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If you’re facing a DEA investigation, one of the options you may have is surrendering your DEA registration. Often, DEA agents do investigations and will routinely recommend the healthcare provider voluntarily surrender his/her DEA registration. During the course of an investigation, you may be given a voluntary surrender form, and request to surrender it. Often, providers are scared and fear the consequences of a raid by the DEA, and sign away their careers easily and quickly. Regardless of how severe the magnitude of the investigation is, this is the worst thing you can possibly do. We recommend never listening to a DEA agent. What you should do is hire an attorney who can advise you about DEA registration surrendering.
The DEA adjudication process has significant delays which can benefit you, by allowing you to practice while you resolve your DEA registration issue. If you surrender your DEA license, it can trigger an administrative action against other professional licenses you have – like your medical or pharmacy license. When you surrender your DEA registration willingly – it can hinder your chances of reapplying for a DEA registration later.
There are some circumstances under which the DEA can revoke or suspend your DEA registration.
Before revoking your DEA registration, the Attorney General has to provide you with an Order To Show Cause, discussing why your registration should be denied or suspended. You have to respond within 30 days of the order, otherwise administrative proceedings will commence. In certain urgent situations, the AG will suspend a registration when there is imminent danger to the public. If you refuse to voluntarily surrender your DEA registration, then the DEA will have to submit an order to show cause and they will have to prove you with an opportunity to defend yourself in a hearing. If you do surrender your DEA registration, then you’re waiving your right to a hearing. After a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding happens – you will be required to re-apply for your registration.
Laws governing the prescription of controlled substances are different in each and every state. When a healthcare provider voluntarily surrender his/her DEA registration, there is a chance the state can take independent actions to either revoke, limit, or suspend, your state license. Unfortunately, there is a domino effect when an administrative action (including a voluntary surrender) is taken by the DEA. This voluntary surrender of your DEA registration can result in both legal expenses, state licenses suspended, and even state actions.
Refusing to voluntarily surrender your registration can delay this domino effect and prevent it. In addition, many hospitals and institutional bodies and insurers, require a DEA license as a condition of employment. Voluntary surrender of your DEA registration can trigger a mandatory reporting requirement to your credentialing body. This can lead to a harsh action against you, and loss of privileges.