Becoming a licensed physician in Nebraska takes years of work and sacrifice. Whether you practice as a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy, you worked incredibly hard to obtain your degree and your license, and you have acted professionally during your time working as a physician. However, if you are facing accusations of wrongdoing or misconduct and resulting disciplinary charges from the Nebraska Board of Medicine and Surgery, your license could be in jeopardy—along with your ability to work in your chosen profession.
Professional license disciplinary hearings are nothing to take lightly. They can endanger your ability to practice medicine in Nebraska, which could fundamentally alter your life. In some cases, your physician's license could be suspended or permanently revoked as a result of disciplinary proceedings, which could permanently alter the course of your professional and personal life.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense team has years of experience helping physicians in Nebraska defend themselves from investigations that threaten their license. We represent physicians across the state, including cities like Omaha and Lincoln, as well as more rural areas. We understand the administrative hearing process and can help you understand this complex process and tell your side of the story. Contact us today at 888.535.3686 or use our online form to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.
Physician Licenses in Nebraska
In Nebraska, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for issuing and managing physician licenses, as well as investigating complaints of potential wrongdoing or professional misconduct. This department offers licenses for MDs AND DOs, as well as other healthcare professionals and other licensed occupations.
DHHS maintains an online database of licensed physicians, which also tracks the status of each physician's license and whether it is currently valid. Patients and members of the general public can check this database and see if any disciplinary action that has been taken against licensed physicians, either currently or in the past.
DHHS takes allegations of physician misconduct very seriously and will investigate them thoroughly. If it finds evidence that you have committed misconduct, DHHS won't think twice about taking action against you. Across Nebraska, physicians have found themselves facing life-changing hardships because of these investigations and their results.
If you are facing a DHHS investigation as a licensed Nebraska physician, you need to take the accusations very seriously and take action to defend yourself. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense team to get the legal help you need to protect your license.
Valuing Your Physician's License in Nebraska
As a doctor in Nebraska, you know the value of your physician's license. Without it, you cannot practice medicine in the state. It is literally vital for your profession. You poured countless hours and thousands of dollars into medical school and the process of passing your licensing exam, such as the USMLE. You no doubt chose the medical profession because you wanted to help patients and improve their health, and you've worked hard in your career to establish yourself as a respected physician in Nebraska and build a solid professional reputation. You make a difference in the lives of your patients and your community, and your medical license makes that possible.
For many physicians, practicing medicine is a vital part of their identity and something that they are very proud of. For all of these reasons, it is important to truly understand the value of your medical license. It provides you with the ability to pursue your career, make a living, and help your patients. A complaint against you to the DHHS could put all of that at risk.
Your medical license is incredibly valuable. If it is in jeopardy because of an investigation by the DHHS and potential disciplinary action against you, contact the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense team to advocate for you and help develop a defense strategy to protect your license.
What Disciplinary Charges Can Mean for Your Physician's License in Nebraska
Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-2037 authorizes DHHS to refuse a physician's license renewal, limit, revoke, or suspend the physician's license, or impose other disciplinary measures. Learning that DHHS is investigating you for physician license misconduct can be shocking. It can feel like you've done something wrong, like a black mark against you as a person. However, it's important to know that disciplinary charges are just accusations. As with criminal charges, they have to be investigated and proven. DHHS officials will notify you of disciplinary charges against you and give you an opportunity to defend yourself. They will investigate and gather evidence against you if it is available, but you will have the chance to defend yourself and tell your side of the story. The Lento Law Firm's experienced Professional License Defense Team can help you strategize about the best and most effective way to accomplish this. As a state agency, the DHHS has plenty of time and resources to complete a thorough investigation and find evidence against you, and they take their responsibility seriously. You need to have an experienced professional license defense team on your side that will fight just as hard for you.
