When Personal & Professional Life Intersection: Notifying Your Licensing Board About your Criminal History

As a licensed professional, it can be difficult to remember that your personal life is not completely separate from your professional life. In the state of Tennessee, health care providers such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are required by law to update their online profiles with the Department of Health regarding criminal convictions, as well as other adverse events.

Here’s the law in Tennessee: Health care providers (defined in T.C.A. § 63-51-102(b)) must update information “required to be reported” to the Department of Health within 30 days after the occurrence of an event or attainment of a status. T.C.A. § 63-51-117(d).

What is information that is “required to be reported?”

  • Criminal convictions for felonies and “serious misdemeanors,” as determined by the Board, within the past ten (10) years;
  • Any final disciplinary action by a licensing board in any state within the past ten (10) years;
  • Any peer review action taken by a hospital resulting in a provider’s loss or restriction of privileges;
  • All health care liability civil court judgments against a provider over a certain threshold (this threshold varies with profession—for example, the threshold to report is $75,000 for chiropractors, but only $50,000 for dentists). (T.C.A. § 63-51-105).

Failure to accurately and timely update the Department of Health could result in civil penalties, disciplinary action, or the inability to renew your professional license. (T.C.A. § 63-51-117(e); T.C.A. § 63-51-118). Be aware of the reporting requirements in your state, and do your best to comply with such requirements in order to avoid fines, discipline, or an inability to renew your license. Further, ensure that your mailing address is up-to-date with your licensing board. Many boards only communicate via snail mail, and updating your address with your licensing board ensures that you don’t miss any important correspondence regarding your license.