Being a medical professional in Hamilton Township, New Jersey is a noble career choice. It requires years of training and field experience, and just as importantly, it relies on public trust. Ironically, the regulatory boards that help maintain that public trust can also be a double-edged sword, sometimes imposing disciplinary action against licensed healthcare professionals over allegations of misconduct based only on a preponderance of the evidence. In other words--without proper legal help, a single complaint could cause you to lose your license.
The New Jersey state licensing boards are rigorous in ensuring that healthcare professionals maintain high ethical and professional standards. They take all complaints seriously, and have the power to implement disciplinary action should they discover any violations of these regulations.
Professional License Defense Attorney in Hamilton Township
You've worked diligently to build your career as a physician, nurse, dentist or other healthcare professional in Hamilton Township, NJ. All of the energy and commitment you have put into your job could be compromised over a simple misunderstanding or a lapse in judgment. Consequently, preserving what you have built is essential—and it starts here.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a New Jersey attorney with many years of proven experience helping those in danger of disciplinary action. He and his team have the experience and knowledge to help you obtain the best possible outcome if your medical license comes under fire. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
The Disciplinary Process for Healthcare Professionals in Hamilton Township
If a complaint is made against you as a professional, your New Jersey licensing board will investigate and determine whether or not any disciplinary action should be taken. Depending on the profession in question, this could involve answering to the NJ Board of Medical Examiners (physicians), State Board of Nursing (nurses), State Board of Dentistry (dentists), etc. Despite varying protocols from board to board, disciplinary action generally follows a recognizable trajectory.
In most cases, the process of discipline begins with a complaint made against you. Anybody can file a complaint to your licensing board; however, medical professionals will typically face complaints from patients, co-workers, healthcare facilities, insurers, etc. Additionally, if the court notifies your licensing board about a recent criminal conviction, you may also be subject to disciplinary proceedings against your license. In certain circumstances, this could even lead to a temporary suspension of your license while the board investigates further.
Response to Complaint
Once the licensing board acquires a complaint about you, they will promptly contact you and provide an opportunity to defend yourself in writing. This is your golden moment to present your side of the story with clarity, giving yourself the best possible chance for success. If your defense is accompanied by sound reasoning and evidence, the board may be inclined to take no further action. To prepare a powerful response, you should consider hiring an experienced New Jersey license defense attorney who knows how to make a compelling argument.
If the process moves forward, the licensing board will appoint a Preliminary Evaluation Committee (PEC) to oversee the investigation. The PEC will in turn assign an investigator to look for evidence to substantiate the complaint against you. The investigator may need to converse with the complainant and other eyewitnesses, seek out documents, or do further research. Furthermore, you could be asked to answer questions under oath.
If the investigation provides sufficient proof of your alleged wrongdoing, the board could suggest an alternative to a formal hearing: negotiating for a consent order. In this instance, you would agree to abide by whatever disciplinary action is recommended without any opposition from your side. If disciplinary action is likely, signing a consent order may be your best option, especially if your attorney can negotiate terms within the consent order for keeping your license or eventually reinstating it. However, it is not always the most suitable option, so it's best not to sign a consent order without having an experienced attorney review it.
When you are not offered a consent order, or if you decline to accept it, then the next step is for a formal hearing to take place. You will have the opportunity here to bring an attorney and explain your position with evidence in front of an Administrative Law Judge who makes their decision based on both sides' stories and facts presented. This gives you another chance to express your position and show any proof that can support your case and refute the complaint against you. After examining your case, the judge will suggest a fitting disciplinary action to the board. This may range from a formal reprimand to a fine to having your license revoked.
Healthcare Institutions in Hamilton Township, NJ
Bordering the state capital of New Jersey, Hamilton Township serves as Trenton's largest suburb--and with a population of more than 92,000, it actually exceeds the population of Trenton. As such, this area is home to numerous hospitals and healthcare facilities serving the needs of the community. These facilities hold their physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to high standards of excellence, so any threat against one's professional license could also jeopardize their job, as well.
The main healthcare systems serving the Hamilton Township area include, but are not limited to:
Offering one of the most comprehensive healthcare networks in New Jersey, RWJBarnabas Health is responsible for overseeing a plethora of hospitals, specialty services, and primary care facilities across the state. In Hamilton Township area, RWJBarnabas Health operates the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, the township's largest full-care hospital, along with the Hamilton location of the Children's Specialized Hospital and numerous outpatient facilities.
Capital Health is a respected regional healthcare system serving the Trenton area of New Jersey. Capital Health operates the Capital Health-Hamilton outpatient facility in Hamilton Township.
