Case Studies: Other Medical and Healthcare Professionals

Cardiovascular Technician Fights Discipline Over Sexual Harassment Charges

The medical licensing Board of a small Northeast state issued disciplinary charges against a cardiovascular technician. The charges alleged that the technician had made unwanted sexual advances and directed offensive sexual jokes toward hospital colleagues, resulting in a sexually hostile and harassing work environment. The technician's hospital employer terminated the technician without hearing and forwarded the complaints to the medical licensing Board. The licensing charges threatened the revocation of the technician's license. When the technician was unable to obtain other interim employment in the same medical field or any other healthcare field, the technician retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Firm requested a formal board hearing on the charges according to state administrative procedures. The Firm also requested specification of the charges and disclosure of the Board's evidence. The Board's disciplinary official was unable to specify the charges or provide any evidence because the hospital had not done so in its complaint. The Firm's investigator obtained statements from several of the technician's hospital co-workers indicating that the technician was not offensive or harassing, only unusually outgoing, and suggesting that only supervisors had complained and only about the technician's outgoing nature, not about sexual harassment. When no hospital witness corroborated the hospital's broad and vague allegations, and the only hospital witness to testify, a supervisor, tended to corroborate that the technician was only unusually outgoing, the hearing panel found in the technician's favor. The Board dismissed the complaint. The Team negotiated a recommendation letter and reference for the technician to obtain equivalent employment at a competing hospital.

Dental Hygienist Satisfies Continuing Education to Gain Reinstatement After License Suspension

The disciplinary director of a dental board for a North Central state served a notice of discipline on a dental hygienist. The notice informed the hygienist that she had failed to timely complete continuing education and that the dental Board had accordingly suspended her license, requiring that she immediately desist dental hygienist employment and practice. The notice further informed the hygienist that she could appeal the suspension by invoking state administrative procedures. The notice finally informed the hygienist that if she did not remediate the deficiency within a certain period, the suspension would become a license revocation, requiring the hygienist to find a new career. The hygienist had, in fact, completed continuing education, although dental board public information conflicted on whether that education satisfied license requirements. The hygienist had confirmed orally with a dental board office worker that the education would satisfy requirements, but the hygienist had no documentation, and the dental Board now maintained otherwise. Without the time to repeat the continuing education through an approved provider and now unemployed, the hygienist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Team investigated the dental Board's public disclosure, confirming a reasonable basis to believe that the client hygienist had reasonably construed her continuing education as qualifying. The Team submitted that documentation to the dental Board while also requesting that the dental Board disclose the names of other hygienists who had also qualified using continuing education from the disputed provider, of which the client hygienist knew there were several. The dental Board instead dismissed the charges and reinstated the hygienist's license.

Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist Avoid License Revocation Under New Scope of Practice Rules

The division of consumer affairs of a Central Midwest state's health and human services department served a notice of discipline on a licensed dietitian nutritionist. The notice alleged that the dietitian nutritionist had exceeded the scope of the license and engaged in unauthorized medical practice. The notice did not specify the complainants or the involved patients, alleged actions, or alleged dangers or harms. The dietitian nutritionist attempted several ways to get that information from disciplinary officials without success. The notice required the dietitian nutritionist to appear for an investigatory interview on a date ten days from service of the notice. The notice warned that failure to appear could result in default confirming the allegations and resulting in discipline up to license revocation. Unable to discern the nature of the alleged wrongs and unprepared for an interview, the dietitian nutritionist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Team obtained an adjournment of the investigatory interview and a specification of the charges. The specification alleged that the dietitian nutritionist had recommended to patients in person and online, and in social media posts, certain supplements, medications, medication changes, and dosages that only physicians could lawfully prescribe. The specification referred to new rules that the division of consumer affairs had just promulgated in response to consumer and physician concerns and dietitian nutritionist requests for clarified licensing guidelines. The Team and client dietitian nutritionist obtained a negotiated consent agreement ensuring the client's compliance with the new rules. The division of consumer affairs accordingly dismissed the charges.

