New York Audiologist License Defense
If you're a licensed audiologist in New York, you've already invested a great deal of time and effort into building a career for yourself: 6-8 years of schooling, grueling exams, and thousands of hours of supervised field practice, for starters. You now have a solid, rewarding practice helping people with their hearing issues.
Ironically, a single mistake or accusation can threaten to unravel all of your hard work. Your livelihood hinges on your license, and if the New York State Department Office of the Professions (OP) receives a complaint about you, it could easily escalate into a full-scale investigation that puts your license--and, indeed, your career--at risk.
The good news is that you don't have to face this challenge alone--nor should you. With the help of an experienced New York license defense attorney, you can greatly improve your chances of keeping your license and minimizing the damage to your reputation and your career. With years of experience under his belt, Attorney Joseph D. Lento helps you face this crisis head-on. His Professional License Defense Team has the experience and knowledge necessary to help you achieve a favorable outcome. To discuss your case, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.
What Allegations Could Cause a New York Audiologist to Lose Their License?
The majority of issues warranting the loss of an audiologist's license arise from violations of the state's ethical codes and regulations, as well as acts that compromise public trust. These allegations may encompass, but are not limited to:
- Sexual misconduct. Complaints of sexual harassment or inappropriate romantic involvement with patients can lead to the revocation of your license. Such behavior is not only unethical but could cause irrevocable damage to both you and those around you.
- Gross negligence and/or incompetence. Your audiology license could be at risk if you're accused of committing errors that result in harm to patients or put their health at risk.
- Fraudulent or deceptive practices. Engaging in fraudulent activities such as altering records, false advertising, exaggerating your qualifications and credentials, billing for services not provided, or overcharging patients or insurance companies could lead to disciplinary action.
- Substance abuse. By taking part in drug use or drinking alcohol excessively, your ability to do your job safely and appropriately is significantly reduced, meaning that such a complaint could easily lead to the loss of your license.
- Criminal convictions. Criminal convictions, especially for offenses of moral turpitude such as theft, fraud, or abuse, can result in suspension or revocation of your license.
How Does the License Disciplinary Process Work in New York?
Most licensed professions in New York (including audiology) are regulated by the NYSED Office of the Professions (OP). The OP has established a fairly uniform process by which allegations of misconduct are investigated and disciplined. If you're accused of wrongdoing, your case will move through the following stages.
Almost every disciplinary action in New York begins with a formal complaint filed with the OP. Any member of the public can file a complaint against any licensed professional, but most complaints against audiologists originate with patients, colleagues, and in some cases, insurance providers.
Once a complaint has been filed, the OP will launch an investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint. During this stage, the OP will likely interview the complainant and any alleged witnesses, collect applicable documentation and evidence, review relevant facts and laws, and determine if disciplinary action is warranted. If insufficient evidence is found during the investigation, the OP will usually consider the matter closed at this point. If they do find enough evidence to warrant further action, they will forward the case to New York State's Department of Education Board of Regents for further review.
If the Board concurs that there is sufficient evidence to prove a violation, they will typically offer to have you sign a consent order in lieu of calling a hearing. This is essentially an agreement between you and the OP in which you admit to certain violations (or facts related to those violations) and consent to the recommended disciplinary action. This isn't always the best outcome you could hope for, but if disciplinary action is inevitable, a consent order gives you and your attorney an opportunity to negotiate for favorable terms--including either keeping your license in effect or including a pathway for reinstatement of your audiologist's license.
Hearing and Final Determination
If you choose not to accept the consent order or if the Board declines to offer one, you will be summoned to a formal hearing to present evidence to refute the complaint and/or show cause why you should be allowed to keep your license. It's highly advisable to have legal representation at this hearing as its outcome will directly affect your career. Once the hearing is finished, the Board will make a determination about your discipline, which can vary from an official censure to financial penalties or even complete revocation of your license.
The Advantage of Hiring a License Defense Attorney
The process of disciplinary actions against licensed professionals doesn't follow the same rules as if you were on trial for a crime. There is no guaranteed presumption of innocence, and the Board can find you guilty based only on a preponderance of the evidence (meaning they must be convinced you are at least 51 percent likely to have committed the offense). This puts you at a disadvantage from the moment a complaint is filed.
The best way to overcome this disadvantage is by hiring a license defense attorney who has experience in disciplinary matters and understands the complexities involved. A good attorney will review the complaint to develop a compelling defense, gather evidence and witnesses to refute the complaint, and negotiate at multiple points with the OP and the Board either to have the complaint dismissed or to agree to lesser penalties--preferably allowing you to keep your license. With the assistance of a qualified lawyer, you have a much better chance of saving your license and career than if you face these matters alone.
Don't let a misunderstanding or misstep derail everything you've worked for. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team will explore all options for working out a favorable resolution that keeps your career intact. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.