End of COVID-19 Emergency Orders and State of Emergency by October 31

On Sept. 8, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the upcoming rescission of all remaining COVID-19 emergency proclamations and state of emergency by Oct. 31.

Glossary of terms

The purpose of this glossary is to assist you in understanding the words and phrases used by Department of Health staff members. These summaries are not legal definitions, but rather general descriptions of words and phrases used on the profession webpages and in legal documents.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Active

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice.

Active in Renewal

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice. The credential must be renewed soon to remain active.

Active Not Renewable

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice, but the license cannot be renewed when it expires.

Active On Probation

A credential status indicating that under provisional conditions, a healthcare professional has a current license to practice. The credential is subject to an enforcement action requiring a period of probation.

Active Print License

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice. The credential was recently issued or renewed and is being printed.

Active Provisional

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice while waiting for an opportunity to take or pass an exam.

Active With Conditions

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice. The credential is active; identifies credential holder as being monitored for compliance, but is not restricted or on probation.

Active With Restrictions

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice. The credential is subject to an enforcement action that restricts the credential holder's ability to practice.

Adjudicative Clerk Office

A unit within the Department of Health that coordinates the distribution of documents and schedules prehearing conferences and hearings. The Adjudicative Clerk Office is similar to the clerk's office in courts of law.

Adjudicative Proceeding or Process

The legal process used to resolve enforcement matters. It begins with a statement of allegations or charges and includes efforts to settle a case before holding a formal hearing. If the case is not settled, the process includes preparing for and conducting a formal hearing, which is similar to trials in courts of law.

Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

A law that establishes requirements for rule making, adjudicative proceedings, and appeal of Department of Health enforcement decisions to courts of law. Refer to Chapter 34.05. RCW – Administrative Procedure Act.

Agreed Order (AO)

A document issued by the disciplinary authority that is negotiated by the healthcare professional and their attorney, if represented, and representatives from the Department of Health. Any sanctions or conditions regarding practice are agreed upon. The order is presented to the disciplinary authority and, if approved, becomes final.

The document is usually called a Stipulated Finding of Facts, Conclusion of Law and Agreed Order.

Appeal Process

A healthcare professional has the right to appeal a final decision of a disciplinary authority to a court of law. The process involves filing a petition with a county superior court. Depending on the outcome, the healthcare professional can appeal to an appellate court. An appellate court's decision may become precedent or authority for future decisions of the same nature. A healthcare professional may petition for review of an appellate court's decision to the Washington State Supreme Court, which decides the cases it will accept or decline. The terms “appeal process” and “judicial review” have the same meaning.

Appellant

One of the parties to a case. The appellant is called this because he or she is appealing an action or a decision.

Applicant

A person who applies for a credential. “Applicant” and “candidate” have the same meaning.

Application Pending-Intake

A credential status for an application that has been received and information from the application has been entered in our database. Additional information may be required. The credential has not been issued.

Application Pending-Review

A credential status for an application in process. Credential-specific requirements are being reviewed. Additional information may be required. The credential has not been issued.

Application Pending-Background Check

A credential status for an application in process. Routine background check(s) are being conducted and reviewed. Additional information may be required. The credential has not been issued.

Application Pending-Final Approval

A credential status for an application in the final stage of the credentialing process. The entire application is in final review. The credential has not been issued.

Approved

A credential status indicating an individual or organization that is not required to be credentialed by the Department of Health, but is required to be approved by the Department of Health. Examples are schools, training programs and agencies.

Assessment

The Department of Health or the disciplinary authority reviews the complaint against a healthcare professional, and any background information, to determine whether an investigation should occur. A case can be closed at this point if an investigation is not authorized.

Assistant Attorney General (AAG)

An attorney who works for the Washington State Attorney General representing state agencies in the hearing phase of an enforcement and appeal processes or as an advisor to a board, commission, or committee.

B

Below Threshold

Thresholds established by each disciplinary authority that are used as a basis to close a complaint concerning a healthcare professional without an investigation or enforcement action. Below Threshold complaints are ones that suggest little or no risk of harm to the public.

C

Candidate

A person who applies for a credential. “Candidate” and “applicant” have the same meaning.

Case Disposition

The process of evaluating evidence from an investigation and making a decision to pursue an enforcement action or to close the case.