Grounds for Charges that Could Jeopardize Your Physician's License
There are a number of statutory grounds on which the Nebraska DHHS can revoke or suspend a physician's license. Some of them are very specific, and others are broader categories of conduct. According to Nebraska Revised Statute 38-178, they include:
- Misrepresentation of material facts related to obtaining—or attempting to obtain—a license
- Immoral or dishonorable conduct that shows a physician is not fit to practice medicine, including sexual misconduct
- Unprofessional conduct
- Substance abuse or addiction, including alcohol abuse
- Refusing to follow a treatment or aftercare program or an aftercare program (including a program required under the Licensee Assistance Program)
- Being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony under Nebraska law or federal law, or a crime in another jurisdiction that would be considered a misdemeanor or felony under Nebraska law and can be shown to be connected to the license holder's ability to practice medicine
- Gross negligence in medical practice
- Practicing beyond one's scope, practicing fraudulently, or violating the Uniform Credentialing Act
- Practicing medicine while impaired by alcohol, controlled substances, drugs, mind-altering substances, physical disability, mental disability, or emotional disability;
- A legal judgment or other lawful determination that the physician is experiencing physical or mental incapacity to practice the profession
- Illness, deterioration, or disability that impairs the physician's ability to practice medicine
- Allowing, aiding, or abetting someone to practice medicine without a license
- Performing scleral tattooing (that is, tattooing the white part of the eye) or offering to perform scleral tattooing without proper qualifications
- Having a license revoked or suspended in another state or jurisdiction
- Utilizing untrue, misleading, or deceptive statements in advertising or being previously convicted of a similar offense
- Prescribing or distributing drugs or alcohol for unlawful purposes or violating the Uniform Controlled Substances Act
- Violating the Automated Medication Systems Act
- Failing to report violations that state statutes require to be reported
- Failure to maintain the requirements for their license
- Violation of a DHHS order
- Violation of an assurance of compliance entered required by the Board of Medicine and Surgery
- Failure to pay an administrative penalty
- Violating state statutes related to stem cell-based therapy
- Violating the Preborn Child Protection Act
In addition, physicians must also act in accord with Nebraska's Uniform Credentialing Act. Violating this Act could also lead to charges that could put your physician's license in danger.
Accusations that can put your license in danger can come from many sources, including patients, insurers, other healthcare professionals, or anyone else you come in contact with. DHHS takes accusations seriously, no matter where they come from.
These accusations are all very serious violations, and they could have major consequences on your profession and your life if they are leveled at you. Keep in mind that DHHS will not investigate matters related to fee disputes, insurance, labor issues, rudeness, or personality-related conflicts. Instead, they opt to focus more narrowly on serious issues that could affect someone's ability to make good medical decisions and conduct themselves according to professional standards of conduct. However, even with these limitations, they are still committed to investigating a broad array of accusations that could affect your physician's license in Nebraska.
DHHS's Investigation Process for Medical License Issues
Nebraska's DHHS takes complaints against physicians seriously and wants to investigate them fully in order to determine the truth of what happened—and what consequences or disciplinary action may be appropriate.
However, this doesn't mean that you don't have rights in this process. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, you are entitled to due process in these administrative hearings. Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-189 guarantees you notice and hearing on the disciplinary officials' charges. Notice and hearing means that you will have a chance to defend yourself and offer evidence on your own behalf before DHHS takes disciplinary action against you or revokes or suspends your physician's license. It is vital that you take full advantage of this opportunity if you are facing accusations that could threaten your ability to practice medicine in Nebraska. Contact the top-tier professional license defense attorneys of the Lento Law Firm to ensure your rights are protected during this complex process, and you can vigorously defend yourself.
How DHHS Investigates Accusations Against Licensed Physicians
When DHHS receives a complaint against a licensed physician in Nebraska, the organization's first step is to review it to determine if an investigation is warranted. All complaints that are received go through this review process. During this time, the department considers whether the report pertains to a matter that they have authority to represent, whether the complaint was filed in good faith, whether it relates to a timely matter, whether the person who made the complaint is willing to testify, whether other evidence of the potential violation is available, and whether there is a basis to believe that the allegation (if it is substantiated) could lead to discipline against the physician it relates to. Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-176 authorizes the department's director to pursue these disciplinary steps leading toward a formal petition for discipline.
If all of these conditions are met, the department will move forward with further investigation. The department will notify the person who filed the complaint of their decision about whether to move forward with a more in-depth investigation.
DHHS will thoroughly investigate matters that meet the criteria listed above, which could take a significant amount of time—sometimes weeks or months. Once the investigation is complete, an investigator will prepare a report for the Board of Medicine and Surgery.
The Role of the Nebraska Board of Medicine and Surgery
The Board of Medicine and Surgery will review reports about complaints against licensed physicians and recommend a course of action that fits the facts of the situation. Each investigation and Board of Medicine and Surgery report will be reviewed by the Attorney General of Nebraska, who will make a determination about whether there is clear evidence that the licensed physician in question violated standards or statutes. Based on the facts of the situation, the Attorney General may, under Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-186, file a petition with DHHS to discipline the physician, negotiate for the physician to surrender their license or place a voluntary limitation on it, or enter into a Consent Order with the physician.
Under Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-1,109, a Consent Order may require you to voluntarily surrender your license, pay a fine, complete substance abuse treatment, or take other actions as a result of the violation.
Each of these options is different, but they can all have massive consequences for your livelihood and your professional reputation as a licensed physician. You may be able to negotiate a Consent Order to change the terms to better fit your situation. In that case, the Lento Law Firm can help you present your case for a change to the Order.
