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RULE §810.9Complaints, Disciplinary Actions, Administrative Hearings, and Judicial Review

(a) Reporting a complaint. A person shall report an alleged violation of the Act or this chapter by a licensee or non-licensee by notifying the executive director. The initial notification shall be in writing and sent by fax, U.S. Postal Service, or email to the council's office.

(b) Review of a complaint.

  (1) The executive director shall initially review the complaint for violations of the Act or any rule adopted by the council. The executive director may accept an anonymous complaint if there is sufficient information for the investigation.

  (2) If it is determined that the matters alleged in the complaint are non-jurisdictional, the executive director, with the concurrence of the Ethics Committee Chair, may close the complaint and give written notice of closure to the licensee or person against whom the complaint has been filed, the complainant, and the complaints committee. If it is determined that a violation of the Act or these sections may have occurred, the executive director or executive director's designee shall:

    (A) notify the complainant in writing of receipt of the complaint;

    (B) notify the licensee in writing that a complaint has been filed and provide a copy of the complaint; and

    (C) provide a copy of the complaint to the licensee's mental health or medical licensing agency.

(c) The executive director shall refer pending jurisdictional complaints to the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee shall:

  (1) review each complaint and determine whether the complaint fits within the category of a valid complaint affecting the health and safety of clients or other persons;

  (2) ensure that complaints are not dismissed without appropriate consideration;

  (3) ensure that a person who files a complaint has an opportunity to explain the allegations made in the complaint; and

  (4) resolve the issues of the complaint which arise under the Act or this chapter.

(d) If it is determined that there are sufficient grounds to support the complaint, the matters in question shall be investigated. The executive director or the Ethics Committee may initiate the investigation.

(e) If the Ethics Committee determines that there are insufficient grounds to support the complaint, the committee shall dismiss the complaint and give written notice of the dismissal to the licensee or person against whom the complaint has been filed and the complainant.

(f) Responsibilities of the licensee.

  (1) A licensee shall cooperate with the council by furnishing all required documents or information and by responding to a request for information or a subpoena issued by the council or its authorized representative.

  (2) A licensee shall comply with any order issued by the council relating to the licensee. A licensee shall not interfere with a council investigation by the willful misrepresentation of facts to the council or its authorized representative or by the use of threats or harassment against any person.

  (3) The licensee shall be notified of the allegations in writing by the executive director or designee and shall be required to provide a response to the allegations within 20 calendar days of that notice.

  (4) Failure to respond to the allegation within the 20 day period is evidence of licensee's failure to cooperate with the investigation and may subject the licensee to disciplinary action.

(g) Actions by the council. The council is authorized to revoke, suspend, or deny a license, or to deny a renewal of a license, place on probation a person whose license has been suspended, assess an administrative penalty, or reprimand a licensee for a violation of the Act or a rule of the council.

(h) Probated Suspension. If the suspension is probated, the council is authorized by Occupations Code, §110.352, to impose certain requirements and limitations on a person.

(i) Disciplinary action on the mental health or medical license. If a licensee's mental health or medical license is revoked or suspended, the council may propose to revoke a license issued under this chapter.

(j) Complaint information. The council shall retain all complaints filed with the council for 7 years from the date of closure. The information shall include:

  (1) the date the complaint is received;

  (2) the name of the complainant;

  (3) the subject matter of the complaint;

  (4) a record of all witnesses contacted in relation to the complaint;

  (5) a summary of the results of the review, investigation of the complaint, and any action taken; and

  (6) for a complaint for which the council took no action, an explanation of the reason the complaint was closed without action.

(k) Formal hearing.

  (1) A formal hearing shall be conducted according to the provisions of the Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001, Administrative Procedure Act and held in Travis County, Texas, unless otherwise determined by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) or upon agreement of the parties.

  (2) Prior to institution of formal proceedings to revoke or suspend a license, the executive director shall give written notice to the licensee by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the facts or conduct alleged to warrant revocation or suspension, and the person shall be given the opportunity, as described in the notice, to show compliance with all requirements of the Act and this chapter.

  (3) To initiate formal hearing procedures, the executive director shall give the licensee written notice of the opportunity for hearing. The notice shall state the basis for the proposed action. Within 20 calendar days after receipt of the notice, the licensee shall give written notice to the executive director that the licensee waives the hearing and either surrenders the license, or accepts the proposed sanction, or requests an informal settlement conference and/or a formal hearing. Receipt of the notice is deemed to occur on the seventh calendar day after the notice is mailed to the licensee's last reported address as reflected in the council's records unless another date of receipt is reflected on a U.S. Postal Service return receipt.

    (A) If the licensee fails to request a hearing within the proscribed period, the licensee is deemed to have waived the hearing and a default order may be entered by the council.

    (B) If the licensee requests an informal settlement conference and/or a formal hearing, within 20 calendar days after receiving the notice of opportunity for hearing, the executive director shall initiate an informal settlement conference and/or formal hearing procedures in accordance with this section.

(l) Final action.

  (1) If the council suspends a license, the suspension remains in effect for the period of suspension ordered or until the council determines that the reasons for suspension no longer exist. The licensee whose license has been suspended is responsible for securing and providing to the executive director such evidence that the reasons for the suspension no longer exist. The council shall review and investigate the evidence prior to making a determination.

  (2) During the time of suspension, the former licensee shall return all license certificate(s) and renewal card(s) to the council.

  (3) If a suspension overlaps a renewal period, the former licensee shall comply with the normal renewal procedures in these sections. The council shall not renew the certificate until the executive director or the council determines that the reasons for suspension have been removed.

  (4) A person whose application is denied or whose license certificate is revoked is ineligible to apply for licensure under this Act for 1 year from the date of the denial or revocation.

  (5) Upon revocation or non-renewal, the former licensee shall return all certificate(s) and renewal card(s) issued to the licensee by the council. The certificate(s) and renewal card(s) shall be returned to the council by certified mail, hand-delivered, or by a delivery service, within 30 days of request.

(m) Appeal of the decision. A person may appeal a final decision of the council by filing a petition for judicial review in the manner provided by the Texas Government Code, §2001.176.

Source Note: The provisions of this §810.9 adopted to be effective October 22, 2006, 31 TexReg 8520; amended to be effective April 24, 2011, 36 TexReg 2396; amended to be effective October 1, 2015, 40 TexReg 6748

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