If you hold a professional license for any type of occupation, you may be wondering who is in charge of those with professional licenses, and who has the right to take action against you and your professional license. In any state, there are different agencies that have control over different occupations. For example, two major agencies in the state of Connecticut that take part in professional licensing are the Department of Consumer Protection and Department of Public Health. You can learn more about them here.
What is the Department of Consumer Protection?
The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is in charge of licensing for almost every occupation or business requiring a license or permit, short of medical, law, and some other licenses. Some of these licenses include but are not limited to:
Pharmacy and cosmetics
Food and alcohol distributing
These are just of the few licenses that are overseen by the DCP. There is a full list on the CT.gov website.
Some of the things that the DCP controls include:
- The renewal of professional licenses
- Changing addresses and names for license holders
- Verification of licenses
- Keeping a roster of all licenses
- Permits and registrations
- Distributing education and exam information
- License, permit, and registration types, dates, and fees.
The DCP regulates trades, public charities, gaming, alcohol distribution, drug distribution, wholesale and retail food, construction sites, and more. The agency not only regulates these industries, but also can respond to any complaints that are made against a business, investigate businesses or individuals that have allegations against them, look into any issues with a license, and make sure that certain standards and qualifications are maintained.
One of the major divisions of the DCP is the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing Division. This division makes sure that those who apply for building and construction licenses have passed required exams and have adequate education, training, and knowledge to perform the specific occupation. This division sets out the credentials that one must have to maintain a certain license, contains information on real estate and appraisals, information for accounts, and information on apprenticeships and education.
The DCP has several other divisions besides the occupational and professional licensing division, including:
- Drug control
- Food and standards
- License services
- Liquor control.
The divisions in charge of drugs, food, gaming, and liquor all work to monitor these services and sales and ensure that the entities involved in these businesses are compliant with specific laws and standards. Their major goal is to ensure that members of the public are kept safe, informed, and not taken advantage of.
The investigations division is the section of the DCP that is responsible for protecting the community from deceptive, fraudulent, or unfair practices and scams that could affect Connecticut consumers. This division investigates any allegations made against individuals or companies in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUPTA). CUPTA is important for any licensee to be aware of. CUPTA prohibits businesses and individuals to compete unfairly or deceive others in the process of their business or selling products to consumers. The DCP has jurisdiction over CUPTA but this act also can be used in litigation between two private parties. Anyone who is harmed as a result of unfair practices or deception in the course of business can file a suit pursuant to CUPTA. If a CUPTA suit is filed against someone, the Commissioner of the DCP has the right to investigate, check records, make copies of documents, execute demands, and take further legal action.
Another division in the DCP is the License Services Division. This division contains an entire staff dedicated to processing licenses every year and responding to questions, processing payments and renewals of licenses, and processing permits, licenses, and registrations. This division of the DCP keeps the public up to date with information on education and exams, forms to fill out, instructions, renewal information, exam services, and dates and fees for licenses, registrations, and permits.
What is the Department of Public Health?
The Department of Public Health (DPH) controls the licensing and investigations of those who have or wish to obtain professionals licenses in the healthcare industry. These licenses include but are not limited to:
- Addiction counseling
- Athletic training
- Body piercing
- Nurses and physicians
- Social work
- Tattoo artists
Any member of the public may submit a complaint with the DPH and the DPH is responsible for investigating and holding hearings for those that hold one of these professional licenses. The DPH also has specific investigation guidelines and disciplinary processes that it follows for when allegations are made.
Some of the licensing programs that the DPH has are community-based health centers, a drinking water section, emergency medical services, environmental health and laboratory services, healthcare facilities and practitioner investigations, restaurant establishment investigations, and school-based health centers. The DHP also contains a list of disciplinary actions that have been taken against different individuals and organizations in Connecticut, by each quarter of each year. The DPH does this primarily to deter violations that could result in disciplinary action and keep the public informed.
Disciplinary Action and Getting Help
If disciplinary action is taken against you and your healthcare license, you may at some point in the process need to go before one of the DHP boards. There are different boards for different types of licenses and they are made up of individuals who have knowledge in that field of work. There is a separate examining board for barbers, chiropractors, dentists, embalmers, homeopathic medical professionals, electrologists, physicians, examiners, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, and more. These boards look to different Connecticut General Statutes that apply to the particular field. For example, the examining board for barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists follow C.G.S. Chapter 386 and 387 which directly applies to those fields. There are also specific administrative regulations called Rules of Practice that the board looks to when going through an administrative process or disciplinary process.
If you or a loved one has a professional license and would like more information on the agency that it falls under or investigations into professional licenses, give us a call today.