Fraud Crackdown Having Consequences For Licensees

The health care fraud bill past last year by the Florida Legislature had a number of “get tough” provisions; including an extended list of disqualifying offenses for licensure, including some misdemeanors or other minor offenses. The law includes that a drug or fraud conviction within the last 15 years would disqualify some professionals from licensure.
This article talks about the fact that the statute will likely result in the denial of the renewal of licenses for a number of professionals for minor indiscretions in their distant past. Often when you see numbers in statutes, such as the 15 year figure here, you might believe the number is tied to some study, policy or criteria; but often the number is just pulled out of thin air. Here, for example, those professionals aren’t trustworthy enough to engage in a profession for conduct fifteen years prior. However, in court proceedings, a conviction, actually the completion of a sentence, greater than 10 years old is generally inadmissible to impeach a person and is considered too remote to have application to the person’s credibility. So to work a distant conviction would be relevant, but to testify under oath, not.
The 15 year provision seems somewhat harsh and really it doesn’t make any sense. Most careers for health care professions requiring advanced degrees start after college and graduate school, so people are generally in their twenties before they actually start their profession. However, if you were arrested for having marijuana at 18, you could not apply to the state of Florida to be a pharmacist until you were at least 33. It seems that if you are giving a time limitation at all, 15 years seems somewhat arbitrary. Perhaps there should have just been a ban, the result is the same.
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