You've worked hard to get where you are. As a dental hygienist, you spent a lot of time and money on the education you needed to even begin your career. Then there were state board exams and the application for licensure. This is not the kind of job you just fall into or apply for on a whim. You have a commitment to your profession and to helping the public with their dental needs.
Along with all the effort you have put in so far, you need to protect your license because your livelihood depends on it. But with a single allegation of wrongdoing, your entire career could hang in the balance. If you are being investigated for any kind of license violation, you will want the very best legal representation in your corner to protect your professional career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team have the knowledge, experience, and track record of success you'll want on your side, no matter where in the country you practice.
What Kind of Disciplinary Action Could You Be Facing?
Obviously, the biggest concern is having your license revoked. There are a variety of other penalties you could face besides that. Depending on the severity of the offense and how it was handled, other actions could be taken instead. They could include:
- License suspension. You could face a suspension for a certain period of time, but with the possibility of reinstatement after review.
- License restriction. The board could decide to prohibit you from certain activities and services, but allow you to still practice within those restrictions.
- Monetary fines. The board may impose a financial penalty.
- Mandatory continuing education. You could be required to complete certain continuing education training within a specific period of time or face a license suspension.
- Reprimand. The board may issue a formal reprimand or censure.
While these lesser penalties are much better than losing your professional license, they can still have a detrimental impact on your career since most disciplinary actions are a matter of public record. If a potential employer or patient does an online search and sees the disciplinary action, they may be reluctant to work with you.
This is why you will want to hire an experienced professional license defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing any kind of investigation into your professional license. You don't want to wait until a formal hearing, because the board could have already solidified its case against you by then.
The Disciplinary Process
Different state licensing boards will have their own policies and procedures regarding disciplinary actions, but they generally will follow a similar pattern. Nearly any disciplinary proceeding will begin with a formal complaint by a patient, colleague, other healthcare provider, insurer, or coworker.
Following the complaint, the licensing board will begin an investigation. They will request clarifications from the complainant, if needed, and ask for your response. Documents may be subpoenaed, and other witnesses may be interviewed.
Following those initial steps, the board may offer a consent order as an alternative to a formal hearing. This is a legally binding agreement between you, the board, and the state, where you voluntarily submit to disciplinary actions as prescribed by the board. It is highly recommended that you retain legal representation before you sign anything. As mentioned, this is legally binding.
If you choose not to sign a consent order, there will be a hearing to initiate the process of formal discipline. Since this is a legal proceeding, you may have your attorney represent you. When the hearings are concluded, the board will decide whether to take disciplinary action against you.
This doesn't have to be the end of the process, though. You have the right to appeal a decision that goes against you to the appellate court of your state.
It is important to know that the board can dismiss a complaint at any stage of the disciplinary process if they don't believe there is enough evidence or if there are mitigating circumstances. A professional license defense attorney may be able to get the complaint dismissed, or at least get reduced sanctions. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm License Defense Team will fight to protect your rights and your livelihood.
Improve Your Chances by Hiring a Professional License Defense Attorney
It is also possible to get your license reinstated if it has already been revoked. A professional license attorney will make your chances much better. They can coordinate your application, monitor the status, and negotiate with the board to get you the best terms possible for your reinstatement. A law firm with specific experience in professional licensing and administrative law can review the complaint with you, so you understand the implications and what's at stake. They can also work with you to create an effective defense strategy and act as your official legal representative in all interactions with the board, including a formal hearing, if necessary.
As soon as you are notified that you are under investigation, your first step should be to hire an experienced professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. Hiring an experienced attorney early in the process will allow your attorney and you more opportunities to negotiate with the board and possibly help you avoid a formal hearing, get a lesser penalty, or have the complaint dismissed altogether.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm have the knowledge to help you defend your license no matter where in the country you practice. Don't risk your career and livelihood over allegations of misconduct or a misunderstanding. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has a lengthy track record of success coast to coast in disciplinary defense, and they know how licensing boards operate.