Case Number

A number assigned for tracking purposes when allegations against a healthcare professional are first received.

Certification

A type of credential. Certifications may be a voluntary process by which the state grants recognition to an individual who has met certain qualifications. Some certifications are required before the person can practice a healthcare profession. The qualifications for each certified profession are set in law.

Closed

A credential status for a healthcare professional application that remains deficient of required documentation or fees for 60 to 335 days depending on the specific credential type as determined by the profession.

Commission

Members of a healthcare profession and public members appointed by the governor to determine the competency and quality of healthcare professionals in a particular profession. The commission's authority is outlined in the law relating to the profession.

Committee

Members of a healthcare profession and public members appointed by the secretary of the Department of Health to provide recommendations to the secretary to determine the competency and quality of healthcare professionals in a particular profession. The secretary's authority is outlined in the law relating to the profession.

Complainant

A person who submits a complaint to the Department of Health.

Compliance and Monitoring

The process used to monitor a healthcare professional under an order or Stipulation to Informal Disposition (STID). The healthcare professional must comply with specific conditions in order to practice. Conditions may include payment of fines, psychological evaluation and treatment, retraining, supervision, etc.

Continuance

Postponing a hearing to a later date.

Continuing Education

An educational program that brings healthcare professionals up-to-date in a particular area of knowledge or skills. Continuing education helps healthcare professionals become aware of new developments in their field. Some professions require continuing education in order to renew a credential.

Corrective Action

Formal or informal actions a disciplinary authority can take to limit or restrict a healthcare professional in practice or to impose conditions for practice. The healthcare professional may also be prevented from practicing as a result of the action. The terms “corrective action,” “enforcement action” and “disciplinary action” all mean the same.

Cost Recovery

A complaint that is resolved informally by the disciplinary authority with a Stipulation to Informal Disposition (STID) which permits the recovery of costs incurred in the process. Up to $1,000 per allegation may be reimbursed to the program for the costs of the investigation and processing the case.

Credential

A document authorizing a person to practice a regulated healthcare profession.

Credential Type

A credential type unique to a particular healthcare profession. The law regulating the profession determines whether the credential needs to be a license, certification, registration, temporary or limited license or permit.

D

Default Order

A final order issued by the disciplinary authority when the licensee was notified and failed to answer or participate in the adjudicative process. A Default Order authorizes the disciplinary authority to issue a final order without further participation by the healthcare professional.

Denied

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional applicant or candidate has been denied a credential.

Disciplinary Action

Formal or informal actions a disciplinary authority can take to limit or restrict a healthcare professional in practice or to impose conditions for practice. The healthcare professional may also be prevented from practicing as a result of the action. The terms “disciplinary action,” “enforcement action” and “corrective action” have the same meaning.

Disciplinary Authority

The entity authorized by law to regulate the profession. The secretary of the Department of Health is the disciplinary authority for some healthcare professions. Boards and commissions serve as the disciplinary authorities for other healthcare professions.

E

Enforcement Action

Formal or informal actions a disciplinary authority can take to limit or restrict a healthcare professional in practice or to impose conditions for practice. The healthcare professional may also be prevented from practicing as a result of the action. The terms “disciplinary action,” “enforcement action” and “corrective action” have the same meaning.

Evaluator

A person who evaluates the respondent or a patient and renders his or her opinion.

Exception Application

Credential applications where the applicant has a criminal background, open case or enforcement action on another credential, databank disciplinary history, any ‘yes' response to personal data questions or where the applicant does not meet credentialing requirements. “Exception” application designation may also apply to an applicant who has not sufficiently responded to questions regarding the omission of a Social Security number on their application.

Expired

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional did not renew his or her license on or before the expiration date. While expired, the healthcare professional cannot practice. Expired status can also indicate when a healthcare professional cannot practice because he or she no longer has an appropriate supervisor. The healthcare professional can resume practice when another supervisor accepts responsibility. This is not the result of an enforcement action. Expired status can also indicate when a profession changes its credential type.

Expired in Renewal

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional did not renew his or her license on or before the expiration date. While expired, the healthcare professional cannot practice.

F

Final Order

A document issued by the disciplinary authority that is issued as a result of a formal hearing and is usually called Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Final Order.

Fine

One of a number of sanctions that the disciplinary authority can impose when a healthcare professional is found to have committed unprofessional conduct. The law permits a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation by a healthcare professional.

