We are committed to serving New York physicians that are before the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). This includes medical professionals investigated or prosecuted after a misconduct accusation. As outlined by Education Law, the issue of professional misconduct within the state of New York is wide-ranging.
Some of the more common issues that are classified as professional misconduct among New York physicians and considered worthy of discipline include violating HIPAA law, negligence or incompetence, having a criminal conviction, disciplinary action taken in another state, poor recordkeeping, breach of patient boundaries, billing fraud, practicing under the influence of drugs or alcohol, insurance fraud, being mentally or morally unfit, false statements provided during license renewal, practicing beyond one’s professional scope, failing to supervise staff, and allowing unlicensed personnel to perform duties without proper licensing.
About OPMC Investigations
In the event that you are the target of an OPMC investigation, it is imperative that you understand what’s involved and how to respond appropriately. The initial stages of the investigation includes the OPMC’s response to an accusation of misconduct against you. There are regional OPMC offices in New York City and upstate New York. A representative from one of the offices will typically contact you relatively soon after an allegation is received.
The OPMC will request an interview with the physician after an investigation of professional misconduct has commenced. They will often request patient records and other types of documentation. The subject of the investigation is required by law to comply with the OPMC’s request for documentation. While you are required to provide the documentation requested, you are not a obligated to accept an interview. In fact, it is wise to have legal representation before you have a conversation with an OPMC investigator.
It’s common for physicians to think speaking with an OPMC investigator is fine because they simply want to provide the information requested to expedite a resolution. Even when the allegations made are unwarranted, participating in an interview can become problematic because what you say will be used against you. The statements that you make can potentially result in new charges. Consulting with a lawyer in advance will enable you to gain a better understanding of what’s involved in an investigation. This will equip you to respond appropriately. After an interview is conducted, the OPMC will determine whether or not there is enough evidence to advance the matter to a professional misconduct case.
If a decision has been made to move forward, the information obtained by the OPMC investigator will be turned over to the Investigation Committee, which consists of doctors and a layperson. This committee is responsible for reviewing the details of the case to make a determination regarding a disciplinary hearing. If the Investigation Committee believes their is a sufficient amount of evidence to support the claim of professional misconduct, disciplinary charges are likely. Depending on the nature of the case, there’s a chance that the matter will be made public. This generally happens when the issue is considered a public health risk. If that’s the case, the physician’s license may be summarily suspended before the hearing takes place.
In the State of New York, penalties in medical disciplinary cases are wide-ranging. Some of the common penalties include reprimand, monetary fines, suspension, license annulment, probation, license limitation, license revocation or community service.
Appealing the Hearing Committee’s Decision
If you are a physician and your license has been negatively affected by a charge of professional misconduct, you can appeal the decision of the hearing committee under CPLR Article 78. The decision will be appealed through the Administrative Review Board (ARB). The appellate process enables to you to challenge the decision.
Being the subject of an investigation by the OPMC can feel daunting. It’s a situation that threatens your livelihood and everything you have worked to achieve throughout your career. This is a situation that should be handled in consultation with an experienced lawyer. We are here to help you understand the process of an OPMC investigation and ensure your interests are protected. Call us for a consultation today or to get answers to any questions you have.