As a licensed healthcare practitioner in Franklin Township, NJ, you have put tremendous effort into earning the trust of your patients and peers. From obtaining an education to sitting for tiresome exams and investing countless hours into field experience, your commitment to your profession is evident. At the same time, the foundation on which your career is built is somewhat fragile--because your entire livelihood hinges on your license. A single complaint filed with your state licensing board could easily derail everything you've worked for.
Indeed, it can be devastating for a doctor, nurse, dentist, or other licensed health professional to find out they've been accused of misconduct. But if this describes you, the good news is you don't have to face the allegations alone. Whether the allegations stem from a misunderstanding, a lapse in judgment, or a full-blown false accusation, having the right legal team behind you can save your career.
Professional License Defense Attorney in Franklin Township, NJ
If you are a licensed health professional (or other licensed professional) who is going through licensing board discipline, do not take the risk of facing these allegations alone. With a qualified Franklin Township license defense attorney by your side, you can reduce the damage to both your career and reputation. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his license defense legal team have extensive experience with cases like yours, and they can significantly boost your chances for successful results that safeguard both your licensure and profession. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
The Disciplinary Process for Health Professionals in Franklin Township, NJ
As a healthcare practitioner, if you face assertions of misbehavior or wrongdoing, the regulatory body that issued your license will also oversee any punitive measures taken against you. (In New Jersey, for example, physicians are under the Board of Medical Examiners (BME); nurses report to the Board of Nursing (BON); and dentists answer to the State Board of Dentistry, respectively.) Though each board may have different protocols and regulations for their disciplinary proceedings, the fundamental steps remain largely similar. Generally speaking, this process progresses through several stages as follows:
In most cases, the disciplinary process is initially triggered by a formal complaint made against you to the applicable state licensing board. While any member of the public can file such a complaint, most complainants for licensed healthcare professionals are:
- Other practitioners;
- Insurance companies (in cases involving suspected fraud);
- Healthcare facilities; and/or
- Court clerks (when the court reports a criminal conviction that appears on your record).
Request for Response
The licensing board will begin the process by sending you a notification of the complaint relating to all of the allegations in detail and requesting your response in writing. You might be asked for more documents or info based on what was reported. If your rebuttal is well-crafted with evidence that can refute these claims, then normally no further action would need to be taken. Having an experienced license defense attorney draft, the reply can greatly increase your chances of having the complaint dismissed at this early stage.
Subsequently, the licensing board will assign a Preliminary Evaluation Committee (PEC) to review your complaint. This committee will select an investigator who is then responsible for obtaining evidence to confirm the accusations made against you, such as interviewing witnesses involved in the case and/or requesting documents or records pertaining to it. Moreover, you may be asked to make a statement under oath.
If the committee finds sufficient evidence against you, they may offer to have you accept the consent order without having to go through a full disciplinary hearing. This agreement will outline the terms and conditions of your punishment – such as fines, probation, or suspension/revocation of license. Agreeing to a consent order is essentially an admission of guilt and will likely lead to unfavorable penalties against your license. Therefore, it's highly advised that you consult with an attorney before signing anything--they can assess the situation and determine if this agreement is in your best interest or not. Moreover, experienced lawyers are capable of negotiating for leniency within the terms of the order, including conditions that may permit you to maintain your license or at least have a path to reinstatement.
Formal Hearing and Determination
If no consent order is offered (or accepted), the next step is for the licensing board to submit an official complaint against you to the state. You'll then be summoned to an official hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), where you may appear with an attorney. Both sides are allowed to present evidence and give testimony so that all relevant information can be taken into consideration. After the hearing is over, the judge will decide whether or not you are guilty and make suggestions to the licensing board on what disciplinary action they should take—which could include revoking your license.
Why You Need a License Defense Attorney
Navigating the disciplinary process in medical professions can be a challenge. You'll need to have an understanding of the applicable laws and regulations, as well as potentially defend yourself against what could be serious allegations. Furthermore, you don't have the benefit of presumed innocence in license defense cases. The board has a duty to protect the public; they have broad authority to suspend or revoke the licenses of individuals they deem to be a threat to public safety, and the ALJ can determine your guilt based only on a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you're at a disadvantage from the moment a complaint is filed.
Having an experienced license defense attorney by your side through this process can help ensure that you are given every opportunity to protect your rights, reputation, and livelihood. A good New Jersey license defense attorney understands how the disciplinary process works and can intervene at multiple points to resolve the issue favorably--often without the need for a formal hearing.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team have a long history of successfully achieving advantageous outcomes for those accused of misconduct. Attorney Lento will:
- Serve as your authorized legal advocate in all interactions with the board and/or Administrative Law Judge.
- Carefully consider the charges brought against you, and accumulate evidence and testimonies to clear your name.