Formal Hearing

A proceeding in which evidence is heard by the disciplinary authority and a decision is made regarding the facts of the case. Both the healthcare professional and the representative for the Department of Health present their arguments. It is a formal proceeding similar to a trial and can result in sanctions against the healthcare professional.

H

Health Law Judge (HLJ)

An attorney employed by the Department of Health to conduct adjudicative proceedings. For professions regulated by the Secretary of the Department of Health, the health law judge conducts the proceedings and makes the final decision. For boards and commissions, the health law judge presides, but members of the board or commission make the final decision.

I

Inactive

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional is not practicing in Washington. When authorized in law or rule, a healthcare professional may request to have their license placed on inactive status if the license is active, in good standing and they will not be practicing.

Inactive Military

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional is inactive military.

Initiating Documents

Legal documents that give notice to the respondent of the action to be taken and their right to an adjudicative proceeding. This includes a Statement of Charges (SOC) and Notice of Decision (NOD).

Intake

Intake occurs when a healthcare professional application or renewal comes to the Department of Health. Also, when reports come to the Department of Health that register a complaint about a healthcare professional.

Investigation

A process used by trained Department of Health employees to interview people and gather facts about a complaint.

J

Judicial Review

A healthcare professional has the right to appeal a final decision of a disciplinary authority to a court of appeals. The process involves filing a petition with a county superior court. Depending on the outcome, the healthcare professional can appeal to an appellate court. An appellate court's decision sets precedence for future decisions of the same nature. A healthcare professional may appeal an appellate court's decision to the Washington State Supreme Court, which decides the cases it will accept or decline. The terms “judicial review” and “appeal process” have the same meaning.

Jurisdiction

A legal term that refers to the subject matter a disciplinary authority is allowed by law to address. If the disciplinary authority does not have jurisdiction over a person or an issue, no action can be taken. The disciplinary authority can refer the matter to the appropriate jurisdiction.

L

License

A method of regulation by which the state grants permission to persons who meet predetermined qualifications to engage in a health profession. The qualifications are set by law and without a license the practice of the specific health profession would be unlawful. Licensure protects the scope of practice and the healthcare professional's title.

Limitation

One of a number of sanctions that the disciplinary authority can impose on a healthcare professional as the result of a finding of unprofessional conduct. An example of a limitation is the healthcare professional may only treat male patients as the result of a finding of sexual misconduct involving female patients. The terms “limitation” and “restriction” have the same meaning.

Limited License

A type of credential that allows a healthcare professional to practice only in limited settings or under limited circumstances, depending on the profession. An example is a limited license granted to a physician who will be employed by a county health department and who is already licensed in another state. A limited license is not the result of an enforcement action.

M

Military

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a full, unrestricted Washington State credential and is on active military duty.

N

Notice of Correction (NOC)

A notice issued to the healthcare professional that a violation of a statute or rule has been documented. The notices are not considered enforcement actions. The provider is given a reasonable period of time to correct the violation. By law, Notices of Correction cannot be appealed. Notices of Correction are not posted on Provider Credential Search but are subject to public disclosure if a specific request is made.

Notice of Decision (NOD)

A document that is served on a healthcare professional notifying them their application is denied or granted with conditions under the Uniform Disciplinary Act, Chapter

18.130 RCW, and/or other laws or rules that pertain to healthcare professionals.

P

Panel

Three or more members of a board or commission who have been designated to make disciplinary or other action decisions on behalf of the board or commission. The law permits the use of panels to take any action on behalf of a board or commission.

Pending

A credential status for an application in the process of being reviewed but has not been issued or a credential status for a credential that was issued in error before the applicant met all requirements. Enforcement action pending means a statement of charges or a notice of decision has been issued but no finding of unprofessional conduct has been made, no order has been issued and no sanctions have been imposed.

Permanent Revocation

A credentials status indicating the disciplinary authority has imposed a permanent revocation as a sanction in an enforcement action. A permanent revocation ends the healthcare professional's right to practice their profession.

Petition

A formal request. An example is a petition for review (appeal).

