To standardize the language used by the various boards of registration throughout the Division's disciplinary processes the following terms and definitions are to be used. To recommend amendments to the glossary please contact the Deputy Director for Enforcement.
I. Terms Describing Case Status
A. Open- a complaint received by the Division which has been docketed and which has not been finally resolved by a regulatory board within the Division of Registration by dismissal, consent agreement or final decision following a hearing.
Open cases may consist of the following:
1. Pending Investigation (PI): case presently undergoing investigation.
2. Pending Health Care investigation (HC) - Pending investigation by the Health Care Fraud Unit.
3. Pending Board (PB): case investigated and awaiting board review or action.
4. Pending Legal (PL): case referred to and awaiting action by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) or a board administrative counsel.
5. Pending Prosecution (PP) case referred to and awaiting action by the Office of Prosecutions.
6. Pending Hearing (PH): case investigated and reviewed by board and awaiting an adjudicatory hearing.
7. Pending Decision (PD) case awaiting action by a Hearings Counsel on behalf a board following an adjudicatory hearing.
8. Investigator follow-up (PF) case returned to investigator for additional investigation
B. Closed- a complaint which has been finally resolved by a board within the Division of Registration with or without disciplinary action by dismissal, by consent agreement or by a decision following a formal adjudicatory hearing.
II. Terms Describing the Disciplinary Processes
The following processes are used by boards and staff to resolve pending cases:
A. Investigation - a formal method of gathering facts.
B. File Screening or File Review - an initial analysis of the facts gathered in an investigation, generally conducted by board staff or complaint committees.
C. Investigatory Conference - an investigatory tool used to gather facts about a complaint involving interviewing complainants, licensees and/or witnesses.
D. Consent Agreement - a negotiated settlement used to resolve a pending case.
E. Formal Hearing - an adjudicatory proceeding conducted pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 30A.
III. Terms Describing Board Decisions
Decisions are the final actions taken by boards that resolve complaints. Board decisions result in either disciplinary or non-disciplinary dispositions.
A. Disciplinary Dispositions
1. Revocation - Revocation is the most serious form of disciplinary action. It permanently deprives a licensee of all rights and privileges of a previously-issued license and eliminates his/her status as a licensee.
Note: Indicated as "R" status on Licensing Data Base and "LR" on the Complaint Data Base.
2. Voluntary Surrender - The surrender of a license by execution of a written agreement with a board in lieu of an adjudicatory procedure. This may also include the resignation of license as provided by board regulation. Under this procedure a licensee has surrendered all rights and privileges of a previously-issued license as well as his/her license status.
Note: Indicated by a "V" status on Licensing Data Base and "VS" on the Complaint Data Base.
3. Suspension - A Suspension deprives the licensee of all rights and privileges of licensure for a specified period of time or until certain conditions are met which have been agreed to pursuant to a consent agreement or by a formal board decision following an adjudicatory hearing.
Note: Indicated by an "S" status on Licensing Data Base and "LS" on the Complaint Data Base.
4. Stayed Suspension - A Stayed Suspension is a sanction which is applied when the nature of the violation is serious enough that a suspension is warranted but where the board has found that there are mitigating factors that support allowing a licensee to continue to practice. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement of the parties or order of the board following a hearing, a Stayed Suspension can revert to a Suspension if certain conditions are not met or if a violation of certain terms of the decision or consent agreement occur. A Stayed Suspension is monitored in the same manner as Probation.
Note: Indicated by a "P" status on the Licensing Data Base and "SS" on the Complaint Data Base.
5. Probation - Probation is a status used when conditions are placed on a current license. A licensee must agree to Probation status in any agreement entered into with a board. The licensee must comply with these conditions in order to practice. Failure to comply with the terms of probation may trigger the imposition of a suspension or other discipline which may affect licensure status. (Example: A complaint may be resolved by having a licensee agree to obtain additional education or work under supervision as a term of probation.)
Note: Indicated by a "P" status on Licensing Data Base and "PR" on the Complaint Data Base.
The remaining forms of discipline do not effect the practice status of the licensee on the Licensing Data Base. Licensees subject to these forms of discipline are listed as "C" (current) on the Licensing Data Base.
5. Censure - Censure constitutes an official rebuke expressing strong disapproval which constitutes disciplinary action but does not impose any limitation on practice.
6. Reprimand - A disciplinary action which is less than a censure and expresses the disapproval of the board. A reprimand constitutes the lowest level of discipline.
7. Fine - A monetary payment as a result of a board decision or agreement of the parties available only where allowed by statute.
B. Non-Disciplinary Dispositions
1. Dismissal - cases which are closed without formal discipline. Dismissed cases may involve one or more of the following notations or actions:
a. Advisory Letter - Written notice to a licensee including advisory comments.
b. Lack of Jurisdiction - The board lacks jurisdiction over the individual who is the subject of the complaint or the alleged conduct, i.e., it is not within the subject matter of the laws or regulations of the board.
c. Lack of Sufficient Evidence - Facts supporting the allegations of misconduct have not or can not be proven.
d. Complaint Withdrawn - The complainant no longer wishes to pursue the matter and the Board accedes to a request to withdraw the complaint.
e. Complied -The licensee has satisfied the board by complying with rules and regulations or other relevant matters of concern.
f. Settled - The parties have agreed to a mediated resolution or money has been refunded and the Board chooses to dismiss the case. The fact that the licensee agreed to a settlement will be reported as a board action on the Division Web Site.
g. No Violation - That Board has determined that allegations of violations are unfounded or without merit.
h. Dismissed without Prejudice - The case is dismissed subject to conditions which may result in the board reopening and reconsidering the matter at a future date. Examples of cases dismissed without prejudice may include: (i) instances in which a new complaint has been received against a licensee whose license has been revoked - the board may choose to defer action on such a complaint until such time when the licensee seeks reinstatement; or (ii) instances in which the licensee is informally reprimanded or ordered to complete continuing education courses as a condition of dismissal of the case.
i. Licensee Deceased - The board has dismissed the matter because the licensee is deceased.
2. Referral - Closed without discipline and referred to another agency or authority for action.
3. Deferral - Case closed and board action delayed pending action by another agency.
4. SARP - A non-disciplinary disposition similar to dismissed without prejudice. By law, this disposition in NOT PUBLIC information. The case is described publicly as dismissed without prejudice. Follow-up questions or questions from employers should be directed to the Nursing Board.
5. License on Tax Hold - Case has been opened by the Division following notice of tax or child support delinquency from the Department of Revenue. A tax hold affects a licensee's right to renew their license.