Lauren A. Leikam, PLLC
AHCA and DOH exemptions
Lauren A. Leikam, PLLC
AHCA and DOH exemptions


Lauren A. Leikam has helped many healthcare professionals get an AHCA exemption or a DOH exemption.

Find Out How Lauren May Be Able to Help You.

Have you Received a Disqualification Letter from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)?

It can happen to anyone who’s been arrested, anyone with a criminal record, anyone who’s caught speeding…

Your livelihood can be threatened because you’re branded as “not eligible” to work in healthcare by AHCA.

Consider hiring an attorney who has specific insight into exemptions from disqualifications. Talk to Lauren A. Leikam, PLLC.

The Level II background check that’s required to work as a healthcare professional in Florida is serious and thorough. It encompasses fingerprinting and verifications across various aspects of your life, including:

  • Arrests
  • Findings of guilt regardless of adjudication
  • Pleas of guilty or nolo contendere regardless of adjudication

And it’s not necessarily a one-time deal. Many employers make it a part of periodic workforce screening, which means that — past or present — even a harmless misdemeanor can put your entire livelihood at risk.

If you or one of your employees has a criminal record or have received a letter of disqualification, don’t wait. Talk to Lauren A. Leikam, PLLC, right away about exemptions from disqualifications.

Lauren has more than a decade of experience that includes working for the FL DOH’s Prosecution Services Unit. She can help you file for a DOH exemption or an AHCA exemption from disqualification.

It is key to set up a consultation as soon as you receive the disqualification letter, so you have ample time to gather the necessary documents and put together a strong strategy.

ACHA Florida Exemptions - Health Care Licensing - Lauren A. Leikem PLLC

Questions? Read on to learn more about exemptions from disqualifications.

Know the Facts

If you receive a letter of disqualification, it’ll come from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) — responsible for licensing and regulating health care facilities.

Depending on whether or not you have a healthcare license, you will apply for exemption with AHCA or the Department of Health (DOH). If you don’t have a healthcare license you apply for exemption to AHCA directly. If you do have a license issued by DOH, you will apply to the DOH for the exemption.

AHCA takes their job of safeguarding the public very seriously. So, if your Level II background check turns up an arrest or criminal offense — even if it’s just a misdemeanor — you can expect to receive a letter of disqualification.


According to Florida Statute 435.07, if you’re seeking a DOH exemption or an AHCA exemption, you must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that exemption from disqualification should be granted.

You must meet the following criteria to be eligible to apply for exemptions from disqualifications:

  1. At least 3 years have elapsed since the applicant for AHCA exemption or DOH exemption has completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision, or a nonmonetary condition imposed by the court for all disqualifying felonies; 

  2. The applicant has completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision, or nonmonetary conditions imposed by the court for all misdemeanors prohibited under any of the statutes cited in this chapter or under similar statutes of other jurisdictions; and
  3. The applicant has paid the court-ordered amount in full for any fee, fine, fund, lien, civil judgement, application, cost of prosecution, trust, or restitution as part of the judgement and sentence for any disqualifying felony or misdemeanor.

NOTE: If you’re designated as a sexual predator, sex offender, or career offender, you’re ineligible for exemptions from disqualifications.


The short answer is no, you can’t be employed as a healthcare professional while seeking a DOH exemption or an AHCA exemption from disqualification.

That said, there is one exception.

Florida Statute 408.809(4) states that if, upon rescreening, an employee has a disqualifying offense that was not disqualifying at the time of the last screening but is a currently disqualifying offense, and it was committed before the last screening, he or she may apply for an exemption and may continue to work until the licensing agency renders a decision.

To be eligible, your application for AHCA exemption or DOH exemption must be received by the agency no later than 30 days after you receive your rescreening results.


The most important thing in applying for exemptions from disqualifications is providing clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation. As part of that, you’ll be required to provide complete details of any matters that are called into question, including:

  • The circumstances surrounding the event;
  • The time period that’s elapsed since the incident;
  • The nature of the harm caused to the victim;
  • The history of the applicant since the incident; or
  • Any other evidence or circumstances indicating that the applicant will not present a danger if employment is allowed or permitted to continue.
You’ll also need to provide any and all documentation on:
  • Arrest records
  • Court dispositions
  • Parole or probation records
  • Letters of reference
  • Proof of rehabilitation


Keep in mind that if you don’t submit all the required documents, you’ll receive a deficiency letter that lists the missing items. If that happens, the entire process will stall until either you provide the necessary documentation, or the agency closes your file.

ACHA Florida Exemptions - Health Care Licensing - Lauren A. Leikem PLLC


After you submit your application for DOH exemption or AHCA exemption, you may be required to attend a hearing. This is not a trial, but hearings do involve an oath, testimony, and the rendering of a decision. Your attorney will submit your documents, help you prepare, appear by your side, and advocate for you, but you’ll still have to answer questions.  

Make sure you speak candidly and honestly about your mistakes while also demonstrating that you’ve been rehabilitated. Yes, being at a hearing will likely feel like you’re in court; but, again, you’re not on trial. Simply stay focused and remember: the agencies want to see that you’ve changed for the better.


Some people wait until a hearing is scheduled to consult with an attorney. While it’s never too late to ask for help, you’ll be much better served if you hire an attorney as soon as you receive the disqualification letter.

Why? Because every minute we have to research, gather information and prepare is a minute to your advantage in applying for a DOH exemption or filing for an AHCA exemption from disqualification. I’ve seen it over and over again throughout my 10 years of experience, which includes working for the Florida DOH’s Prosecution Services Unit — the more prepared, articulate and confident applicants are the ones who succeed.

So don’t wait. Let’s get started. I may be able give you the best chance for an exemption, possibly without even a hearing — just as I’ve done numerous times for Florida healthcare professionals all over the state.

Schedule a complimentary consultation today.

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