Have you had your DEA Registration (Registration Under Controlled Substances Act of 1970) denied, suspended, revoked or been given a Show Cause Order? Losing your DEA License can significantly impact your career and in many instances prevent you from continuing in your profession. Our lawyers and health law firm provide license defense for those with DEA issues. Important considerations include:
Why Would a Doctor Have Their DEA Registration Suspended?
When the DEA investigates a DEA registration, there are factors they look for in order to determine if the registration would be against public interest. Some of the factors they take into consideration are:
- Failure of the provider to comply with local and state laws
- Prior convictions of the provider, either federal or state, that relate to controlled substances
- Failure of the provider to maintain effective controls to prevent diversion of controlled substances into illegal channels
There are certain things the DEA will look for when investigating possible fraud and diversion of controlled substances. When something listed below comes to light, a full investigation will be launched.
- The volume of prescriptions written: Although there are many reasons why a doctor may deal in a high volume of medication prescriptions, federal authorities consider it to be a red flag.
- The consistence of prescriptions: When the same medications are continuously being prescribed or dispensed, it can trigger an investigation by the DEA. This is not just doctors, but can include nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others.
- Errors in coding: Coding errors can lead to heavy criminal penalties and other federal charges, even when unintentional. When the coding errors involve billing for controlled substances, the DEA will get involved as well.
- Previous mistakes: If a physician has been targeted at any time in the past in relation to controlled substances, it will be generally true that they will be under continued scrutiny.
- Geographic location: When assessing a provider’s potential involvement in drug diversion crimes, the DEA considers the geographic location of the provider to be an important factor to take into account. There exist many “hot spots” around the country where abuse takes place, particularly for opioid abuse.
Why the DEA Would Revoke or Deny a License
The DEA investigates criminal actions and will take actions against a license when there is proof of illegal activity. When they see a red flag related to a physician who prescribes controlled substances, they will start an investigation. They may see coding errors or a high amount of prescriptions coming from one office or facility. The doctor may work in a location that is known for opioid trafficking. Many different things can set off alarms. Some of the actions for which a provider can be prosecuted include:
- Falsification of prescriptions
- Selling controlled substances to people who don’t need them medically
- Diversion of drugs which are legal to an illegal market
The Crimes that Affect a DEA License
There are a number of situations that can affect a physician’s DEA license. The DEA can deny an application or registration for a license, can suspend a DEA license or revoke the registration. Some of these issues are listed here:
- Falsifying a registration application with the DEA
- Suspension, revocation or denial of a state license
- When a provider has been excluded from participating in a Medicare or a Medicaid program
- When a provider has been convicted of a felony regarding a controlled substance
When the DEA is going to suspend a DEA registration, it first serves an order to show cause on the provider. This means that the provider has to show the reason why the registration or license should not be suspended. The provider has a right to request a hearing with an administrative law judge.
How Do I Reinstate My DEA License?
Once your DEA license has been surrendered, suspended or revoked, you will want to get it reinstated as quickly as possible. Having your DEA registration active is vital to your career, so it is something to take seriously. A DEA License is issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and gives a registered provider permission to prescribe controlled substances, such as Oxycodone, cocaine or morphine. You apply for the license by registering online on the DEA website.
How to Get the DEA License Reinstated
Getting a DEA registration reinstated is easier if the registration was revoked or surrendered in an administrative procedure rather than a criminal proceeding. But either way, it can most likely be done. After a revocation, there will be a waiting period before you can reapply. During this period you can work to address the reasons the license was surrendered or revoked.
You can apply for reinstatement online. But it is necessary to give full and absolute disclosure, including the history and all the events that led up to the surrender or revocation. You should prepare any statement explaining matters before you try and put it into an online application. You can expect to get interviewed by agents before your reinstatement will be approved or denied. These interviews will be done in person and will also be recorded. You will need to prepare for this and not just casually try and answer everything.
At any time during the reinstatement application, it is best to find an experienced DEA License Suspension Lawyer who can help you with all preparations. A DEA attorney has the knowledge of what concerns the DEA has and he can help you anticipate any questions asked. He will help you provide complete and accurate answers.
Getting an Attorney When Suspension is Imminent
Because a DEA license and registration is such an important part of a medical career, you should do everything possible to protect these. A DEA License Suspension Lawyer can help as he is familiar with the laws and regulations of a license. He can collect the information needed in order to reply effectively to the show cause order.
How Do I Surrender My DEA License?
