Complaints are initially reviewed by the Disciplinary Review Committee (“DRC”) of the Board. The DRC may recommend the following actions:
1) Dismiss the complaint;
2) Take informal disciplinary action; or
3) Refer the complaint for investigation.
The Board votes whether to accept, modify, or reject the DRC’s recommendations.
If the Board votes to dismiss a complaint, the complainant and the licensee will be notified.
The Board may vote to issue informal disciplinary action. Informal disciplinary action may consist of a letter of education or an advisory letter. Informal disciplinary actions are confidential and are not available to the public. Only licensees/certificate holders may receive notice of informal disciplinary action.
If the Board votes to refer the complaint for investigation, it will assign the matter to the Board investigator. A thorough investigation of the facts must precede the Board making a charge against a licensee/certificate holder. The investigator will gather information and present it to the Board. If the Board has a reasonable basis to conclude that a potential violation of the Maryland Professional Counselor and Therapist Act (the “Act”) or other applicable laws has occurred, it will vote on whether to refer the matter to the Office of the Attorney General for charges against the licensee/certificate holder.
If charges are issued, the licensee/certificate holder is given the opportunity to attend a Case Resolution Conference (“CRC”). The CRC is attended by a Board member, Board Counsel, the Administrative Prosecutor, the licensee/certificate holder, and his/her attorney, if applicable. The CRC is an informal meeting where the parties state their respective positions and attempt to resolve the matter.
A Board member who attended the CRC will make a recommendation to the full Board as to how the complaint should proceed. The Board may accept, modify, or reject the CRC recommendation.
If the parties were unable to come to an agreement at the CRC, the licensee/certificate holder then has the opportunity to defend himself/herself at an administrative hearing before the Board. If the Board determines that the licensee/certificate holder has violated the Act, or other applicable laws and regulations, it will issue its finding in a public order. Under the Act, the Board has the authority to, among other things, issue a reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation of a license. In addition, under certain circumstances, the Board may impose a monetary fine. The public order will be posted on the Board’s website and reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, if applicable.
If the licensee/certificate holder does not agree with the Board’s decision after the administrative hearing, the licensee/certificate holder may pursue other remedies pursuant to Maryland law.