You devoted a lot of time, effort, and expense to getting your professional license in Minnesota, and you rely on your license to practice your trade. You understand that having a professional license serves as a badge to others that they can trust you to provide the utmost care or services at the highest professional and ethical standards.
Regardless of your profession, whether you're a physician, an accountant, an educator, or a dentist, you always face the risk of someone filing a complaint against you and jeopardizing your professional license.
Virtually anyone can file a complaint against you for any number of reasons depending on your career field, including patients, clients, customers, or students. If the complaints are serious, you could lose your license or face harsh administrative consequences that can undermine all you have worked so hard to achieve.
When you learn of a complaint against you or an impending investigation from your professional licensing board, you should contact an experienced professional license defense attorney in Minnesota immediately. Having an attorney represent you during all stages of the professional license disciplinary process is vital to safeguard your rights and interests and increase your chances of getting the most favorable outcome possible.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his experienced Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can evaluate your case and advise you of your options. They can also fight for you throughout all disciplinary proceedings to help you protect your license and your professional future. Contact the Lento Law Firm to schedule a comprehensive and confidential evaluation of your case.
Trust The Lento Law Firm to Help You Defend Your Professional License
Having a professional license is not a right. You must maintain good standing with your licensing board and adhere to their rules and regulations regarding accepted standards of conduct and professionalism.
If you violate any rules of conduct, you can experience severe repercussions that can greatly impact your ability to practice—you can even lose your professional license altogether.
Even though licensed professionals work in different fields and perform different services, many licensing boards in Minnesota have similar violations involving rules of conduct and professional standards.
For instance, doctors and teachers have very different job roles and licensing requirements, but either could face complaints for inappropriate sexual contact or abusing their place of authority (such as physically striking a patient or child). Also, if you are convicted of a crime such as DUI, you could face harsh disciplinary action from your professional licensing board, no matter your industry. The same holds true for violations like fraud, negligence, and other offenses.
Regardless of your career field, you need your license to maintain your practice, and any allegation of wrongdoing can adversely impact your reputation, your livelihood, and your future.
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has helped many licensed professionals across Minnesota with their serious licensing board issues. We can review your case and advise you of your options. We can also help you defend yourself against any allegations or assist with any licensing board appeals to help restore your license and good standing. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.
The Disciplinary Process for Licensed Professionals in Minnesota
Minnesota has many licensing boards that govern a broad range of professions and industries. The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice governs physicians and other healthcare practitioners, and the Minnesota Board of Nursing governs registered nurses. The state also has other licensing boards that govern Executives for Long Term Services and Support, Dentistry, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Physical Therapy, Podiatric Medicine, and Psychology. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry governs licensed professionals like plumbers, electricians, building inspectors, and others.
Although licensing boards may adhere to different regulations or employ different guidelines, their disciplinary process is similar. Many Minnesota licensing boards prefer a complainant to try and resolve the issue directly with the practitioner. If that proves futile or is impossible due to the nature of the complaint, the person may file a formal complaint.
In Minnesota, the initial action that begins most professional license disciplinary actions is someone filing a complaint against you. Many licensing boards allow people to submit complaints anonymously, but doing so usually slows down the investigation because of the lack of identifying information. Also, most licensing boards cannot guarantee a complaint will remain confidential.
Complaints can come from just about any source, depending on your profession, including:
- Other doctors and physicians
- Other licensed practitioners in your field
- Coworkers and colleagues
- Clients or customers
- Students or parents
Also, insurance providers can file complaints against you for alleged fraud, and court clerks may notify a licensing board if you are convicted of a crime.
After receiving the complaint, the licensing board will review it to determine if you violated a rule of conduct and whether the Board has jurisdiction over the matter. The Board will also determine if the complaint has merit. Sometimes, complaints quickly prove frivolous, or boards can resolve issues promptly without imposing administrative penalties. Other times, complaints warrant further investigation.
If they determine the complaint requires further investigation, the Board will assign an investigator to handle the case. The investigator should inform you of the investigation and, if possible, provide you with a copy of the complaint. The investigator will then review all information and evidence regarding the complaint. They will also thoroughly review all your professional records and interview others who may be able to offer material testimony regarding the matter.
When you learn of the complaint, you need to consult an experienced professional license defense attorney right away. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced Professional License Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm can review your case and advise you on the best way to respond to the investigator.
Stipulation and Consent Orders
A licensing board can take disciplinary actions against you if it finds sufficient grounds that you violated a rule of conduct or accepted standard of care. One such action is to issue a stipulation agreement that outlines the sanctions and other penalties the Board finds as a just consequence of your violations. Most often, these agreements result from negotiations with the Board, and they become a matter of public record.
You should have a professional license defense attorney represent you during negotiations with the Board. If you do not agree with the public action, you can proceed to a formal hearing and defend yourself against the allegations. Contact the experienced Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm for help.
If there is no agreement with the licensing board regarding the stipulation agreement, the Board will conduct a formal hearing. A hearing is similar to a court trial, where the Board will present evidence against you, and you have the opportunity to respond.
