The Department of Public Health (DPH) in Connecticut works to protect the health and safety of the people by closely monitoring physicians, nurses, and other professionals in the healthcare industry and working to prevent disease, injury, and disability that could result from malpractice, negligence, and other harmful acts. The DPH licenses health centers, emergency medical professionals, practitioners, environmental laboratories, health care facilities, restaurant and food establishments, and school health care centers. Although the Department of Consumer Protection monitors medications and prescriptions, it does not monitor and license healthcare professionals like the DPH does. The DPH, unlike the Department of Consumer Protection, monitors restaurant and food establishments, whereas the DCP monitors the trading of food and goods provided to these establishments. You can learn more about the DPH on this page.
This agency controls the professionals in this industry by renewing and issuing licenses, verifying licenses, taking complaints, creating regulatory action reports, and giving information on licensing programs. The DPH, along with regulating professionals and establishments, also provides resources on disease and prevention, health for parents and children, statistics and research, environmental health, health news, and guidance for researchers. The DPH also maintains statewide records on marriages, deaths, and births and issues these certificates.
The health, safety, and welfare of the Connecticut people is taken very seriously and because of this, the DPH takes complaints and allegations very seriously. Within the DPH is a board called the Medical Examining Board, which is responsible for investigations and disciplinary action of licensed healthcare professionals. Most recently in 2020, the Medical Examining Board disciplined two physicians for not adequately informing or monitoring their patients after prescribing them opioids or anti-anxiety medications. Both physicians received significant fines and probation periods. One of these physicians did not follow and adhere to the safe opioid prescribing system that requires physicians to check the medical history and document justification for treatment. The DPH began an investigation after receiving information from the Department of Consumer Protection.
The DCP and the DPH work closely together because the DCP has a drug control division that monitors prescriptions. The DCP can then refer prescriptions that seem strange to the DPH to investigate. One physician that received disciplinary action in 2020 had a fifth of his patients’ records reviewed and will continue to be reviewed for a year of probation after failing to adhere to the prescription monitoring program. The physician was required to surrender his registration to prescribe controlled substances and must be monitored for a year before requesting his registration to prescribe.
The DPH monitors nursing homes and elder care facilities. In 2019, a licensed practical nurse, working at a nursing home in Connecticut made a mistake by discharging a resident with the wrong medication. Once the mistake was discovered the DPH fined the nursing home for jeopardizing the health and safety and causing injuries to residents. The DPH is also responsible for citing hospitals for negligent conduct such as failing to monitor medications, failing to investigate complaints of patient abuse, and conducting procedures based on faulty test results.
The DPH has significant power and authority over the healthcare industry and licensed professionals. If you are a licensed healthcare professional and are facing issues with the DPH or have concerns regarding your license, call our office to see how we can help you.