In these tense situations, turn to the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for the top-tier legal reputation you need to protect yourself when your medical license is threatened.
Administrative Hearings for Physician License Defense
If you and the Board of Medicine and Surgery cannot agree to an outcome that fits the facts of your situation, under Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-188, you can attend an administrative hearing on the matter. In this context, the Board will present its evidence against you, and you will have an opportunity to respond. You can present evidence or testimony to tell your side of what happened and try to protect your professional license.
In some ways, administrative hearings may seem similar to civil or criminal trials, but they also follow their own set of complex rules and regulations. In these situations, it can be incredibly helpful to have an experienced professional license defense team by your side to help represent you, present relevant evidence and give you the best chance of avoiding consequences to your medical license. Don't try to go it alone in this type of hearing. Contact the Lento Law Firm today to get the legal help you need to present your case in an administrative hearing.
Consequences of DHHS Proceedings
If DHHS's investigation and hearing process finds evidence that you have committed misconduct that merits consequences to your license, sanctions under Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-196 could take one or more of these several forms:
- You could lose your license permanently. In some cases, you could lose the ability to practice medicine as a licensed physician altogether. In some cases, physicians negotiate to voluntarily surrender their license instead of having it revoked.
- Your license could be suspended. You may not be able to practice medicine for a set amount of time.
- You could be required to seek treatment or counseling or take other action to address the violation. For example, for physicians who are dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, treatment is often required before they can return to their profession.
Keep in mind also that Nebraska's DHHS maintains a publicly available database that tracks disciplinary findings against physicians in the state. That means that information about the consequences you faced could be readily available to the public, which could impact the rest of your life.
Appealing DHHS Decisions
Even if DHHS has decided to take action against your license, you still have the option under Nebraska Revised Statute Section 38-149 to appeal their decision and have your license reinstated. If you are facing a suspended license or limitations to your license, you can appeal this decision immediately. However, if your license has been revoked, you will need to wait two years before you can apply to have it reinstated.
In either situation, you will need to provide information to the Board of Medicine and Surgery and DHHS about why the suspension or revocation of your license should be reconsidered. It is vital to be certain that you are fully presenting your case in the most compelling way possible to give the best chance that they will reconsider their decision. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you put your best foot forward in this process and give you the best possible chance of getting your license fully reinstated as soon as possible.
Why You Need the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team
If you are facing an investigation that could threaten your Nebraska physician's license, you need to take it very seriously and seek legal help from the Lento Law Firm. Your defense team can help you respond to the accusations and gather evidence for your defense to present to the Board of Medicine and Surgery. If you want to negotiate to have charges dismissed or pursue another voluntary resolution, your Lento Law Firm attorney can help you pursue that course of action. Your attorney will also help you recognize any mitigating factors that could reduce the severity of the consequences you are facing. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can also advocate on your behalf in administrative hearings, which can make the process go more smoothly and ensure you are getting the best defense possible. Combined, all of these things can make certain that you are truly telling your side of the story and getting the due process you deserve.
Administrative hearings can be complex procedures, and many people are not familiar with them. Don't shortchange your defense during these important deliberations. Count on the Lento Law Firm to help you respond to accusations that are putting your physician's license in jeopardy in Nebraska.
Areas We Serve
We can represent and advise physicians located throughout Nebraska, including large cities such as:
- Grand Island
We also represent physicians from smaller towns, including:
- Red Cloud
We represent and advise physicians who work for a variety of hospitals and healthcare systems in Nebraska, including Bryan Health, CHI Health, Indian Health Service, MercyOne, Nebraska Methodist Healthcare System, Rural Nebraska Healthcare System, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Immanuel Medical Center, Creighton University Medical Center, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Bellevue Medical Center, Crete Area Medical Center, Kearney Regional Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center. Across the entire state, from Lyman in the west to Decatur in the east and everywhere in between, the Lento Law Firm can help physicians defend their licenses when they are facing charges that could lead to discipline or revocation.
Count on the Lento Law Firm for Help with Medical License Defense in Nebraska
No matter your area of medical practice or where you work in Nebraska, allegations of wrongdoing can threaten your medical license and change the course of your career and your life. The Board of Medicine and Surgery takes accusations against physicians very seriously and investigates them thoroughly, and they will not hesitate to discipline physicians who have made mistakes and violated statutes or professional standards of conduct. If you're facing accusations that could threaten your Nebraska physician's license, you need to have an attorney on your side to help you navigate the hearing process and obtain the most favorable outcome possible. The Lento Law Firm's elite Professional License Defense Team has years of experience representing physicians and licensed professionals around the country, and our team will fight for you and help you defend yourself throughout this complex process. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your situation by calling 888.535.3686 or contacting us online.