Upon hearing the evidence and arguments from both sides, the Board will render a verdict regarding any disciplinary actions it will pursue against you. If found guilty, you could face a range of consequences that include limitations on your practice, having your license suspended for a certain time, or having your license revoked altogether.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help Protect Your Professional License
So much depends on your professional license that you need an experienced attorney on your side to represent and advise you throughout all disciplinary proceedings. You want to devise the most effective defense possible, and Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can help by:
- Reviewing the complaint thoroughly and recommending a defense strategy
- Gathering evidence and witness testimony
- Representing you in all interactions with the investigator and licensing board
- Drafting and submitting a convincing response to the complaint to try and resolve the matter quickly
- Negotiating with the licensing board to dismiss your case or reduce the severity of the consequences
- Advocate for you to help you get favorable terms in the stipulated agreement
- Fight for your rights at the formal hearing
You don't want to try to handle the matter on your own since so much is at stake. Contact The Lento Law Firm for a complete review of your case and advice on how to best handle the situation.
Areas We Serve in Minnesota
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm represents all types of licensed professionals throughout Minnesota, including licensed professionals in the following districts:
The seat of Hennepin County and Minnesota's largest city, Minneapolis, has a population of nearly 430,000. It's home to the headquarters of several major corporations, and it has historically served as the second-largest Midwest economic center besides Chicago. Minneapolis is also home to several major medical centers, including Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, Hennepin Healthcare, and others. Hennepin Healthcare also serves as a teaching hospital and has a Level I trauma center.
The state's capital, St. Paul, sits just southeast of Minneapolis on the bend of the Mississippi River and has a population of around 311,000. St. Paul is home to a major chemical company and other professional industries. It is also home to United Hospital, Regions Hospital, and M Health Fairview Bethesda Hospital.
The seat of Olmsted County and home to more than 121,000, Rochester is also the base of the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic is the area's largest employer, with more than 34,000 employees. It also draws millions of visitors each year, and its facilities and the ancillary businesses that support them comprise the bulk of downtown. IBM also has a major research and development facility in Rochester.
A port city on the shores of Lake Superior, Duluth is home to almost 87,000 people. The city also has several major professional industries, including engineering, technology, research laboratories, and chemical companies--along with being the headquarters of Duluth Trading Company. The city is also home to Essential Health, which employs more than 15,000 and has more than 2,200 physicians.
St. Cloud, Minnesota, has a population of almost 69,000, and it's the seat of Stearns County. The city's largest employer is CentraCare Health System St. Cloud Hospital, with just over 7,800 employees.
Offenses or Allegations That Might Jeopardize Your Professional License
A professional license is supposed to garner public trust in the professionalism of licensed service providers and practitioners. All licensing boards in Minnesota take allegations of wrongdoing seriously, and some common reasons people file complaints include:
Doctors, pharmacists, and other licensed healthcare professionals could face complaints for allegations of fraud if found committing any of the following:
- Overbilling patients
- Billing insurance providers or patients for services the doctor did not provide
- Upcoding, which uses a more expensive charge code than the one for the lower-cost service provided
- Accepting money or expensive gifts for referrals
- Providing services outside their practice's scope
- Falsifying patient diagnoses to collect higher reimbursements from insurers
Additionally, professionals such as accountants, securities brokers, and others may face allegations of fraud.
Abuse, Gross Negligence
For physicians and other healthcare providers, a patient could accuse you of endangering or violating their health, safety, or well-being by:
- Physically or emotionally abusing them
- Sexually assaulting them
- Violating their patient confidentiality
- Making medical or prescription errors
Sexual Misconduct/Inappropriate Relationships
Among the most serious allegations are those for inappropriate sexual or romantic relationships with patients, clients, or students. Also, sexual assault or sexual harassment can lead to serious legal repercussions.
Inappropriate Handling of Medications
Certain healthcare providers can also get in trouble for incorrectly prescribing, dispensing, or tracking medication. You can also face harsh consequences if found stealing medication, selling prescriptions, or prescribing medication outside your practice area.
Inaccurate Record Keeping
You can face serious consequences if you keep incomplete or disorganized patient records. The same applies if you falsify patient records or have false records in your possession.
If you struggle with alcohol or drug addiction or abuse that affects your practice, you could face harsh disciplinary action.
Licensed professionals can face severe consequences to their license and their future if convicted of a crime. This is especially true for physicians convicted of a crime "reasonably related to the practice of medicine."
The Lento Law Firm: Professional License Defense for Licensed Professionals in Minnesota
The Professional License Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm represents a broad range of licensed professionals throughout Minnesota, including:
- Physician assistants
- Mental health professionals
- Physical therapists
- Social workers
- Real estate agents
- Insurance agents
- K-12 educators
Additionally, the Lento Law Firm also represents other licensed professions, such as building professionals, financial professionals, legal professionals, insurance professionals, morticians, and others.
Regardless of your field or industry, allegations can adversely affect your professional license and have far-reaching impacts on your career and future. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team have many years of experience representing clients before various licensing boards throughout Minnesota. We can advise you of your rights and options and fight hard to help you protect your license and your future.
Call (888) 535-3686 or go online to schedule a review of your case. Do not wait. The sooner you retain experienced legal counsel, the sooner you can respond to any allegations or complaints against you and increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome.