Tag Archives: IDFPR

Financial services industry and IDFPR issue prevention and regulation – Podcast

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas, Attorney of Counsel to Michael V. Favia & Associates 

Today’s interview with Illinois licensing and regulation attorney, Jordan Matyas, focuses on the financial services industry and regulation by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and its Division of Financial Institutions.  In addition to working with financial businesses in defending and responding to regulatory inquiries and discipline, Mr. Matyas also works with companies proactively, to spot issues and prevent potential regulatory infractions.

Please use this link to listen to the podcast

Topics covered in this 30-minute interview:       

  • Overview of common financial industry regulatory complaints and issues;
  • How consumer financial providers can prevent legal and regulatory infractions;
  • Tips on best steps to take if ever contacted by the IDFPR or similar agency;
  • The general process through which IDFPR investigates and disciplines licensees.

Jordan Matyas, Principal of Matyas Law Firm, and an attorney of counsel to Michael V. Favia & Associates, who works with Illinois consumer financial businesses on administrative, litigation and regulatory issues. A former employee of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Matyas has independent knowledge of the Department and how its Division of Financial Institutions operate. Matyas earned his Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School and his Bachelor of Arts from The George Washington University.

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Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to advise and represent healthcare professionals and the general Chicagoland community with a variety of legal issues. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion.

For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please call (773) 631-4580, visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You may also connect with Attorney Michael V. Favia on LinkedIn and on Avvo.com where you may also read client endorsements and reviews.

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ISBA lawsuit seeks injunction of IDFPR discipline of two attorneys for unauthorized real estate appraisal practice

Illinois Professional Licensing Consultants 5Two Illinois attorneys face potential prosecution by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) but the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction and declaration that IDFPR lacks the authority to regulate certain practices.

At issue in the ISBA complaint filed July 11, 2017 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, is whether the IDFPR acted with authority and appropriately when the Department initiated formal administrative prosecutions of two attorneys in April of this year. The IDFPR alleges that he attorneys engaged in the unauthorized practice of real estate appraisals in two different property tax assessment cases.

Illinois regulates real estate appraisals

The Real Estate Appraisal Licensing Act of 2002 is the controlling law on the regulation of real estate appraisers in Illinois. The legislative intent section of the statute reads in part, “The intent of the General Assembly in enacting this Act is to evaluate the competency of persons engaged in the appraisal of real estate and to license and regulate those persons for the protection of the public.[i]” The IDFPR uses its administrative rules and guidelines in issuing professional licenses to practice real estate appraisals.

At issue is whether the IDFPR was proper in disciplining the two attorneys for practicing real estate appraisal without a license to do so.

Meanwhile, it is a common practice for real estate attorneys to represent their clients before the bodies hearing challenges to real estate tax assessments and valuations. Property owners have a right to challenge the appraised value of their property and reduce their tax burden. The two attorneys in this case filed briefs supporting their clients’ tax challenges to the Property Tax Appeals Board and the DuPage County Board of Review. In its news release on point, the ISBA states, “Neither lawyer purported to submit an appraisal or act as an appraiser.[ii]

The court is likely to receive briefed arguments focused on the scope of the authority of the IDFPR, and what power the Department may have to determine what specific conduct gives rise to a violation. The ISBA contends, “the IDFPR lacks authority to prosecute, discipline, or sanction lawyers for engaging in the practice of law by advocating on behalf of clients in real estate tax assessment proceedings.[iii]

Takeaways for all professionals in Illinois

It is important in any profession to be aware of and compliant with state laws and regulations of professions. Prior to the enactment of The Real Estate Appraisal Licensing Act of 2002 an individual might have been actively engaged and working as a real estate appraiser when the law passed, then requiring the individual to obtain a license from the IDFPR. The regulation of professions may change and adapt with state law and public policy.

Just because one license may be broadly applicable, such as a license to practice law, it does necessarily mean that such licensure applies ubiquitously; regulatory bodies have authority to determine the scope of a professional practice. In this case, the limits of IDFPR authority are being tested.

As there are new developments in this case we will share that news, as many are interested in the outcome of this lawsuit.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law, litigation and licensing firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

[i] PROFESSIONS, OCCUPATIONS, AND BUSINESS OPERATIONS

(225 ILCS 458/) Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Act of 2002.

[ii] ISBA, Illinois Lawyer Now, ISBA Files Complaint to Enjoin IDFPR Prosecution of Lawyers.

[iii] See HNii above.

Relaxed restrictions: Health care licenses and criminal convictions

On January 1, 2017, new laws on the books in Illinois took effect. Among the new laws passed was a bill to protect applicants for professional licenses who may also have a record of a criminal offense and conviction. Prior to the new law, applicants for health care licenses[i] were barred from applying for a professional health care license if they had been convicted of criminal offenses.

In fact, a 2011 law, now rescinded, had automatically and permanently revoked or denied licenses to certain health care professionals with certain past felony convictions. Imagine working in a health care career for years and being stripped of your license to work and earn a living. Those affected by the 2011 law may now move forward in applying for the reissue of their health care license.

Those previously stripped of licenses may seek relief:

New health care license applicants who may have been precluded from receiving a license prior to January 1 may now request the issuance of a health care license by the State of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Financial Regulation (IDFPR), who issues and regulates health care licenses and professionals, may no longer deny a request for a professional license solely on an applicant’s criminal record unless the conviction is directly related to the occupation for which the individual seeks a license.

“The new measure is part of ongoing efforts by Governor Rauner and legislators to remove unnecessary barriers to the professional licensure while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the public.[ii]

New opportunities for independent review:

Under the law, if an individual applies for a license to work in regulated health care position, and they have a criminal conviction, the individual may qualify for special review under the new law. The Petition for Review, timely filed, can be used to affirmatively establish that the individual has been rehabilitated from their conviction.

There are several factors to be considered by the IDFPR in reviewing Petitions for Review, such as the seriousness of the underlying criminal conviction, any prior disciplinary history associated with the applicant, and notably, the individual’s voluntary remedial actions. Remedial actions can help establish an individual accepting responsibility for an error, and when coupled with rehabilitation, the decreased chances of future errant actions.

Child support obligations:

The new rule also gives the IDFPR more discretion in disciplining a license holder who falls behind in child support obligation. While it may be true that some child support obligors knowingly fail to pay child support, others may fall behind unintentionally. When the health care worker is denied their license to earn a living, and they want to be current on their support obligation, taking their income away can further complicate the problem.

If you believe the new law applies to your health care career and opportunity to hold the proper license, whether you were previously denied, suspended or revoked, you should know that every situation is fact-specific and what applies to some may not apply to others. Call Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. for a comprehensive review of your professional licensing matter to learn if the new law may change your health care career outlook.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

 

[i] Note: Health care workers include doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and more.

[ii] IDFPR Press Release Dated 12/29/2016, A Pathway to Licensure: Changes to Law for Health Care Workers with Criminal Convictions.

Nursing home liability for mechanical failure and patient injury

Nursing home administrators and management work diligently to protect the health and safety of residents. Despite everyone’s best efforts and rendering the best care, accidents can happen, and can be the result of mechanical failure. One of the tasks performed by healthcare staff during routine care should be the inspection and maintenance of mechanisms used in the care of nursing home residents. For example, a mechanical lift, should be inspected to insure proper working condition so as to prevent a lift device failure leading to a fall and injury. In the event the nursing home fails to maintain equipment or knowingly fails correct a mechanical failure, the result of an injury to a resident can be a lawsuit resulting in findings of negligence.

Nursing Home Care Act: Was the condition or occurrence the proximate cause of injury or death?

If there is a condition or occurrence which is the proximate cause of injury, the individuals or organization can be found liable for negligence within the scope of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.[i] Within the Act there is a section describing a “safe resident handling policy[ii],” and requiring a policy to prevent injury due to mechanical failures. The policy requirement is listed in the Act as follows: “A facility must adopt and ensure implementation of a policy to identify, assess, and develop strategies to control risk of injury to residents and nurses and other health care workers associated with the lifting, transferring, repositioning, or movement of a resident.[iii]

The safe resident handling policy should be followed and documented on a regular and consistent basis. Good recordkeeping and policy adherence is important, especially in the event of an injury or death and investigation in to the customs and practices used and whether a stated policy was followed or there was negligence leading to the injury or death.

Mechanical failures can include wheel chair lift failures and much more. Education and policies are essential.

While the Nursing Home Care Act specifically addresses wheel chair lifts and the importance of maintenance and insuring the mechanical fitness of equipment, there are many additional safety concerns and possibilities of mechanical failure. The proper operation of medical equipment used in the delivery of medicine, respiration machines, video resident monitoring are all important and can lead to injury and death. Make sure all mechanical equipment being used to lift, move and provide care for residents is working properly. It is important to maintain documentation of equipment checks for wear and damage.

Educating nursing home staff is important. Making sure the entire organization is trained on maintaining proper safety policies can help reduce the risk of resident injury and death.

Failure to maintain resident safety policies and failure to prevent the risk of injury through mechanical maintenance can lead to state discipline and fines.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can become involved in situations involving the injury or death of a nursing home resident. If nursing home administrators, managers or staff are found to have violated the law, there can be fines, professional discipline and more adverse consequences. In some cases, nursing homes can be closed.

The time to talk to a health care and liability and licensing attorney is before an accident happens. An experienced health care attorney can help nursing homes create policies and protocols that satisfy legal requirements so that the nursing home administration can establish its best efforts at satisfying its duties of care to residents. In the event there is an accident, also call a health care attorney to discuss important next steps.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

 

[i] 210 ILCS 45/1-101 et seq.

[ii] 210 ILCS 45/3-206.05

[iii] 210 ILCS 45/3-206.05(b)

Experience matters: Hiring the best healthcare licensing lawyer

How much did it cost you to become a licensed and practicing healthcare professional? While doing the math, in addition to the hard cost of tuition for many years of school, remember to include the opportunity cost of all else you may have done to earn money while you dedicated your life and career path to healthcare practice. In addition to money, the time and other resources invested in a healthcare practice are significant. It is safe to say that healthcare professionals have too much to lose to gamble with a licensing dispute or discipline.

There appears to be an increase in the coverage of healthcare discipline and regulation.

Doctors, dentists and nurses all understand that frivolous complaints are filed from time to time and the regulatory agency charged with oversight has a duty to follow up on any and all reported incidents. Even if you assume you are in the clear and can handle everything on your own, it is possible to stumble on an unknown regulatory or legal issue and it is never good to be caught off guard when defending your practice.

There are incentives for people to report the alleged misconduct of others, particularly in healthcare practice. Consider the amount of coverage given to cases of Medicare billing fraud. People who report Medicare fraud can receive compensation for being the whistleblower. A less than ethical individual may target practitioners with high volume practices if they think there is a chance an error may lie somewhere in the billing files, and they might get lucky.

When winning and defending your practice matters, so does experience.

The increase in demand for healthcare professionals leads to an increase in all the industries supporting healthcare practice, including the legal industry. As increased manpower and technology allows for more opportunities to regulate and oversee healthcare practices, there is an increased need for skilled and experienced attorneys to advise and represent licensed healthcare practitioners.

Chicago healthcare law and licensing attorney, Michael V. Favia humbly finds himself among the best healthcare attorneys in the State of Illinois. Favia’s career has afforded him the opportunity to work for the State as well as in private practice, on both sides of the fence. As a former chief prosecutor for the IDFPR, then the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, Favia is intimately familiar with the outlook and position of the Department, when it investigates and makes discretionary decisions whether to proceed with the investigations that can lead to discipline and serious consequences.

Read Michael V. Favia’s LinkedIn profile for a full list of career accolades and experience.

Working in private practice, counseling and representing Illinois-licensed healthcare practitioners, defending their licenses and careers, Favia has also had the opportunity to share experience and wisdom with other attorneys learning healthcare law. Only through many years of experience in the trenches does a professional develop the right intuition and knowledge base to be the senior practitioner to mentor others. In building his career, Favia has worked with other leading healthcare lawyers, associating and collaborating on cases; he is the one they turn to when they need additional counsel.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

Failure to report an incident involving charges or convictions of crimes can lead to worse consequences.

What happens if I voluntarily surrender my medical or nursing license?

There are so many possible scenarios in which nurses and physicians may be subject to discipline by the state medical boards and licensing departments. What you decide to do in one state can impact what happens in another state if you hold multiple licenses. While some legal problems, such as convictions for fraud or injury to a patient, might seal your professional fate, not all allegations or findings of fault are met with the suspension or revocation of your license by the state. A crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude might be treated differently than the allegation of failure to follow a state law correctly. In the event the wrongdoing you fear will lead to loss of license, is something you can get help for, such as in the case of substance abuse or addiction, treatment and rehabilitation may be helpful in showing the state that you are not a threat to the public. The best idea is to work with a professional licensing attorney who can advise you and help weigh your options.

What is the benefit of voluntarily surrendering your medical or nursing license?

The short answer, is when you elect to voluntarily surrender your license, you avoid going through the process of the investigating board scrutinizing you or your conduct at hearings and making findings of fact and conclusions that may be published on websites in the public domain. In Illinois, for example, the IDFPR publishes notes of their decisions and discipline on the website, searchable by anyone.

In the event your hold licenses in multiple states, the voluntary surrender in one state may be favorable, compared to findings of fault, when other states may investigate whether to discipline you or affect your license in their state.

A surrender may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and should be taken seriously.

In most states, when you voluntarily surrender your nursing or medical license, you also swear to never apply for the reinstatement or make an original application for a new license. Your career options can be severely limited by having a surrendered license.

The terms of discipline, if any, can include a suspension of license and privileges for a minimum period of time and until further order of the medical board or licensing department. Depending on the circumstances of discipline, it may be possible to fully reinstate the license, privileges and career.

A professional licensing attorney who works with healthcare professionals, can advise as to the disciplinary process and expected outcomes.

Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. represents Illinois-licensed professionals in actions involving the IDFPR. A former Chief of Prosecution with the Department, Michael V. Favia is well-known for his work on both sides of administrative licensing law.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent licensed physicians in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please call (773) 631-4850, visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

Illinois physician agrees to surrender medical license after giving patients non-FDA approved drugs

Dr. Ann Kinnealey is no longer an Illinois-licensed medical doctor following investigations leading to an agreement with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Kinnealey may have been facing IDFPR discipline and elected to surrender her license voluntarily. She waived her right to a hearing with the Department investigating her in connection with a criminal investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning Kinnealey, an oncologist, purchasing and prescribing $1 million worth of misbranded drugs obtained from Canada that were not approved or allowed by the FDA.[i]

The FDA spends significant resources to protect the public from non-FDA drugs. Narcotics from overseas can be less expensive than approved pharmaceuticals legally obtained, and there is a black market. In other cases, prices are not the issue, rather patients may seek imported drugs not otherwise approved and legally available in the U.S., drugs that may otherwise still be in clinical trial stage or experimental drugs. When patients are sick and their chances of recovery are compelling, some doctors and patients will do whatever it takes to get their hands on anything that might save their lives, even if it means the purchase and sale of illegal imported narcotics.

When the FDA gets involved, so does the IDFPR

When an Illinois-licensed professional is investigated, charged or convicted of wrongdoing, the IDFPR can and will launch its independent investigation and determine if the individual should be disciplined to keep its duty to the people of the State of Illinois to ensure that licensed professionals meet the requirements to hold a professional license. As a general rule, individuals with criminal problems do not meet the state’s requirements to hold professional licenses.

The IDFPR investigated Kinnealey and ordered a summary suspension of her medical licenses (Licensed Physician Controlled Substance, Schedules II, III, IV and V, and Licensed Physician and Surgeon) on April 8, 2016. The reason cited for the summary suspensions as listed on the IDFPR license lookup page is “based on unprofessional and immoral conduct and fraudulent or deceptive statement in a document related to the practice of medicine, to wit: Respondent illegally acquired non-FDA approved chemotherapy medications and administered said medications to oncology patients.[ii]

The doctor surrendered her license in lieu of discipline by the IDFPR

A couple weeks later, Kinnealey surrendered her license on April 21, 2016, “Surrender in Lieu of Discipline, for purchasing non-FDA approved, misbranded cancer chemotherapy prescription drugs to be used in her oncology practice between 2008-2012.[iii]

The FDA investigation included information that the FDA notified Kinnealey in 2009 that the non-approved cancer treatment drugs she was importing from Canada, were not allowed in the U.S. Kinnealey ignored the FDA warning and continued buying and prescribing the cheap import cancer drugs. She billed Medicare for some of the Canadian drugs, and was reimbursed more than $514,000. Fortunately none of Kinnealey’s patients died as a result of using the counterfeit drugs.[iv]

IDFPR spokesman, Terry Horstman stated, “She will no longer be able to practice medicine or prescribe controlled substances within Illinois. Chief medical coordinator for the Department said, “the continued practice of medicine by Kinnealey presented “an immediate danger to the safety of the public” in the notice of her suspension April 8.[v]” In addition to the loss of her career and medical licenses, Kinnealey was ordered to pay approximately $129,000 in restitution to the federal government.

Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. represents Illinois-licensed professionals in actions involving the IDFPR. A former Chief of Prosecution with the Department, Michael V. Favia is well-known for his work on both sides of administrative licensing law.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent licensed physicians in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please call (773) 631-4850, visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

[i] The Republic, Illinois doctor gives up license over cancer drug imports, Associated Press, May 11, 2016.

[ii] Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, physician lookup, Ann E Kinnealey MD, May 13, 2016.

[iii] See Ann Kinnealey license lookup referenced HNii above.

[iv] Beckers Hospital Review, Chicago oncologist relinquishes license to settle illegal cancer drug probe, by Tamara Rosin, May 11, 2016.

[v] Chicago Tribune, Evanston doctor gives up license after cancer drug probe, by Robert Channick, May 11, 2016.

Image Source: Chicago Tribune, Biddiboo / Getty Images http://trib.in/23OwafP