How much could it possibly cost if you fail to renew your professional license or permits before they expire? Could it really cost $148,632.23? A Connecticut oral and maxillofacial surgeon recently learned that it could cost that much, and more. Federal and state authorities reached a settlement with the oral surgeon for that amount based on allegations that he had billed Medicaid for sedation and anesthesia service after the expiration of his conscious sedation permit. He had already agreed to pay the State of Connecticut $5,000 as part of a Consent Order imposed by the State Dental Commission to settle disciplinary proceedings brought by the Department of Public Health (DPH) based on like allegations. The agreed to payment under the Dental Commission Consent Order led to reinstatement of his permit to perform sedation and anesthesia services for his patients.
The federal and state authorities who negotiated the larger settlement had pursued Medicaid overpayment claims against the oral surgeon on behalf of the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Connecticut Attorney General. Cases of the kind can also lead to civil monetary penalties and multiple damages penalties under false claims laws. In fiscal year 2019, the United States Justice Department recovered over $3 billion from False Claims Act cases.
Even though most Connecticut late license renewal situations have not led to large Medicaid overpayment cases and settlements or reports of false claims prosecutions, it has become the norm for DPH to pursue formal discipline of licensees who do not renew licenses and permits on a timely basis. Discipline of the sort is reported publicly, listed on the Connecticut license verification website and usually must be reported to other jurisdictions where a licensee is licensed.
Since March 30, 2020, and during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency plus 6 months following the date the civil preparedness emergency in Connecticut is declared over, DPH licensees are not obligated to renew their Connecticut licenses under the then DPH Commissioner’s Order of that date. DPH’s website assures that if your license was active on or after March 30, 2020, your license will not expire during the COVID-19 civil preparedness emergency.
Notwithstanding, practitioners should consider renewing their licenses when they would otherwise expire since renewal notices are too easily overlooked.