Why You Need a Hamilton Township, NJ Professional License Defense Attorney
Being accused of misconduct is a serious matter for a licensed healthcare professional, and unfortunately, there is no guaranteed presumption of innocence such as if you had been charged with a crime. New Jersey's state licensing boards have an obligation to protect the public, even at the expense of their licensees, if necessary. In fact, they only have to be convinced that you were more likely than not to have committed the offense in order to impose discipline on you. This puts you at a disadvantage from the moment a complaint is filed.
To ensure that your rights and best interests are protected, you will need a Hamilton Township professional license defense attorney who is experienced in dealing with the complexities of medical licensing issues. An experienced attorney can defend you against allegations of misconduct and assist in negotiating terms for any disciplinary action taken. This could make all the difference between keeping your license or having it revoked.
A good professional license defense attorney can do any/all of the following on your behalf:
- Review the complaint against you and work to develop a winning defense strategy.
- Compose a persuasive written response to the complaint that will significantly enhance your likelihood of having it dismissed.
- Act as your legal representative in all interactions with the licensing board.
- Gather evidence and procure witnesses to bolster your case.
- Negotiate a resolution with the board that either dismisses your complaint or results in less severe penalties that allow you to maintain your license.
- If necessary, defend you before the Administrative Law Judge at a formal hearing.
What Types of Allegations Could Put Your Professional License at Risk?
New Jersey medical professionals are held to high ethical and professional standards in their practices. Most complaints that endanger your license, therefore, will be based on allegations that you violated these standards in some way, or otherwise have broken public trust. Examples include, but are not limited to:
There are many types of fraud for which you might be accused, but examples include billing for services or procedures you didn't provide, "upcoding" insurance claims for more money, falsifying or altering patient diagnoses, misrepresenting your credentials, or taking kickbacks from vendors in exchange for referrals.
Gross Neglect or Abuse
Disciplinary action may be taken against a medical practitioner who has grossly neglected or abused their patient. This includes failing to deliver adequate care, misdiagnosing conditions, making medication errors, divulging confidential information without permission, and inflicting physical or emotional harm on the patient in any way.
Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Medical professionals are expected to be in control of their faculties, so if you have an addiction problem, it casts doubt on your judgment and your ability to treat patients safely and competently. The board may suspend your license until you seek treatment--or they may revoke it entirely.
Inappropriate Handling of Controlled Substances
In New Jersey, prescription medications are heavily monitored and non-adherence to the applicable rules can result in having your license revoked. Examples include:
- Dispensing controlled substances without a prescription
- Writing prescriptions with no legitimate medical justification
- Overprescribing substances that carry a high risk of addiction, such as opiates
- Maintaining inaccurate inventories of medications
- Pilfering medications for personal use or sale
As a medical professional, engaging in any type of romantic or sexual relationship with one of your patients is highly unethical and can result in the loss of your license. Other forms of sexual misconduct include making unwelcome sexual advances towards colleagues and patients, sexual assault, or any other inappropriate sexual behavior.
Medical professionals are required to keep accurate, comprehensive records of all patient interactions and treatments for the sake of patient safety. If you're found to be in violation of these requirements, disciplinary action may be taken against you. You can also be disciplined for any attempt to alter patient documentation.
Failure to Follow Protocols for Patient Care
If you fail to follow the orders of a patient's physician for administering care to the patient, or if you fail to refer a patient for specialist care when a specialist is indicated, these could be grounds for suspension or revocation of your license.
If you are licensed as a health professional in New Jersey, certain criminal convictions could disqualify you from holding that license. This is particularly true for offenses considered acts of moral turpitude or crimes related specifically to your profession.
Professional License Defense in Hamilton Township, New Jersey
You've worked too hard and invested too much time in building your career to have it derailed by unfair allegations of misconduct. And yet, without proper legal representation, that's exactly what can happen if a complaint is filed against your license. That's why hiring an attorney at the first indication of trouble is the one thing that might rescue your license and your career.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team have extensive experience in representing licensed healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and other medical personnel who are facing disciplinary action or investigations in Hamilton Township, NJ. We understand that the stakes are high and the impact of a revoked license could be devastating to you and your family, so we approach each case with urgency and tenacity.
The Lento Law Firm can help with licensing defense issues for any of these professionals in Hamilton Township, NJ:
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Mental health professionals
- Physical therapists
- Other licensed professionals
Hiring the right attorney drastically raises your chances of overcoming any complaints that may arise against your license. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.