If you have been asked to surrender your DEA license voluntarily, this article has information you should know. It is important to understand what surrendering your DEA license means to you and your career. Anyone who has registered with the DEA must stay abreast of the requirements which come with carrying a license.
When a DEA agent comes to you and demands that you surrender your DEA license or registration, you should just tell him no. It happens too often – an agent comes to your practice and asks you about how you prescribe controlled substances. All the questions are answered, but at the end of the interview, suddenly and surprisingly, the agent tells you that you are in trouble and it would just be easier on you if you voluntarily surrender your registration. He may tell you that if you don’t, they will revoke it anyhow. The agent has you fill out a form. Unfortunately, this is a bad decision.
Don’t Voluntarily Surrender Your DEA Registration
Do NOT voluntarily surrender your DEA license or registration. If you do, it can start administrative actions against other professional licenses that you hold. You very likely will not be able to reapply for a DEA license. There will also be delays which hurt your ability to return to practicing after the completion of the matter. It can take years to complete the civil or criminal proceedings. Also when you voluntarily surrender your registration, you are waiving your right to have a hearing. If you don’t voluntarily surrender your license, the DEA has to submit an order to show cause, and this means that you will have an opportunity to have a hearing.
Why DEA Agents Want You to Surrender Your Registration
The question is: why would DEA agents try to get you to surrender the DEA registration? This is mainly due to a backlog in cases that are pending adjudication. While providers or practitioners wait for the final decision in the case, they continue to prescribe controlled substances. Obviously, for those involved in criminal activities, it could mean a year of them continuing with their crimes, until the case is completed. It is understandable that the DEA would want to curb this activity, but unfortunately for those who are innocent, surrendering their registration is a bad move for their career.
Legal Help for DEA License Surrender
If you refuse to surrender your DEA registration and therefore have the opportunity to have a hearing, this is when an attorney comes in very handy. He can help you successfully resolve any administrative, civil, or criminal action. A DEA License Suspension Lawyer will protect you and your career.
You may come upon the term “show cause order” when you are researching your DEA license or registration. If a license is about to be suspended or revoked, before action is taken, an order to show cause is delivered to the registrant. It is important to know the term and all that is involved with it. But the meaning is basically that it is a court order which requires the party to justify or explain or prove something to the court.
A DEA registration means that a healthcare professional has registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration so that he or she can prescribe and/or administer controlled substances. The registration assures that the healthcare provider will be compliant to all federal and state laws. The objective is that he will provide quality care to patients and use controlled substances in a legal manner. A DEA number is assigned to health care providers such as physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists and optometrists. It is issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration and allows the health care provider to write prescriptions or distribute controlled substances.
Show Cause Orders
If the DEA is going to begin action to suspend or revoke the DEA registration of a physician, nurse practitioner or other healthcare provider, they must first give an order to show cause to the provider. The order itself will state the reasons why the order is issued. The show cause order requires that the provider show why the registration should not be revoked, denied or suspended.
The registrant can then request a hearing with an administrative law judge to challenge what the show cause order claims. He or she has 30 days to file a hearing request. This is 30 days from the receipt of the order. If not filed in 30 days, the right to a hearing is waived.
Order to Show Cause Administrative Hearing
The hearing is held in front of the administrative law judge and the party can present their arguments. Evidence can be shown and witnesses called. After the hearing is done, a recommendation is given by the administrative law judge and submitted to the DEA. The DEA administrator hands down the final decision. If the healthcare provider disagrees, he can appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Contacting Show Cause Order Attorneys for Legal Defense
As soon as a show cause order is received, you should contact an attorney. It is too vital a situation to handle on your own. The attorney will work to preserve your rights and defend you in protecting your DEA registration.
If you are registering for a DEA number and you have a felony on your record, it is important to know what to do in order to get a DEA Registration Number. Having this number is key to your career as without it, you won’t be able to prescribe medications to patients.
A felony is a serious crime and often defined by the amount of time a person convicted of one would stay in prison. Usually if the punishment is more than a year, it is considered a felony. Types of felonies and the punishments for them can vary from state to state. Medical careers can be adversely affected by having a felony on record.
When you are applying for a job with a healthcare organization, you will likely go through a screening process. The employer must ensure that you don’t have a felony on record and that you can be fully trusted with patients and with controlled substances. The screening process usually consists of a background check and also a review of the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) exclusion list as well as the GSA (General Services Administration) exclusion list. The background check will specifically look into any felony conviction related to controlled substances, as this would deny any job within the medical community. Once convicted of a felony that involved controlled substances, this issue will carry along with an individual forever.
