Office of Enforcement

Kevin Huff, Director
Office of Investigations

Investigative Process

Some complaints are investigated internally by board or program staff. However, depending on the scope of an investigation, the complaint may be referred to the Office of Investigations and assigned to an investigator. The Office of Investigations receives hundreds of cases per year. Investigators make their best effort to complete an investigation within 180 days. However, circumstances such as complexity of the issues, number of witnesses, witness cooperation and the investigator's caseload may affect the length of an investigation.

Investigators

When a complaint is assigned to an investigator, the investigator acts as an impartial, neutral fact finder and does not "represent" the complainant, the board or program, or the licensee, certificate holder or registrant.The investigator may contact both the licensee and the complainant for more information. The majority of this work can be done by telephone. The investigator may also subpoena or otherwise obtain copies of pertinent documents, and where appropriate, may retain an expert consultant to review the case.

The investigator prepares a written report for the board or program to review. If the board or program determines there is probable cause to believe there has been a violation of law, a hearing may be held or the licensee may agree to a settlement. The case may also be referred to the Office of Expedited Settlement or the Office of the Attorney General.

Release of Information

The office can not release information to the public during the investigation. The investigation is CONFIDENTIAL. The office can answer general questions about the investigative process. Each case is assigned a case number. Please have the case number available when contacting the Office.

Investigations Frequently Asked Questions

Complainant FAQs

Q: What is the Office of Investigations' role?

A: The Board or Program may refer a complaint to the Office of Investigations, which is a centralized office within the Division. The Office of Investigations serves as an independent, neutral fact finder. The Office of Investigations does not represent the complainant, the Board or Program, or any licensee, registrant or certificate holder.

Q: How long does an investigation take?

A: The Office of Investigations receives hundreds of cases per year. The time frame to complete an investigation varies depending on the nature and complexity of the investigation. Investigators make their best effort to complete an investigation within 180 days. There are circumstances, however, such as the complexity of the issues, number of witnesses, witness cooperation and the investigator's caseload, which may affect the length of an investigation.

Q: What is the investigator's role?

A: When a complaint is assigned to an investigator, the investigator acts as an impartial, neutral fact finder and does not "represent" the complainant, the Board or Program, or the licensee, certificate holder or registrant. Typically, the investigator reviews the complaint and the response, subpoenas or otherwise obtains copies of pertinent documents, interviews witnesses and, where appropriate, may retain an expert consultant to review the case. The investigator then prepares a written report for the Board or Program. The Board or Program determines whether the facts constitute a violation of the applicable Practice Act and whether to pursue disciplinary action. The investigator does not draw any conclusions or make any recommendations to the Board or Program regarding what disciplinary action, if any, to take. It is essential that you are responsive and truthful during the course of an investigation.

Q: What happens after the Board or Program reviews the Report of Investigation?

A: If the Board or Program finds that no violation occurred or that disciplinary action is not warranted, the case will be dismissed. If the Board or Program concludes that disciplinary action is not warranted, but that it has concerns about the conduct at issue, it may dismiss the case with a confidential letter of concern. If the Board or Program finds that a violation occurred, it may impose discipline, including but not limited to a public letter of admonition (LOA), a fine, continuing education, probation, suspension or revocation. Disciplinary cases are referred to the Office of Expedited Settlement where the parties have an opportunity to settle the matter and/or the cases are referred to the Office of the Attorney General for a hearing.

Q: Can the Office of Investigations release information to me?

A: The Office of Investigations cannot release information to the public during the investigation. The investigation is CONFIDENTIAL. The office can only answer general questions about the investigative process. Each case has an assigned case number. Please have the case number available when contacting the Office of Investigations.

Q: Can the public review government documents?

A: Regulatory agencies are governed by the Colorado Open Records Act, which provides the public access to certain government documents. Confidentiality requirements vary from Board/Program to Board/Program, and the investigator assigned to your case cannot advise you on this topic.

Q: I cannot remember the name of the Investigator assigned to my case. Who can I contact?

A: Please contact 303-894-7599 to determine the investigator assigned to your case.

Respondent FAQs

Q: What is a basis for disciplinary action?

A: Each profession has a Practice Act, also known as an "organic act" or "statute" that governs a particular profession. The legal grounds for disciplinary action against a professional are set forth in the applicable Practice Act. A Board and Program may promulgate rules, a violation of which can also form the basis for disciplinary action.

Q: What is a complaint?

A: In the context of a professional disciplinary action, a complaint is an allegation that a licensee, certificate holder or registrant has violated the applicable Practice Act. It is filed with or initiated by the appropriate Board or Program, and it marks the beginning of the investigatory process against a licensee, certificate holder, or registrant.

