Becoming a licensed doctor, nurse, or medical professional requires unrelenting effort, an abundance of time and money invested in study and field practice, expensive tuition fees that could possibly entail student loan debt, and the successful completion of arduous exams. You've paid a high price to become a licensed healthcare professional in Haverford, PA, but the work is its own reward.
That is, until someone files a complaint against you that threatens your license.
The medical professions are built on public trust, and the licensing boards of Pennsylvania hold their licensees to high standards to protect that trust. They take all allegations of wrongdoing seriously, and they have broad authority to suspend or revoke licenses if they believe their standards of care have been violated.
Professional License Defense Attorney in Haverford, PA
All it takes is a single complaint to trigger an investigation against your license. If you are a Haverford healthcare professional facing possible disciplinary action, you need a professional license defense attorney on your side to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Having the proper legal counsel is your best bet for safeguarding your license and achieving a favorable outcome. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience in Pennsylvania defending licensed healthcare professionals and other individuals facing allegations of misconduct. He and his team will work to get you the best possible resolution to your case. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
How a License Investigation Can Endanger Your Career
Healthcare professionals must uphold high standards of ethical and professional excellence. An investigation into your license can be damaging to both your professional standing and your career prospects. Not only does the mere suggestion of wrongdoing have the potential to harm your reputation, but your licensing board only needs to find you guilty based on a preponderance of the evidence against you. Even if the board chooses to impose a lesser penalty on you, the stigma of being disciplined can haunt you for years. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced license defense attorney at the first sign of trouble. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the better your chances of getting the matter resolved with minimal damage to your reputation or career.
The Disciplinary Process for Licensed Professionals in Haverford, PA
As a Pennsylvania medical license holder, if your professional or ethical standards come into question, the licensing board that granted you your credentials will determine what disciplinary measures to implement. Pennsylvania has instituted a fairly uniform system by which allegations against licensed professionals are processed. If you're accused of wrongdoing as a medical professional, you can expect the process to move through the following stages.
Almost all disciplinary actions against licensed professionals begin with a formal complaint. Any member of the public can file a complaint against a licensed professional with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). Most complaints against healthcare professionals are filed by:
- Other practitioners
- Insurers (in cases of suspected fraud)
- Healthcare facilities
After the BPOA receives your complaint, they assign an investigator from the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) to look for evidence to support the complaint. This process may involve interviewing the complainant and any witnesses, document subpoenas, and other fact-finding efforts. You may also be asked for a written response to the complaint. The BEI investigator may attempt to make a surprise visit to your office. We strongly suggest that you refrain from answering the investigator's questions unless accompanied by your legal counsel.
If the BEI investigator finds sufficient evidence to support disciplinary action, they will present their findings to the licensing board. In some cases, the board may choose to pursue informal discipline through a consent agreement. This agreement is essentially an admission of guilt on your part and an agreement to accept the board's recommended penalties or sanctions in exchange for avoiding formal charges or proceedings. While signing a consent agreement isn't advisable in every case, it may be your best option if disciplinary action is inevitable--especially if your attorney can negotiate to include terms that either permit you to keep your license or include a pathway for reinstatement.
If you choose to contest the allegations or decline to sign a consent agreement, you will be afforded a formal hearing in front of a state examiner where you will show cause why your license should not be revoked. At the conclusion of the hearing, the examiner will make recommendations to the board as to disciplinary actions against you, up to and including revoking your license. The board then renders its decision based on a preponderance of the evidence presented. For the best possible outcome, it is very important that you are represented by a knowledgeable license defense attorney at the hearing.
Why You Need an Experienced Haverford License Defense Attorney
Oftentimes, healthcare practitioners who have been accused of wrongdoing fail to recognize the gravity of their predicament. They assume that if they simply provide an explanation for what happened to the licensing board, then this will be enough, and it can all be quickly resolved in their favor. In reality, the board's primary obligation is to protect the public, not the licensee. They will aggressively investigate any complaint against you, and they only need to be convinced that you, more likely than not, committed the offense in question to suspend or revoke your license. In other words, there's no guaranteed presumption of innocence, and without professional legal help, the odds may be very well stacked against you.
By enlisting the assistance of a knowledgeable Pennsylvania license defense lawyer, you can create an equal playing field and increase your odds of achieving a positive resolution. Your attorney can:
- Review the complaint against you and devise a compelling defense strategy
- Act as your official legal representative in all interactions with the board and/or BPOA
- Gather evidence and witnesses to bolster your defense
- Negotiate at multiple points to get the complaint dropped, or at least for minimized penalties
- Negotiate favorable terms for a consent agreement
- Defend you at the formal hearing, if needed
Healthcare Services in Haverford, PA
Located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia, the unincorporated community of Haverford is situated in Delaware County, along with the township bearing the same name. This suburban area is home to about 49,000, but the population of the surrounding areas is much greater. As such, this area is home to numerous healthcare facilities to take care of the health needs of the population. These health systems demand the highest level of ethical, professional, and responsible behavior from their physicians, nurses, and other employees. Should any allegations arise that breach these expectations, it could lead to immediate dismissal.