Petition for Reconsideration

A healthcare professional may petition the disciplinary authority to reconsider its decision as a result of a formal hearing. The petition must be filed within ten (10) days of the service of the final order. The petition will have been denied if the disciplinary authority does not address the request within twenty (20) days from receipt, or inform the healthcare professional in writing when it will act on the petition. Petition for reconsideration also means when a complainant requests the disciplinary authority to reopen a case after it was closed with no enforcement action. The complainant must make the request within thirty (30) days of notification of the closure and must provide new information with the request.

Primary Source Verification

A process through which the Department of Health validates credentialing information from the organization that originally conferred or issued the credentialing document to the healthcare professional.

Probation

A period of time during which a healthcare professional must meet certain conditions set by the disciplinary authority in order to continue to practice.

Public Disclosure

The release of public records maintained by a state agency, including the Department of Health. Not all records can be released due to legal constraints. For example, the department cannot release medical information that would identify a particular patient.

Public Member

An individual serving on a board, commission or committee who is not a member of the profession.

Public Record

Any document that is required by law to be created or maintained. Public records may be in many formats including electronic.

R

Registration

A process by which the state maintains an official roster of names and addresses of the practitioners in a given profession and, if required, the location, nature and operation of the healthcare activity practiced.

Reprimand

One of a number of sanctions that the disciplinary authority can impose as the result of a finding that a healthcare professional committed unprofessional conduct. A reprimand is considered a formal rebuke regarding the conduct.

Respondent

A healthcare professional who has received notice of allegations against him or her. Also used informally to indicate the nurse complained against or subject to investigation.

Restriction

One of a number of sanctions that the disciplinary authority can impose as the result of a finding that a healthcare professional committed unprofessional conduct. An example of a restriction is the healthcare professional may only treat male patients as the result of a finding of sexual misconduct involving female patients. The terms “restriction” and “limitation” have the same meaning.

Retired

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional is not currently practicing, but maintains a retired license. Retired status allows intermittent or emergency practice.

Retired Active

A credential status indicating a healthcare professional has a current license to practice and maintains a retired active license. Retired active status allows intermittent or emergency practice.

Reviewing Commission Member

Usually a member of a commission assigned to review the evidence in a particular complaint against a healthcare professional. The reviewing member works with an investigator, a staff attorney, and/or an assistant attorney general to present a recommendation to the disciplinary authority concerning how the case should be resolved. The reviewing member brings their professional expertise to the process.

Revised Code of Washington (RCW)

Laws (also known as statutes) that are written by the legislature and signed into law by the governor. RCWs are filed by chapter with the Office of the Code Reviser. Title 18, Business and Professions, is the chapter that refers to the regulation of health professions.

Revoked

Credential status that indicates the disciplinary authority has rescinded a credential. A revocation ends the healthcare professional's right to practice their profession. The healthcare professional may petition for reinstatement of the credential only after a period of time determined by the disciplinary authority.

Rule

Washington Administrative Codes (WAC) provisions written by a government entity to implement laws. Rules help clarify the terms that are found in related laws. Rules are legally binding and are filed by chapter with the Office of the Code Reviser. Title 246, Department of Health, is the WAC chapter related to the regulation of health professions.

S

Sanctions

Conditions that the disciplinary authority can impose as the result of a finding in which the healthcare professional was found to have committed unprofessional conduct, or conditions in a Stipulation to Informal Disposition (STID) that the healthcare professional agrees to perform. Sanctions that can be imposed are defined in the Chapter 18.130 RCW, Uniform Disciplinary Act and range from reprimand to revocation.

Service

Service of a legal document means posting in the U.S. mail, properly addressed, postage prepaid, or personal service. Service by mail is complete upon deposit in the

U.S. mail.

Settlement Conference

A meeting made available to healthcare professionals (respondent) after service of a Statement of Charges and only if settlement cannot be achieved through the exchange of written documents. The healthcare professional (respondent) and attorney, if represented, meet with representatives of the Department of Health including a staff attorney or an assistant attorney general. It is an opportunity to mutually agree upon findings and appropriate sanctions. The Agreed Order must then be presented and approved by the disciplinary authority.

Staff Attorney

A Department of Health attorney who provides a legal review of a case after investigation, writes legal documents, assists in managing the case once the healthcare professional is notified of the allegations or charges, attends any settlement conference, and presents Agreed Orders and Stipulation to Informal Disposition (STID) to the disciplinary authority. Also handles post-order matters, including reinstatement hearings and fast-track suspension motions.