Q: What happens after the complaint is filed?

A: The Board or Program and/or its staff will review the facts alleged in the complaint to determine whether, if proven to be true, these facts constitute reasonable cause to believe a violation of the Practice Act has occurred. If after the initial review, the Board or Program determines that it does not have jurisdiction or that it does not have reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the complaint will be dismissed, however, the Board or Program may still issue a confidential Letter of Concern (LOC) to the licensee, certificate holder or registrant. If the Board or Program finds that a violation occurred, it may impose discipline, including but not limited to a public letter of admonition (LOA), fine, probation, suspension or revocation.

Q: What is the Office of Investigations' role?

A: The Board or Program may refer a complaint to the Office of Investigations, which is a centralized office within the Division. The Office of Investigations serves as an independent, neutral fact finder. The Office of Investigations does not represent the complainant, the Board or Program, or any licensee, registrant or certificate holder.

Q: Do I receive notice if the complaint is forwarded to the Office of Investigations?

A: You generally will receive a letter informing you that a complaint that involves you has been referred to the Office of Investigations.

Q: Do I need an attorney at this point?

A: A professional license, certificate or registration is an important property interest that you hold. It is important to remember that the Board or Program, its staff, and the Office of Investigations cannot provide you with legal advice. You are not required to hire an attorney, but you have the right to be represented by an attorney at any stage of the proceeding. You are responsible for any costs associated with hiring an attorney. Your professional liability insurance carrier might provide assistance with legal costs associated with a professional disciplinary action.

Q: What happens in an investigation?

A: When a complaint is assigned to an investigator, the investigator acts as an impartial, neutral fact finder and does not "represent" the complainant, the Board or Program, or the licensee, certificate holder or registrant. Typically, the investigator reviews the complaint and the response, subpoenas or otherwise obtains copies of pertinent documents, interviews witnesses and, where appropriate, may retain an expert consultant to review the case. The investigator then prepares a written report for the Board or Program. The Board or Program determines whether the facts constitute a violation of the applicable Practice Act and whether to pursue disciplinary action. The investigator does not draw any conclusions or make any recommendations to the Board or Program regarding what disciplinary action, if any, to take. Failing to respond in an honest, materially responsive, and timely manner to a complaint may be deemed unprofessional conduct and a violation of the applicable Practice Act.

Q: How long does an investigation take?

A: The Office of Investigations receives hundreds of cases per year. The time frame to complete an investigation varies depending on the nature and complexity of the investigation. Investigators make their best effort to complete an investigation within 180 days. There are circumstances, however, such as the complexity of the issues, number of witnesses, witness cooperation and the investigator's caseload, which may affect the length of an investigation.

Q: Can I obtain a copy of the Report of Investigation?

A: The Office of Investigations cannot release information to the public during the investigation. The investigation is CONFIDENTIAL. The office can only answer general questions about the investigative process. Each case has an assigned case number. Please have the case number available when contacting the Office of Investigations.

Q: Do I get notice of when the Board or Program will review the Report of Investigation in my case?

A: This varies between Boards and Programs. You may contact the Board or Program and/or the investigator assigned to your case to inquire about the status of the investigation and the dates and locations of any meetings at which the matter may be discussed. Some Boards and Programs review Reports of Investigation in a closed meeting, which is not open to the public, including the complainant, licensee, certificate holder and registrant. Even if the disciplinary portion of the meeting is open to the public, generally you will not be permitted to address the Board or Program and will only be allowed to listen to the discussion. Please contact the staff of your Board or Program for more information about the meetings.

Q: Can the public review government documents?

A: Boards and Programs are governed by the Colorado Open Records Act, which provides the public access to certain government documents. Confidentiality requirements vary from Board/Program to Board/Program, and the investigator assigned to your case cannot advise you on this topic.

Q: What happens after the Board or Program reviews the Report of Investigation?

A: If the Board or Program finds that no violation occurred or that disciplinary action is not warranted, the case will be dismissed. If the Board or Program finds that disciplinary action is not warranted, but that it has concerns about the conduct at issue, it may dismiss the case with a confidential letter of concern (LOC). If the Board or Program finds that a violation occurred, it may impose discipline, including but not limited to a public letter of admonition (LOA), fine, probation, suspension or revocation. Disciplinary cases will be referred to the Office of Expedited Settlement where the parties have an opportunity to settle the matter and/or the cases are referred to the Office of the Attorney General for a hearing.

Q: What happens when your case is referred to the Office of Expedited Settlement (ESP)?

