is composed of two occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant members and one public Board member. The CRC meets as needed to triage, review and discuss cases, and to meet with respondents.
Outcomes of Discussions and Appearances
The following decisions may be made by the Complaint Resolution Committee:
Dismissal: The Committee may choose to dismiss the complaint and so inform the respondent. A dismissal requires the agreement of at least two Committee members.
Continue The Case: Continue the review pending further investigation or some other specified action.
Corrective Action: The Committee may recommend that the respondent enter into an Agreement for Corrective Action. This Agreement is a contract between the Committee and the respondent in which the respondent agrees to take certain remedial action, usually educational, to correct problems identified in the Complaint Resolution process. A Corrective Action Agreement, is not disciplinary action, but it is a public document. The Agreement is ratified by the Committee Chair and does not require action by the full Board.
Disciplinary Action: The Committee may recommend that the respondent's license be conditioned or restricted. Should the Committee determine that the respondent's license be restricted or suspended, or if it feels a written reprimand is warranted, it will generally first offer to impose the disciplinary action by Stipulation and Order (described below).
Suspension: The Committee may recommend that the respondent's license be immediately suspended. If the Board approves the summary suspension, based on a finding that the respondent has violated the Minnesota Statutes governing Occupational Therapy Practice, and the respondent's continued practice creates a serious risk of harm to the public, the respondent is entitled to a hearing within 30 days of the issuance of the suspension order.
The Stipulation and Order
The Stipulation is an agreement between the respondent and the Complaint Resolution Committee in which the respondent agrees that certain restrictions should be imposed on their occupational therapy license as a result of the Committee having identified areas in which the respondent violated Minnesota Statutes governing Occupational Therapy Practice. The Order is reviewed by the full Board. If approved, the order implements the terms of the Stipulation. The Stipulation and Order are incorporated into one written instrument. If the full Board rejects the proposal, it may return to the Committee for further work or may proceed to a Contested Case Hearing.
When the Committee finds the respondent is in violation of the Minnesota Statutes governing Occupational Therapy Practice, it will ask the respondent to voluntarily enter into a Stipulation and Order to place restrictions on their occupational therapy license.
Should the respondent refuse to agree to the restrictions offered by the Committee, the matter may proceed to a contested case hearing initiated under the Administrative Procedures Act. The Administrative Hearing is held before an Administrative Law Judge and involves the presentation of testimony and submission of exhibits in a manner similar to a civil trial. If the Committee is successful at the Contested Case Hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will indicate that the Board's position is correct and make a recommendation which will be limited to discipline or no discipline. After reviewing the Administrative Law Judge report, the Board may issue a Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order, which describes the disciplinary action taken against the respondent.
Should the Respondent agree to the restrictions offered by the committee, the Respondent and the full Board will sign the Stipulation and Order. The Respondent will then follow the terms of the agreement. The Stipulation and Order becomes a public document and is posted to the Boards web page and is reported to the National practitioner Data Bank.