Statement of Charges (SOC)

A document that is served on a healthcare professional notifying them of allegations of violations of the Chapter 18.130 RCW, Uniform Disciplinary Act or other laws or rules that pertain to healthcare professionals.

Statement of Allegation (SOA)

The initiating document in an informal enforcement. The Statement of Allegations (SOA) sets forth the factual allegations against the healthcare professional and the potential violations of the Uniform Disciplinary Act. An SOA is resolved through a Stipulation to informal Disposition (STID) if the healthcare professional agrees to the STID. An SOA/STID may be offered prior to serving a formal Statement of Charges if the case involves minimal risk of potential or actual patient harm, and no pattern of violations.

Statute

Laws that are written by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor. Statutes are filed by chapter with the Office of the Code Reviser. Title 18 RCW, Business and Professions, is the chapter that refers to the regulation of health professions.

Statutory Authority

The authority granted by the legislature that gives a government agency, board or commission, the power to enforce the law or create rules to implement the law.

Stipulation to Informal Disposition (STID)

An informal enforcement action to resolve a complaint against a healthcare professional. If the healthcare professional agrees to sign the STID, he or she does not admit to unprofessional conduct, but does agree to corrective action. Additional training is an example of corrective action. STIDs are reportable to national data banks and are posted on Provider Credential Search after being accepted by the disciplinary authority. The document is accompanied by a Statement of Allegations.

Summary Limitation or Restriction

A sanction that the disciplinary authority can impose when there is immediate danger to the public if the healthcare professional continues to practice without limitation. Until a full hearing is held, the healthcare professional may continue to practice but only to the extent allowed by the limitation.

Summary Suspension

Credential status that indicates the disciplinary authority has determined the credential holder poses an immediate danger to the public if the healthcare professional continues to practice. The healthcare professional cannot legally practice until a full hearing is held and the disciplinary authority lifts the suspension.

Surrender

A credential status indicating the healthcare professional surrendered the credential in place of other sanctions during an enforcement action. A healthcare professional with a surrendered credential cannot legally practice in Washington and cannot request to reinstate the credential.

Suspended

Credential status that the disciplinary authority can impose as the result of a finding that the healthcare professional committed unprofessional conduct. A suspension ends the healthcare professional's right to practice their profession for a specific period of time and/or until certain conditions are met.

T

Temporary Practice Permit

A type of credential that authorizes a healthcare professional to practice for a limited time. A temporary credential is not the result of an enforcement action.

U

Uniform Disciplinary Act (UDA)

This is a chapter in Washington State law that provides standardized procedures for approving applicants for credentials and for disciplining healthcare professionals. The purpose is to ensure the competency and safety of healthcare professionals. The Uniform Disciplinary Act is found in Chapter 18.130 RCW.

Unprofessional Conduct

The RCW 18.130.180 identifies conduct, acts or conditions that constitute unprofessional conduct by a healthcare professional. A healthcare professional can be charged with unprofessional conduct.

V

Voluntary Surrender

A credential status indicating the healthcare professional agreed to surrender the credential in place of other sanctions during an enforcement action. A healthcare professional with a surrendered credential cannot legally practice in Washington and may not reapply.

Vulnerable Adult

A vulnerable adult is defined by law as a person who is:

  • Sixty (60) years of age or older who lacks the functional, physical, or mental ability to care for him- or herself
  • An adult with a developmental disability
  • Admitted to any facility
  • Receiving care and services from home health, hospice or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed under Chapter 70.127 RCW
  • Receiving services from an individual provider
  • Functionally disabled, yet who lives in his or her own home
  • Under the care of a legal guardian per RCW 11.88.008.

A vulnerable adult, per the Office of Attorney General, is one who by virtue of age, physical injury, disability, disease or emotional or developmental disorders is unable to independently provide for their own basic necessities for life.

W

Washington Administrative Code (WAC)

Rules written by a government entity to implement laws. Rules help clarify the terms that are found in related laws. Rules are legally binding and are filed by chapter with the Office of the Code Reviser. Title 246, Department of Health, is the WAC chapter related to the regulation of health professions.

Whistleblower Protection

Statutes that protect the identity of a person who files a complaint with the Department of Health. A consumer, employee, or healthcare professional who in good faith reports alleged quality of care concerns to the Department of Health. See RCW 43.70.075.