- Step up your odds of a speedy resolution to the complaint by creating an effective, persuasive written response.
- Strategically negotiate with the board to either dismiss the complaint or come to a consensus on more lenient penalties.
- Negotiate the most favorable terms possible in a consent order if deemed the best solution.
- Defend you in a formal hearing, if needed.
Healthcare Institutions Serving Franklin Township, NJ
Located in Somerset County within the populous New York City suburbs of eastern New Jersey, Franklin Township is home to about 68,000 people—although the combined population of the surrounding areas is much larger. Numerous high-qualify hospitals and outpatient facilities serve the medical needs of this area, each of which holds their professional staff to high standards of ethical and professional excellence. Thus, if you work in one of these facilities and your license comes under scrutiny, it could impact your employment, as well.
Healthcare facilities and institutions serving the Franklin Township area include, but are not limited to:
RWJBarnabas Health, New Jersey's largest integrated healthcare provider, proudly serves the state with dozens of hospitals and primary/specialty care facilities. Among other facilities in and around Franklin Township, RWJBarnabas Health operates two nearby campuses of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital—one in New Brunswick (their flagship hospital and the largest in the area) and a campus in nearby Somerset.
St. Peter's University Hospital
Located in nearby New Brunswick, St. Peter's University Hospital is a Roman Catholic facility that has been serving this area since the late 1800s. Today, St. Peter's University Health System also operates other facilities in the area, including The Children's Hospital at St. Peter's and several outpatient facilities.
Types of Allegations That Could Jeopardize Your License
In New Jersey, those who are licensed in healthcare or any other field must adhere to stringent standards of ethical and professional conduct. Accusations that could cost you your license tend to arise when these protocols have been broken, or the public trust has been violated. A few common examples of such violations include:
Sexual misconduct or unethical relationships
Medical professionals must abide by stringent ethical standards, including refraining from any intimate relationships with their patients. Moreover, any kind of sexual misconduct such as inappropriate advances (or making unwelcome comments to a patient or colleague), harassment, and assault are violations of the code and can lead to swift repercussions--potentially resulting in license revocation or a temporary suspension while an investigation ensues.
Many illicit behaviors fall under the category of fraud, including "upcoding" claims to insurance companies, billing for services not provided, altering patient records, misrepresenting your credentials, or accepting kickbacks for referrals. Any allegation along these lines could result in license suspension or revocation.
Patient abuse/gross neglect
Patients and their families may make claims of maltreatment against medical professionals, which can involve physical or verbal abuse, failure to provide essential care, incorrectly prescribing medications, misdiagnosis of illnesses and diseases, breach of patient privacy rights, carrying out unwanted operations, as well as executing treatments with extreme risk.
Inappropriate handling of medications
Prescribing, dispensing, and administering medications require the utmost care and attention to detail and are, therefore highly regulated. Any deviation from the established protocols can result in serious consequences. Examples of mishandling medications include, but are not limited to:
- Prescribing medications without a justifiable medical reason
- Pilfering medications intended for patients
- Prescribing medications without the authority to do so
- Prescribing inordinate amounts of addictive substances (e.g., opioids)
- Dispensing medications without a valid prescription
Inaccurate, incomplete, or missing medical records can have serious consequences for both patients and providers. Medical professionals are expected to document all patient care accurately and in a timely manner to ensure the utmost level of safety for each patient. As such, failure to do so could lead to license suspension or revocation.
It is well known that medical professionals are particularly susceptible to alcohol or drug abuse. These types of issues can pose a serious threat to patient safety, and any addiction problems must be managed (or treated) appropriately. Any unresolved substance abuse problem could lead to license suspension or revocation.
Depending on the severity of the offense, convictions for certain crimes can put your license at risk. While not all criminal convictions will result in disciplinary action, any offense that falls under the umbrella of crimes of moral turpitude (including fraud, theft, or sexual assault) can put your license at risk. Moreover, failing to disclose a conviction on your licensing board's application could be just as detrimental--even if it is for an offense that would typically lead to no repercussions.
Professional License Defense for Licensed Professionals in Franklin Township, New Jersey
The Lento Law Firm has a long track record of success with disciplinary cases and defending professionals accused of misconduct in New Jersey. Attorney Lento and his team can help any of the following licensed professionals in Franklin Township:
- Physician (M.D. or D.O)
- Nurse practitioner
- Physician assistant
- Physical therapist
- Mental health professionals
- Other licensed professions
You've worked too hard to build your career to have it unfairly derailed by allegations of professional misconduct. Take action at the first sign of trouble by getting an experienced New Jersey license defense attorney on your side. By enlisting the expertise of Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team, you can put yourself in a much better position to retain your license. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation right away.