On appeal from order of respondent.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt and Justices Case, Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling and Ackerson. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Burling, J.
This appeal brings before us for determination a decision and order of the Commissioner of the Department of Institutions and Agencies of this State (hereinafter referred to as the Commissioner), effecting denial of the application of the petitioner-appellant, Bessie M. Holly (hereinafter referred to as the petitioner), for a license to operate a nursing home. The appeal was taken to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court pursuant to Rule 3:81-8, and while pending there was certified to this court upon our own motion.
The petitioner made oral application in March, 1949, to the Department of Institutions and Agencies of this State (hereinafter referred to as the Department) for a license to permit her to operate a nursing home at 668 West Crescent Avenue, Allendale, New Jersey, and in the same month submitted to the Department, letters of recommendation in connection with her application. On April 26, 1949, she submitted to the Department a written application for such a license.
By notice of denial, dated July 18, 1950, the Commissioner informed the petitioner that her application for license was denied for the following reasons:
"1. That on or about July 29, 1948, you were charged with practicing medicine without a license and as a result thereof made voluntary payment of a money penalty to the State of New Jersey.
2. Further that on or about March 31, 1949, in the County of Rockland, New York, you entered a plea of guilty to a charge of illegal practice of medicine and were required to pay a fine of $250."
The petitioner appealed this denial of license by letter dated July 28, 1950, and the Commissioner arranged for a hearing of the matter pursuant to the authority vested in him by R.S. 30:11-3, as amended by L. 1947, c. 340, p. 1093, sec. 3. The hearing was held on October 6, 1950, before the Commissioner and a member of the Hospital Licensing Board of New Jersey. No question is raised concerning the validity of this procedure. At this hearing the petitioner admitted that she had pleaded guilty to a charge of illegal practice of medicine in the State of New York on March 31, 1947 (stated in the notice of denial, supra, as March 31, 1949) and had paid a fine of $250 as a consequence thereof. She also admitted that on or about July 29, 1948, she had been served with a complaint charging that she had practiced medicine without a license in the State of New Jersey, and, further, that she had made a payment of $150 to the State of New Jersey in settlement of the claim for the statutory penalty exhibited in the complaint, and subsequently said complaint was dismissed by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, the plaintiff therein. An attempt was made by the petitioner to introduce evidence to show the circumstances upon which the New York and New Jersey charges of unauthorized practice of medicine respectively were made. This offer was refused by the Commissioner.
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the Commissioner on November 6, 1950, filed his decision and order stating, inter alia:
"The law further requires the applicant to furnish evidence of her ability to comply with minimum standards of nursing and hospital care and to demonstrate that she has financial ability to operate the institution and is of good moral character.
It is the determination of the Hospital Licensing Board and of this department that the applicant has ...