Main health systems serving the Haverford area include:
Bryn Mawr Hospital
The primary hospital serving the Haverford area, Bryn Mawr Hospital is a 287-bed acute care facility administered by the Main Line Health network. It ranks as one of the top 10 hospitals in Pennsylvania.
Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Operated by Prime Health, Roxborough Memorial is a 131-bed community hospital that has served the northwest Philadelphia area for more than a century.
Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic
One of the largest health systems in the region, Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic operates numerous facilities throughout the Philly area, including Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in the west Philadelphia area.
What Accusations Could Put Your Medical License at Risk?
In Pennsylvania, the licensing board that issued your license also has the authority to impose discipline against your license. For physicians and surgeons, for example, it's the Board of Medicine; for nurses, the Board of Nursing; for dentists, the Board of Dentistry, and so on.
Your Pennsylvania licensing board could potentially launch an investigation and subsequent disciplinary action based on a variety of allegations. Such claims typically include, but are not limited to:
Examples of sexual misconduct include engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with patients, as well as harassing them or fellow employees. If the allegations are proven to be true, this type of violation typically results in being stripped of one's license.
Inappropriate prescribing or dispensing of controlled substances
Medical professionals must exercise extreme caution when prescribing or dispensing controlled substances, especially opioids. Failing to abide by the applicable regulations could lead to disciplinary action and license suspension or revocation. Examples include:
- Prescribing medicines without a legitimate medical reason
- Dispensing medications without a prescription
- Overprescribing addictive medications like opioids
- Keeping inaccurate inventories of medications
- Pilfering medications for personal use or street sale
Fraud can encompass a variety of behaviors, including, but not limited to:
- Billing patients or insurance for services not provided
- Upcoding (i.e., billing insurance for a more expensive service than the one actually provided)
- Illegally altering medical records
- Accepting kickbacks for referrals
- False advertising
- Misrepresenting/misstating your credentials
If you are convicted of a criminal offense, this could also lead to licensing board action. The severity and type of discipline depend on the gravity of the offense, but crimes of moral turpitude or crimes directly related to your profession are those most likely to result in license suspension or revocation.
Patient abuse/gross neglect
Patient mistreatment can take many shapes and sizes, including neglecting to offer suitable medical attention, emotional distress, or abuse of a physical or sexual nature. It also involves disregarding patient privacy, incorrect prescribing/dispensing medications as well as performing procedures that are not required or put the person at risk needlessly.
Abusing drugs and alcohol can do serious damage to your credibility as a healthcare professional and cast doubt on your judgment when treating patients. You may be either mandated to undergo treatment at best or lose your license at worst.
It is expected that medical practitioners meticulously maintain accurate and comprehensive patient records. For instance, inadequate record-keeping can be indicative of a larger issue, such as fraud or substance abuse, in addition to potentially causing errors related to the care of patients if key data has not been precisely recorded.
Failing to follow treatment guidelines
Neglecting to adhere to a physician's instructions when treating a patient could result in disciplinary action. Furthermore, if you fail to refer someone who requires the services of an expert specialist, your medical license may be jeopardized.
When to Hire an Attorney
As soon as a complaint is filed against your license, the licensing board begins gathering evidence to try and substantiate the allegations. By the time your case makes it to the hearing stage, they've likely already built a strong case against you. For this reason, the sooner you enlist the services of an experienced medical license defense lawyer, the better your chances of obtaining a more favorable outcome. Even if you are not sure that your case will result in losing your license, hiring a good attorney will strengthen the odds of a positive result and reduce the chance of severe penalties.
Professional License Defense in Haverford, Pennsylvania
If you are a medical professional in Haverford, Pennsylvania, the state of your career and financial security depend heavily on safeguarding your license. If you're facing any disciplinary action from the licensing board, it is essential to enlist an experienced attorney who will fight for your rights and ensure that your future remains secure. The Lento Law Firm offers professional license defense services to the following professionals in Haverford, PA:
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Mental health professionals
- Physical therapists
- Additional licensed professionals
If you're a licensed healthcare professional in Haverford who is facing allegations of wrongdoing, attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can greatly increase your chances of emerging from the disciplinary process with your professional license intact. Call the Lento Law firm today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.