Hearing Aid Specialist Defeats Disciplinary Charges Over Alleged False Advertising

The professional licensing division of a Central state health department notified a hearing aid specialist of disciplinary charges against the specialist's state license. The specialist could not practice without the license and would lose the specialist's profitable hearing aid practice employing several others. The charges alleged that the specialist's online advertising and printed brochures no longer complied with state and federal regulations after FDA approval of certain over-the-counter devices qualifying as hearing aids. The charges further indicated that they were part of a broad enforcement effort to bring hearing aid specialists into compliance with the new regulations. The charges further indicated that the specialist could consent to a violation, reprimand, and public notice of reprimand while avoiding license suspension or revocation if the specialist promptly corrected the advertising and signed a consent agreement. Willing to modify advertising but concerned that the reprimand would affect the profitable practice, the specialist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Team negotiated a consent agreement with the disciplinary official that avoided reprimand. Competitor specialists who accepted the initial consent agreement suffered reprimand and loss of business.

EMT Paramedic Retains Professional License After Drunk Driving Arrest

The health professions licensing Board of a Central Plains state charged an emergency medical technician and paramedic with professional misconduct after the EMT paramedic suffered a drunk driving arrest. The charges alleged that the EMT paramedic's alleged drunk driving placed the public and emergency medicine patients and co-workers at a substantial safety risk. The notice of charges indicated that the licensing Board would suspend the paramedic's professional license if the paramedic did not show cause why the paramedic should retain that license at a hearing in the next ten days. The EMT paramedic promptly retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to prepare for the hearing. The Team obtained police documentation that the EMT paramedic's drunk driving arrest did not occur during the course of paramedic services but instead in the paramedic's personal vehicle when the paramedic was returning from a social event. The Team further obtained documentation supporting that the client paramedic had no intoxicant addiction or habitual practice of imbibing. The Team also confirmed that the licensing Board had a practice of foregoing interim license suspension under reliable documentation of these circumstances. On that basis, the Team contacted the licensing official, submitted the documented assurances, and obtained a consent agreement permitting the client paramedic to retain the license without a hearing. The Team and client paramedic obtained further documentation of the paramedic's substance abuse assessment and education, on the basis of which the licensing official offered a consent agreement for conditional dismissal of the charges. The client paramedic continued with EMT paramedic employment, unaffected by the proceedings.

Orthotist Prosthetist Wins Prompt Dismissal After Attorney Appearance and Requests

The health professions licensing Board of an Upper Midwest state notified an orthotist prosthetist of disciplinary charges. The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics simultaneously notified the orthotist prosthetist that state discipline might result in the revocation of the orthotist prosthetist's national certification. The orthotist prosthetist relied on both the state license and national certification to qualify for a fruitful metropolitan practice, professional appointments, and adjunct teaching in an orthotist and prosthetist program. The disciplinary charges alleged that the orthotist prosthetist had made false assurances and guarantees of the effectiveness and success of several prosthetic devices and fittings for one patient in particular and potentially other patients receiving similar devices and services. The orthotist prosthetist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to discover the Board's undisclosed basis for the charges and to defend the charges. The Team notified the Board of the Team's retention, invoked the Board's administrative procedures, and requested a specification of the charges and disclosure of the supporting evidence. Instead of complying with the Team's requests, the Board's disciplinary director replied with notice of the Board's voluntary abandonment and dismissal of the charges. While the director did not disclose the grounds, other sources indicated that the Board was aware of the orthotist prosthetist's outstanding reputation for sound professional service and of the skill and experience of the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team.

Physician Assistant Avoids Discipline for Alleged Practice Without Supervision

The medical licensing Board of a Southern Seaboard state served notice of disciplinary charges on a physician assistant practicing as part of a physician practice group. The charges alleged that the physician assistant practiced medicine without the required supervision of a licensed medical doctor. Another physician assistant in the same practice group received similar charges. The charges followed a proceeding against one of the same practice group's physicians, in which the licensing Board revoked the physician's medical license for substandard medical practice and patient abandonment and neglect. When the practice group failed to retain independent counsel for the physician assistant to defend the licensing proceeding, the physician assistant retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Team and physician assistant discerned that the licensing Board's charges were further efforts to pursue, limit, and discipline the practice group for substandard practice and non-compliant management. The Team's strategic approach before the licensing Board was thus to show the client physician assistant's strict compliance with all PA standards without purporting to defend the undisciplined practice group. The strategy succeeded in winning a consent resolution in which the licensing Board dismissed the charges without any finding of wrongdoing, facilitating the physician assistant's resignation from the suspect practice group in favor of new employment with a sound competitor. The client physician assistant avoided any discipline while improving professional employment.

Podiatrist Avoids License Revocation over Alleged Insurance Fraud

The Board of podiatry examiners of a Southwest state notified a podiatrist in a thriving metropolitan practice of disciplinary charges. The charges alleged that the podiatrist had committed insurance fraud by charging for services the podiatrist had not performed. The charges further alleged that the podiatrist had committed billing and insurance fraud by upcoding the billing from a less-expensive procedure that the podiatrist actually performed to a more-expensive procedure that the podiatrist had not performed. The charges finally alleged that the podiatrist had billed for tests either not performed or performed when unnecessary. The podiatrist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to defend the charges. The Team's investigation revealed what the podiatrist had suspected. The podiatrist's financial manager, whom the podiatrist had recently terminated for suspected embezzlement, had complained to the Board of podiatry examiners. The Team retained a forensic accountant and insurance expert to analyze the billing and medical records. The Team requested a full formal hearing before the Board, expecting to cross-examine the complainant financial manager while presenting the forensic accounting analysis. When the financial manager failed to appear for the scheduled hearing, the Board adjourned the hearing to a second date. When the financial manager failed to appear for the rescheduled hearing, the Board dismissed the charges for lack of evidence, and on the basis of the forensic analysis, the Team and client podiatrist had disclosed in pre-hearing submissions.

Psychologist Successfully Defends Dual-Relationship Charges

The mental health professions board of a Pacific Coast state notified a licensed clinical psychologist of disciplinary charges. The charges alleged that the psychologist had entered into an inappropriate dual business relationship with a patient under mental health treatment. State and national professional codes of ethics generally prohibit dual relationships with only limited exceptions. The charges alleged that the psychologist had commissioned, purchased, and sold paintings and other art works through a patient whom the psychologist was counseling at the time of those transactions. The patient was an artist and art broker with whom the psychologist had a long personal and professional acquaintance. The artist had complained to the licensing Board after a dispute developed between the artist and psychologist over the ownership and payment for certain art pieces and commissions. The psychologist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to defend the disciplinary charges while facilitating the potential resolution of the private dispute over artworks. The Firmand client psychologist agreed to attempt a mediation of the art dispute before pursuing the licensing hearing. The mediation resulted in an agreement resolving the art dispute, in which the artist further agreed to withdraw the licensing complaint. The licensing Board nonetheless, required the Team and client psychologist to show at a streamlined hearing at which the artist did not appear that the business relationship arose before and outside of the professional relationship so as not to constitute an inappropriate dual relationship. The Board then dismissed the charges.

Speech Language Pathologist Retains Certification in the Face of Substance Abuse Charges

The professional licensing division of a Northeast state notified a speech-language pathologist working for a large suburban school district of disciplinary charges. The charges alleged that the speech-language pathologist had seen students for assessment and treatment while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, in violation of state and professional standards. The allegations arose after two separate embarrassing incidents in which the speech-language pathologist had returned to school expecting to do only records work after a celebratory off-site lunch with friends but had instead seen students and school colleagues while arguably intoxicated. Teachers and students had alerted the school leader whose investigation unintentionally alerted state disciplinary officials. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association notified the speech-language pathologist that state license discipline would likely result in the revocation of national certification. The speech-language pathologist retained the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Team and client pathologist agreed to propose remedial plans and actions in an effort to avoid discipline. The client pathologist's prompt implementation of the plan led disciplinary officials to propose a consent agreement for conditional dismissal of the disciplinary charges. The client pathologist gladly accepted the offer, having already satisfied most of the conditions out of personal interest to address personal issues affecting the pathologist's professional future.


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