When a conviction for a felony shows up on a person’s record, obviously the DEA considers there to have been a felony conviction. Sometimes charges may be reduced or dismissed, but the DEA still can deny a DEA number. At times a person may plead no contest to a felony, and this is considered by the DEA as an admission of a felony offense.
Getting Help in Obtaining a DEA Number
When you need to get justice relating to a denial of a DEA number, you can hire a DEA Show Cause Lawyer to assist. Show cause means that one party needs to explain, justify or prove something to the court. The attorney you hire will, with your help, provide more information for the judge so that he may rescind the denial.
What is a DEA Audit?
Knowing what a DEA audit is can mean the difference between keeping your license for administering controlled substances and having that license taken away or even a prison sentence. Always be prepared for a DEA audit and know your rights.
The DEA is a law enforcement agency in the U.S. government. They can assess both criminal and civil penalties. The DEA audit is a security practice conducted by this agency. They make unannounced inspections in order to audit locations and laboratories where registered controlled substances are stored. They ensure that the person licensed to have these controlled substances in their possession stays in compliance with the CSA (the Controlled Substance Act). They verify security practices as well as record keeping practices.
How Often DEA Audits are Done?
Some providers are inspected once every three years, but occasionally inspections are more frequent if the provider has and prescribes buprenorphine. Drug treatment centers and other DEA registrants who are not practitioners usually get inspected every five years. The inspections can occur any time, including late in the day or around holiday weekends.
When an inspection is about to take place and the provider is presented with a DEA Form 82, the registrant has to give informed consent before the inspection can begin. The person states in writing that he is told of his constitutional right not to have an inspection and that if anything incriminating is found, it can be used against the registrant in any criminal proceedings.
Refusal of Informed Consent
When the DEA registrant has refused to give his informed consent, the DEA then has to get an inspection warrant from the Federal Court. These types of warrants are commonly issued by the courts without a problem.
When you receive an administrative search warrant, you should contact an attorney right away. Do not refuse to comply with having the search done or you could be arrested.
Noncompliance with the CSA on a DEA Audit
After a DEA audit is done and any noncompliance found, the DEA issues a report which details the issues that have been considered noncompliant to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The whole matter can be referred to the Department of Justice and criminal prosecution begun. Violations result in ever increasing penalties, from a Letter of Admonition to a prison sentence.
What Crimes Does the DEA Investigate?
So, many wonder what crimes does the DEA investigate? The DEA or the Drug Enforcement Administration investigates all crimes relating to illegal drug use. This not only includes drug trafficking, but also means that they look into illegal use of drugs in the medical field.
The Drug Enforcement Administration was created in 1973 when there was a huge rise in recreational drug use and much drug related crime. The administration is counted on to enforce controlled substances and their use in the United States. They catch those who commit drug related crimes and prosecute them. Part of their duties is to monitor drugs that are manufactured and used legally and prevent these drugs being diverted to illegal markets.
DEA Responsibility in Healthcare Investigation of Applications
The DEA plays an important role in investigating healthcare fraud that involves prescription medication. They investigate and prosecute registered and non-registered entities and individuals in illegal prescribing of drugs under a number of federal statutes, both civil and criminal.
In the medical community, a doctor, nurse, or other provider often need to be able to prescribe medications. In order to do so, they must obtain a DEA license which permits them to prescribe controlled substances to their patients. This license is registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the person who has it must conform to certain rules and regulations.
A controlled substance is a chemical compound, single chemical or other drug or ingredient that has been identified as restricted by the state or by federal law. The law restricts who can use, possess, prescribe, transport, or manufacture these substances.
Criminal Health Care Fraud Defense
There are a number of criminal actions that the DEA will investigate when they have heard of something illegal going on. It could be reported by a patient or by another doctor. There can be very significant consequences for someone who is convicted of crimes under this license. Some of the actions investigated and for which criminal prosecution is pursued are the following:
- The sale of a controlled substance: Doctors and/or nurses have access to controlled substances and if they begin to sell them (also known as drug dealing), they are in for some harsh penalties.
- Diversion of legal drugs to an illegal market: Pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and other providers who supply controlled substances to those who don’t need them for medical reasons face stiff penalties.
- Falsification of prescriptions: This can come under the heading of diverting prescription medications and is a crime.