As the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) pursues criminal convictions against 78 defendants accused of various forms of healthcare fraud, healthcare professionals must pay close attention. In such a highly regulated industry, honest mistakes and errors can lead to serious criminal charges.
While we can be reasonably certain that the defendants in this federal case remain focused on their criminal defense, many of those defendants' attention will eventually turn to license defense.
Are Doctors and Nurses Precluded from Practicing Following Criminal Charges?
Not necessarily. State licensing boards generally issue license-related sanctions on a case-by-case basis. The Federation of State Medical Boards explains that medical boards can issue license-related sanctions (including possible revocation) against healthcare professionals accused of:
- Fraud (the primary offense alleged in the DOJ's recent spate of indictments)
- Sexual offenses
- Substance abuse
- Dangerous prescription of medication
- Conviction of a felony offense
One or more of these offenses could conceivably result in criminal proceedings. However, criminal proceedings alone do not mean a doctor will face license-related sanctions.
When a medical licensing board determines whether to sanction a healthcare professional, it may ask:
Did the Criminal Proceedings Relate Specifically to Your Role in Healthcare?
If the nature of criminal proceedings is not directly related to one's work in the healthcare field, there may be a lesser chance of license-related sanctions.
For example, the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics documents a case where a doctor was convicted of misdemeanor tax crimes and initially faced a 90-day license suspension. Yet, upon appeal, the doctor retained his license because the court determined that his offense did not constitute depravity in his private dealings that would warrant professional sanctions.
In other terms, a professional licensing board may be more likely to sanction you for transgressions that fall within the scope of your healthcare employment. Even so, sanctions for criminal proceedings in your private life are certainly not out of the question.
Were You Convicted?
Merely being charged with a criminal offense is not proof that you've done what you're accused of. However, if a jury finds you guilty or you plead to a criminal offense, you may be more likely to face license-related sanctions.
Even so, a conviction or guilty plea may not be necessary for a licensing board to take punitive action against you.
Do the Criminal Proceedings Suggest You Pose a Danger as a Healthcare Professional
A licensing board's duty, first and foremost, is to protect patients. If the licensing board reviews your case and determines you may pose a danger to others in a healthcare setting, it may suspend or revoke your license.
The capability of your attorney and the case they present on your behalf could be pivotal in determining whether you face license-related sanctions or how severe those sanctions are.
The Lento Law Firm Team Helps Medical Professionals Protect Their Licenses to Practice—We Can Help You, Too
We assist healthcare professionals who are facing potential sanctions on their license, whether or not they have faced criminal proceedings. Our legal team will prepare a defense and accompany you through any adjudication proceedings ahead.
Whether you are a doctor, nurse, or other type of healthcare professional, our help could prove invaluable in preserving your license. Call the Lento Law Firm Team today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online, and we will reach out to you.