As a licensed hearing aid specialist in Pennsylvania, you've built a respectable career based on helping people with their hearing issues. It's a profession that requires skill, passion, and commitment, but the results can be truly rewarding. Unfortunately, your hard-earned license may be at risk if a complaint is made against you or the Pennsylvania Department of Health launches an investigation. If this is happening to you, your mind may be filled with questions. What happens if they find that I violated state policies or regulations? What if the accusations are based on a simple misunderstanding? What if I'm falsely accused? Could this issue truly end my career?
The truth is, yes, it could--if the board believes the evidence against you is compelling enough. The best way to prevent this outcome is to hire a Pennsylvania license defense attorney at the first sign of trouble. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience with cases like yours, and he and his Professional License Defense Team know how to navigate the license defense process to get you the best possible resolution. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
What Types of Allegations Could Jeopardize a Hearing Aid Specialist's License?
A hearing aid specialist's license can be revoked for a variety of reasons, but it usually involves breaking either state regulations or breaching the public trust by disregarding ethical or professional standards established by the state. Common examples include:
- Gross negligence or incompetence. If hearing aids are not fitted or configured accurately, they can do more harm than good to the user. So can simply fitting someone for a hearing aid when they have a more serious health issue requiring specialized care from an audiologist, and you fail to refer them. Should you act negligently in your practice resulting in harm to those under your care, you could lose your license.
- Fraud. Examples include overbilling for services or products, fraudulent insurance billing, misrepresenting your credentials to patients, false advertising, etc.
- Unprofessional/unethical conduct toward patients or colleagues. Being verbally or physically abusive, behaving in an offensive manner in the office, sexual harassment--these are all examples of unprofessional conduct that could cost you your license.
- Substance abuse/addiction. If you have a substance abuse or addiction problem and it interferes with your ability to do your job, this could lead to license suspension/revocation.
- Criminal convictions. Being convicted of certain crimes, especially crimes of moral turpitude or crimes related to your profession may result in disciplinary action against you.
- Performing services that are outside the scope of your license.
- Permitting unlicensed employees to perform functions that require a license.
Overview of the License Disciplinary Process
Most license disciplinary actions begin when someone files a complaint. The State of Pennsylvania has a streamlined system for receiving complaints and investigating allegations of misconduct. Any member of the public can file a complaint against a licensed professional (including hearing aid specialists) with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). From there, the disciplinary process moves through a series of stages as follows.
To start the inquiry, the BPOA will assign a Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) investigator to gather all pertinent evidence associated with the complaint. This may include interviewing the complainant or any other witnesses that may have been present, in addition to issuing subpoenas for documents and other fact-finding efforts. You may be asked to submit a written response to the complaint, as well, along with any evidence you have that may uphold your version of what happened.
If a BEI investigator discovers substantial evidence of wrongdoing against you, the BPOA might offer to sign a consent agreement with you instead of initiating an official hearing. By signing this agreement, you agree to accept any disciplinary action proposed by the licensing board willingly and without further dispute. This isn't always the right course of action, but if disciplinary action is inevitable, it might be your best option--especially if your attorney can negotiate either to keep your license active or to include a path for reinstatement.
If no agreement can be reached, you will then face an official hearing before a state examiner. During the hearing, you'll be asked to show cause why your license as a hearing aid specialist should remain intact. After the hearing is completed, the Board will make a final determination on what consequences you may face, such as having your license revoked.
Why You Need a License Defense Attorney for Your Hearing Aid Specialist License in Pennsylvania
If the Department of Health has initiated an investigation against you, its ultimate goal is to protect the public and maintain the integrity of healthcare professionals in Pennsylvania. To do this, they may impose significant penalties that can jeopardize your ability to practice as a hearing aid specialist. They have a low burden of proof to find you guilty, and they have fairly broad authority to discipline licensees and suspend/revoke licenses if they believe it's in the public interest. You have no guaranteed presumption of innocence in these matters, so you're effectively at a disadvantage from the moment a complaint is filed.
Hiring an experienced Pennsylvania license defense attorney can level the playing field and significantly increase your chances of keeping your license. They can help you develop a strong defense strategy and represent your interests in negotiations with the licensing board. They may be able to secure a positive outcome for you, such as reducing or eliminating disciplinary action and helping you to retain your license.
If a complaint against you has triggered an investigation into your hearing aid specialist license, don't risk your career by facing the allegations alone. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can provide the skilled legal representation you need to protect your license and keep your professional reputation intact. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.