Physicians invest a respected degree of time, work and money into their mission to save human lives and extend health. So they need formidable defense and advocacy when their professional conduct and work are questioned or, worse, their physician’s license is at risk.
Physicians Have Rights To Retain and Defend Their Licenses
The Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) in the State of New York is the governing body of cases and complaints brought against physicians, among others. Experienced NYC physician license defense lawyers know the ins and outs of this office. Time is of the essence for appropriate defenses, orders, dismissals and appeals.
With attorneys’ expert knowledge and impartial investigating, physicians can prove their conduct was professional and get back to doing what they love most: saving lives.
Physician Professional Misconduct Explained
In fairness, physicians can’t always work miracles and some cases are hopeless for reasons far beyond them. A social contract exists between humanity and physicians to trust everything is done in patients’ best interests. For this reason, physicians may not be hauled into court when they lose a patient and they may not receive mob justice for human error vulnerabilities.
They can, however, be held accountable for behavior and actions unbecoming of the high position they occupy in society. The general public and patients have rights to guarantee no physician exploits power for personal gain and benefits.
License Removal Offenses
The following are common offenses we see cases to remove a physician’s license for.
- Negligent records that prevent optimal patient care
- Insurance fraud and embezzlement
- HIPAA code violations
- Use of unlicensed personnel to save money or time
- Overstepping patient boundaries, such as hostile comportment and romantic pursuit
- Falsifying license renewal application information
- Practicing outside of specialty
- Practicing while intoxicated
- An unrelated criminal conviction in any jurisdiction
This list is a sample of reasons medical license investigation and discipline may arise.
Professional Misconduct Cases Are Grueling
Physicians are not beyond reproach. This is a protective measure for them and the masses they treat. The occasion of professional conduct investigation can be an opportunity, albeit a stressful one, for physicians to improve their practices and reaffirm their commitments to medicine.
For such an opportunity in New York state, physician license defense lawyers are essential partners. This ordeal begins with an OPMC mail or telephone notification to the physician that a case exists. The physician is under obligation to comply with steps and requests.
If evidence of professional misconduct is discovered, recommendations go forward with an Investigation Committee (two doctors and one non-medical professional). For extreme accusations, they have powers to recommend a license is summarily suspended before the hearing.
Most cases resolve before medical disciplinary hearings, presided over by an administrative law judge while the Committee has final say. Light penalties include reprimand, fines and community service while the harshest outcome is license revocation. An application for “consent order” requires admission of wrongdoing for severe penalty avoidance.
License Attorneys Prove Your Integrity
Although an OPMC investigation is not criminal, the same wise precautions apply. No physician has to answer to or interview with anyone without attorney representation. Attorneys can intervene even after physicians have begun the process with innocent cooperation, later understanding the seriousness of beliefs they acted unprofessionally.
Attorneys communicate with the OPMC on clients’ behalves and will advise a halt to meeting with investigators if necessary. For physicians who interview, lawyers prepare a Report of Interview to add to proving their cases.
The goal is stop a physician from any appeals processes, starting with the Administrative Review Board (ARB), which includes three doctors and two non-medical professionals. Challenging the initial committee and the ARB’s decisions is possible due to CPLR Article 78. However, the tables turn to require a physician to prove these bodies’ misconduct.
We are a New York City law firm with capabilities as nonjudgmental allies for physicians in this frightening situation. If you are a New York state physician with an OPMC case or decision, contact us for proven protection of physicians’ licenses.