A: If your case is referred to ESP, you will be contacted by a staff member from ESP who will provide you with the offer of settlement approved by the Board or Program. Generally, if a settlement is not reached within 90 days, the matter will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

Q: What happens if the case is referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG)?

A: If your case is referred to the OAG, the assigned Assistant Attorney General will provide legal representation to the Board or Program. The Assistant Attorney General may prepare formal charges based upon the alleged violations of the Practice Act. If formal charges are filed, a hearing will be conducted before an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the Office of Administrative Courts (OAC) to determine whether the charges are proven. At the hearing, you have the right to be represented by counsel, present and confront oral and documentary evidence and to testify in your own defense.

Q: What happens if, after the hearing, I am found to have committed a violation?

A: Following a hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will issue an initial decision, which will include factual findings, conclusions of law and a recommended sanction. Either party may challenge the initial decision by filing exceptions with the Board or Program. The Board or Program will review the initial decision and issue a final agency order that may adopt, partially adopt or reverse the initial decision. If a violation of the Practice Act is established, the final agency order may impose sanctions, which can include but not be limited to, a public letter of admonition (LOA), a fine, continuing education, probation, or suspension or revocation of your license, certificate or registration. You have the right to appeal the final agency order to the appropriate court.

Kevin Huff, Director
Office of Expedited Settlement

Expedited Settlement Mission

The mission of the Office of Expedited Settlement (ESP) is to expedite the resolution of disciplinary cases for the health, allied health, and business and technical programs of the Division of Professions and Occupations (Division). Resolution of disciplinary actions through stipulation without litigation is meant to expedite the resolution of disciplinary actions, while at the same time minimizing the associated legal costs of settling these actions.

Expedited Settlement Process

This process begins with a complaint being reviewed by a Board or Program. If it is determined that disciplinary action is necessary, the Board or the Director determines the sanction to be offered to the Respondent. ESP then contacts the Respondent to discuss the offered sanction with the opportunity to sign a stipulation. If the Respondent accepts the terms of the stipulation, the Respondent signs the document, returns it to ESP, and the matter is then closed in ESP and processed through the Board or Program staff. If no agreement can be reached, or the Respondent fails to respond, the matter is closed in ESP and referred to the Office of the Attorney General for a hearing.

ESP does not practice law, rather it merely assists the Board or Director in the delivery of settlement proposals and the resolution of disciplinary actions.

Expedited Settlement Consumer Information

Confidentiality: The ESP process is strictly confidential until stipulations are signed and final agency orders are issued by the Board or the Director. Complainants and/or the general public will not be able to receive information about pending cases until final disposition. Consumers seeking specific information about pending or final cases must direct all such inquiries to the Board or Program staff.

Attorney Issues: Many Respondents are able to resolve their complaints without the use of an attorney, however, it is the choice of the Respondent to hire counsel. ESP does not practice law and is not permitted to give legal advice under any circumstances. If the Respondent does retain counsel, ESP should be notified immediately and all correspondence will be directed to both the Respondent and counsel. ESP staff will not interfere with the attorney-client relationship, but, it is Division policy to notify the Respondent of all correspondence. If ESP has knowledge of counsel, it will do its best to correspond with counsel as well.

Expedited Settlement FAQs

Q: I am a complainant, can you tell me about the case?

A: No, all actions in ESP are confidential and ESP staff is not able to discuss any case with anyone other than the Respondent and/or his counsel.

Q: Do I need an attorney?

A: Whether or not you retain an attorney is entirely your decision, there is no legal requirement that you have one. The staff in ESP is not able to give you legal advice.

Q: Why do I get mail or email from your office, even though I have counsel?

A: It is the policy of the Division to mail or email all correspondence to the Respondent.If a Respondent has counsel, and counsel is known to the Division, a copy of the correspondence will also be mailed or emailed to counsel.

Q: Can I negotiate my case with the ESP staff?

A: ESP staff can discuss but cannot negotiate with you about the discipline of your case.ESP staff is directed by the Board or Program and only the Board or the Director has the ability to negotiate the terms of your case. Any alternative proposals for resolution must be taken back to the Board or Program for consideration.

Q: What is the benefit of participating with ESP?

A: The terms of the disciplinary action will be sent in the form of a stipulation as decided by the Board or Program. If the Respondent chooses to accept the terms of the offer, the stipulation may be signed, returned and the matter completed. Therefore, the benefits are saving time, avoiding legal fees, reducing stress and avoiding litigation with the Office of the Attorney General.


Contact Information
Office of Investigations
1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 303-894-7599 | Fax: 303-894-5940