When AHCA issues a complaint or a notice seeking to close your facility, you need to know how to stay in business.
AHCA will issue an administrative complaint (A.C.) seeking revocation or suspension of your license or a notice of intent to deny your renewal license (NOI) or notice of withdrawal of your application for renewal (NOIW). There are statutory provisions that help you stay in business and not get shut down when litigating with AHCA and the case is sent to the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH).
Read more about your options after receiving a Notice of Intent to Deny.
The Stay Process | Step 01
After receiving the complaint or notice, it is crucial that you file your election of rights (EOR) form or contact an attorney to prepare a request for a hearing. Time is of the essence! You only have 21 days after receiving any of these notices to file the EOR. If not timely filed, AHCA will default your case. If you do not complete the EOR form correctly, AHCA will give you one chance to correct it. If it is not corrected to pass the review, AHCA will proceed to default your case.
When completing the EOR form, you also need to choose between an informal hearing and a formal hearing. It is helpful to have an attorney skilled in administrative law to assist in making this choice. Upon filing your EOR or request for a hearing, there are several statutes that apply to help you stay in business. Licensees should be reminded that if they continue to operate while the complaint or notice is pending in litigation, they must continue to comply with all applicable statutes, including filing renewal applications. (See, Section 408.815(2), Florida Statutes)
The Stay Process | Step 02
Equally important is that you can seek a stay after AHCA enters a Final Order on a complaint or notice that requires you to shut down or close. This is step two of the stay process and it's when you need to seek a court’s assistance to stay in business.
At this point, you need to appeal the final order and seek assistance from an appellate court. It is crucial to take an appeal within thirty (30) days of “rendition of the final order” by AHCA. If an appeal is not taken, this right vanishes. After the appeal is filed, the licensee must seek a request for a stay or halting of enforcement of the final order issued by AHCA.
A stay must be granted by an appellate court so that you are not required to shut down or close your business. There are five appellate courts in Florida. A licensee can seek help from either the district court of appeal (DCA) for their home county or the DCA where the agency is located – Tallahassee. An administrative law attorney with appellate experience can assist in seeking the stay before a specific District Court of Appeal.
How an Attorney Can Assist
Contact Howell, Buchan & Strong if you need assistance for:
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In Florida, business and professionals licensed by state agencies are subject to rigorous requirements in order to operate. Florida law governs the requirements to get and keep a license. Applicants submit an initial application (or renewal application) and are customarily notified by the state agency if additional information is required. Generally speaking, there are three types of license applications: Initial, Renewal, and Change of Ownership. Failure to provide required information to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) means you could receive a NOID or Notice of Intent to Deny the application for licensure.
Received a NOID? Know Your Options
What Can Trigger a NOID: The Omission Letter
The Agency for Health Care Administration typically sends what is known as an “omission” letter within 30 days of receipt of an application. The omission letter notifies the applicant that AHCA needs additional information in order to consider the issuance of the license. Typically, some of the items requested by AHCA in an Omission Letter are:
After the Omission Letter is sent to an applicant there are typically two scenarios:
It is at this point that AHCA issues a Notice of Intent to Deny.
Received a NOID? Your Next Step Matters
Notices of Intent to Deny generally have a 21-day deadline to respond to or the decision to deny becomes final.
WARNING: It is important to point out that we encounter individuals, management personnel, and professionals who wrongly, in our opinion, attempt to handle things on their own.
Many incorrectly believe the Notice of Intent to Deny can be remedied in simply writing a response to AHCA or merely filling out the document known as an Election of Rights (EOR) and sending it into the Agency only to be later disappointed when the Agency issues a Final Order denying the license (or license renewal) because the response is deemed insufficient.
Notice of Intent to Deny Response
It is our recommendation that if you receive a Notice of Intent to Deny from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration you promptly seek the advice of an experienced health care attorney. Along these lines, we further recommend that you:
At Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law, our attorneys review the Notice of Intent to Deny along with documents submitted by the client to determine a basis for challenging the denial. Generally speaking, we draft a Petition, in conformity with legal requirements, challenging AHCA’s basis for denial along with a completed Election of Rights (EOR) form. This slows down the denial process and allows us the opportunity to communicate with AHCA in an effort to get the application back to the licensing unit so that the license can be issued. While every situation is different we endeavor to work promptly and strategically to put our client’s license application back on course to be issued.
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