When it comes to licensed osteopathic physicians and surgeons in New York, the importance of maintaining public trust cannot be understated. For this reason, the State of New York holds osteopathic doctors to the highest ethical and professional standards. If someone lodges a complaint indicating these standards have been violated, it can trigger an investigation that may result in disciplinary action against one's license to practice--possibly even having the license revoked.
If you are an osteopathic physician or surgeon in New York, your career hinges on your license. If that license is under investigation by the New York Office of Professional Conduct (OPMC), your livelihood is effectively at the mercy of a state agency that can rule against you based only on a preponderance of the evidence. That's why it is important to have a New York license defense attorney on your side to ensure your rights and interests are protected throughout the entire process.
If you are a professional in New York under investigation by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento. Mr. Lento has extensive experience representing professionals before the OPMC, and he and his team will fight to protect your license and livelihood. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
What Kinds of Charges Could Put Your New York Medical License in Jeopardy?
The Office of Professional Medical Conduct investigates complaints concerning a wide range of conduct—from unprofessional behavior to medical negligence and fraud. If you are the subject of an OPMC investigation, even if it is based on frivolous allegations or unfounded accusations, you are still vulnerable to disciplinary action. Examples of offenses that could endanger your license as an osteopathic physician or surgeon include:
- Sexual misconduct with patients or staff. Examples of misconduct include sexual harassment, sexual assault, or unwanted sexual advances. Romantic involvement with patients is also considered highly unethical and may be grounds for revoking your license.
- Inappropriate handling of prescriptions/medications. For example, prescribing medicines for a non-medical reason or pilfering medications allocated for somebody else.
- Gross negligence or incompetence in treating patients. Examples may include failing to provide proper care, making serious errors in diagnosis or treatment, performing unnecessary procedures, etc.
- Violation of confidentiality/privacy laws. For example, breaking confidentiality by discussing a patient's case with someone who is not part of the treatment team or disclosing protected health information without the patient's consent.
- Fraud. Examples include submitting insurance claims for services you didn't provide, "upcoding" certain procedures for greater insurance payouts, etc., altering patient records, etc.
- Substance abuse. If you abuse drugs or alcohol, you may lose your license to practice medicine because it raises concerns about whether you exercise sound judgment in treating your patients.
- Criminal convictions. Certain criminal convictions can disqualify you from practicing as a doctor in New York.
How Does the Disciplinary Process Work in New York?
New Yorkers can file complaints against licensed osteopathic physicians and surgeons through the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). The majority of these complaints are typically submitted by patients, coworkers, other practitioners, and occasionally insurance companies. Once a complaint has been filed, the disciplinary process goes through the following stages.
When the New York Office of Professional Medical Conduct receives a complaint, it will open an investigation. During the investigation, OPMC investigators may request documents from you and your practice, contact witnesses who can provide information about the incident or allegation in question, and do whatever else is necessary to determine whether disciplinary action against you is warranted. If the investigation doesn't yield sufficient evidence to support the complaint, the OPMC will typically consider the matter closed, but if they do find corroborating evidence, the matter will be referred to an investigation committee to review the complaint and decide whether to dismiss the complaint, continue investigating, or call a formal hearing.
A consent order is a legally binding agreement in which you voluntarily submit to the disciplinary actions recommended by the OPMC as an alternative to defending yourself at a formal hearing. A consent order may be negotiated at any point in the disciplinary process, but it's usually offered by the OPMC in situations where disciplinary action against your license is inevitable. In the right circumstances, a consent order can be a favorable option, particularly if your attorney succeeds in negotiating terms that either allow you to keep your license or provide a reinstatement option. But because a consent order is effectively an admission of guilt and can't be undone once it's signed, you should always consult with an attorney before agreeing to sign a consent order.
If the OPMC decides to move forward with disciplinary action against your license, you'll be given notice to appear at a formal hearing before the Board of Professional Medical Conduct. At this hearing, you'll be able to make your case as to why the Board should not revoke your license. You are allowed to have an attorney with you during the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board will make a final determination whether to impose disciplinary actions against you and what those actions will be--up to and including revoking your osteopathic physician or surgeon's license.
Why It's Critical to Get Help from a New York License Defense Attorney
From the moment a complaint is filed against your license to practice, you are effectively put at a disadvantage when it comes to defending your license. The OPMC takes allegations of misconduct very seriously, and there is no guaranteed presumption of innocence because the job of the OPMC is to protect the public first and foremost. They have a low burden of proof to decide you committed wrongdoing, and they are likely to err on the side of caution when making decisions about your license.
An experienced New York license defense attorney can help level the playing field and give you a better chance of saving your license. An attorney with specific experience in this type of law will know how the system works and can devise a strategy that greatly improves your chances of getting through the disciplinary process unscathed.
A good attorney will:
- Act as your legal representative in all interactions with the OPMC and Board.
- Analyze the accusation made against you and strategize which defense will be most likely to exonerate you.
- Gather evidence and witnesses to support your case.
- Negotiate with the OPMC at multiple points either to have the complaint dismissed or for lenient terms of discipline that enable you to keep your license.
- Negotiate favorable terms in a consent order.
- Defend you vigorously at a formal hearing.
- Appeal a negative decision.
- Assist with the process of reinstatement of your license if it has already been revoked.
If you're a licensed osteopathic physician or surgeon in New York, and you receive notice of a complaint filed against you, the attorney you choose can make all the difference in your case. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can greatly improve your chances of success in a license investigation. Call (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.