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Department of Health

The Department of Health (DOH) has the power to act in a variety of areas affecting public health and its decisions can be reviewed by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Notice of Infractions

DOH issues Notices of Infraction in several different areas:

  • for violations of solid waste regulations that relate to rodent control such as failing to properly store solid waste;
  • for violations of regulations affecting pharmacies, such as recordkeeping requirements;
  • for violations of licensing requirements on health care professionals, such as practicing without a license; and,
  • for violations of regulations affecting food establishments, such as failing to minimize the presence of insects or rodents.

DOH then files these Notices with the Office of Administrative Hearings. 

Persons receiving such Notices file their responses and payments with the Office of Administrative Hearings, which resolves any challenges to the Notices.  The instructions on the Notices explain that you can “admit” (take responsibility and pay the fine), “admit with explanation” (take responsibility but offer an explanation that the administrative law judge might take into account in deciding a fine) or “deny” (take no responsibility).  If you “admit with explanation,” DOH will be given a chance to respond to your explanation and then the administrative law judge will decide the case based on the papers submitted.  If you “deny,” an in-person hearing is scheduled at which DOH and you can present evidence.

Close attention should be paid to the instructions on the Notices of Infraction.  There are deadlines for responding to the notices.  There is a penalty for responding after the deadline.  There is also a penalty if you “deny,” a hearing is scheduled, and you fail to appear for the hearing.

Professional Licensing

Both DOH and professional health-occupation licensing boards may take action to revoke, suspend or deny licenses for doctors, dentists, nurses, and other health professionals.  If the action is taken by DOH, it issues a Summary Suspension Notice which can be appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  A hearing must be held within 72 hours and a decision issued within 72 hours after a hearing.  If a professional board issues a Notice to Take Disciplinary Action, then a hearing must be held within 20 days, if the board has delegated the case to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Decisions in such board cases are then appealable to the board.

Nursing Home and Community Residence Facility Discharges

Decisions to discharge, transfer or relocate a resident in a nursing home or community residence facility may be appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Notice must be given to the resident and the resident’s representatives.  A hearing must be held within five calendar days of receipt of the notice and the Office of Administrative Hearings must issue a decision within seven calendar days of the hearing.  Residents may be assisted by the D.C. Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. [EXTERNAL SITE: http://www.aarp.org/states/dc/LCE.html]

“Dangerous Dogs”

DOH can issue a Notice of Determination to a dog owner that his/her dog is “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous.”  The dog owner can appeal to the Office of Administrative Hearings within 15 business days of the Notice.  A hearing is then held between five and 10 days after the Notice is served.  A decision must be issued within five days of the hearing.  That decision is appealable to the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Certificates of Need

Certificates of Need allow health care providers to establish new services, make certain capital expenditures, or take certain other actions as specified in District of Columbia law.  The DOH State Health Planning and Development Agency (“SHPDA”) reviews applications for Certificates of Need.  Once SHPDA makes a decision or issues a decision on reconsideration, the applicant can appeal an adverse decision to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Sample Decisions

Sample Decisions

Administrative law judges issue a written decision for every case that is contested. The decisions below are examples of some issues raised in Office of Administrative Hearings’ cases involving this agency. You can review these decisions to get a sense of how prior cases were decided.

Please note that the facts of each case are different. These cases should be used for informational purposes only.

  • Dep’t of Health v. Sterling Pharmacy, May 4, 2012 (dismissing Notice of Infraction charge of failure to maintain adequate records (22B DCMR 1502.1) and imposing fine for failure to maintain adequate storage temperatures (22B DCMR 1907.6))
  • Dep’t of Health v. Grubb’s Pharmacy of D.C., Inc., May 1, 2012 (finding pharmacy liable for Notice of Infraction charge of failing to keep records, maintain inventories and file reports concerning its inventories of controlled substances and imposing fine (22 DCMR 1502.1))
  • Dep’t of Health v. O’Donnell, February 15, 2012 (finding respondent liable for Notice of Infraction charge of practicing as a nutritionist and dietitian without a license and imposing fine (D.C. Official Code § 3-1210.01))
  • In re Crump, Ph.D., July 23, 2009 (holding intimate relationship between mother of minor child and the child’s psychologist that began approximately one year after psychologist ceased to care for child did not violate American Psychological Association Ethics Code because psychologist-patient relationship was never created between mother and psychologist).
  • In re Beck, D.D.S., February 16, 2008 (affirming Board of Dentistry’s denial of application for license to practice dentistry after applicant engaged in fraud by failing to report a conviction for possession of a controlled substance on his application, when the crime was directly linked to the applicant’s drug addiction, which has direct bearing on his fitness to practice dentistry).
  • Dep’t of Health v. Fortenberry, D.D.S., March 12, 2007 (suspending dentist’s license to practice dentistry in the District of Columbia after the Maryland Board of Dental Examiners found he was not competent and did not comply with Center for Disease Control Guidelines)
  • Buckingham v. Sunrise Assisted Living, June 7, 2011 (assisted living facility met its burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that facility could discharge resident for nonpayment)
  • Dep’t of Health v. Pollock-Lee, January 8, 2008 (affirming the agency’s proposed denial of community residence facility’s license, after residence director and licensee of the facility failed to secure immediate medical care for a seriously ill resident, and failed to provide a secure and protective environment for each resident).
  • Dep’t of Health v. Dynamic Visions Home Health Servs., May 14, 2010 (affirming proposal to revoke license of home care agency after it violated laws requiring the agency to respond to a governmental investigation by providing employee and patient records, to have a plan of care approved and signed by a physician for each patient along with progress notes from a nurse, and to ensure that personal care aides do not directly administer medications).
  • Dep’t of Health v. Jeru-Ahmed, July 30, 2009 (ordering owner of “potentially dangerous dog” that entered neighbor’s property and charged after the neighbor without being provoked, to relinquish custody and ownership to the agency).
  • Wilson-Carter v. Dep’t of Health, August 17, 2010 (affirming agency determination that dog meets statutory definition of a “dangerous dog,” after the dog attacked an elderly woman and her dog, causing serious injuries (D.C. Official Code § 8-1901(1)(A))).
  • Carter v. Dep’t of Health, January 25, 2011 (affirming agency determination that dog meets statutory definition of a “dangerous dog,” after the dog attacked another dog being walked by its owner (D.C. Official Code § 8-1901(1)(A))).
  • MJ Home Health Servs. v. Dep’t of Health, January 13, 2012 (reversing denial of Petitioner’s application for a Certificate of Need)
  • Right At Home DC v. Dep’t of Health, October 28, 2011 (affirming denial of Petitioner’s application for a Certificate of Need)

Agency LawAgency Law

Administrative law judges base their decisions upon many sources of law, chief among them the District of Columbia laws (DC Official Code) and the District of Columbia regulations (DCMR). Depending on the type of case, federal law (US Code) and federal regulations (CFR) may also be relevant. Cases decided on the issues in other courts, especially the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, are relevant.

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