Summary Suspension: What This Means for Your Health-Related License

By: Jennifer L. Strange

Over the past year or so, there seems to have been an increase in Petitions for Summary Suspension (and requests to extend summary suspensions) filed by the Attorney General’s Office.  In some cases, a health professional’s license has remained summarily suspended as long as a year, without a formal complaint filed against their license.   It is not clear why there seems to be an uptick in these emergency filings – change in leadership, backlog of complaints, and the opioid crisis could all be factors.  Regardless of the reason, summary suspension is very serious and can have long-lasting consequences on your license and career. 

What is a Summary Suspension?  Indiana Code § 25-1-9-10 provides that a health-related board may summarily suspend a practitioner’s license on an emergency basis for no more than 90 days. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PETITION FOR SUMMARY SUSPENSION IS FILED?  After a Petition is filed, the appropriate board will set a hearing on the matter (unless the parties voluntarily reach an agreement ahead of time).  The law does not require that all practitioners receive notice of the hearing (in fact, the Attorney General’s Office is only required to “make a reasonable attempt to notify” physicians, veterinarians, and dentists) but notice is usually provided.  At the hearing, the Attorney General’s Office must demonstrate that the practitioner is a “clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety if he/she continues to practice.”  During the following 90 days, the Attorney General’s Office is supposed to conduct an investigation, and, if appropriate, formal charges are brought against the practitioner.  With that said, the summary suspension may be extended upon a hearing before the board – but each renewal cannot exceed 90 days. 

WHAT TO DO if a Petition for Summary Suspension has been filed against you: take the matter seriously, pay attention to the hearing date, contact Indiana’s Professional Licensing Agency with any questions, and seek the advice of counsel immediately