Building a career as a licensed healthcare professional in Union City, NJ, has been far from simple. Whether you are a physician, physician assistant, nurse, dentist, or another specialist, you have devoted extensive time and resources to your education and spent countless hours acquiring the necessary experience to qualify for licensure—all stemming from your desire to help others. Thus, it can be devastating to find out that a single accusation of misconduct now jeopardizes your license.
It might seem paradoxical that your entire career could be undermined so easily, but one complaint may be all it takes to trigger an investigation from your licensing board--and without intervention from an experienced New Jersey license defense attorney, that investigation could easily lead to losing your license. New Jersey's state licensing boards, particularly those related to healthcare professions, treat every allegation of impropriety with the utmost seriousness and are dedicated to examining every claim. They have the authority to suspend or revoke your license based only on a preponderance of the evidence. And just like that, your career could be over.
Union City, NJ Professional License Defense Attorney
The most effective way to avoid this disastrous outcome is to consult with a seasoned Union City professional license defense attorney at the first sign of trouble. The Lento Law Firm has extensive experience representing individuals in your predicament. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team will employ negotiation and efficient defense tactics that can significantly improve your chances of retaining your license. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
The Disciplinary Process for Licensed Medical Professionals in Union City, NJ
Each licensing board, such as the Board of Medical Examiners, Board of Nursing, or Board of Dentistry, has a unique set of protocols for handling disciplinary proceedings. However, there are common stages in the process. If you're accused of wrongdoing, the disciplinary steps will occur as follows:
Typically, disciplinary action begins when someone submits an official complaint to your state's licensing board. Anyone can do this, but for healthcare professionals, the complaints usually originate from one of these sources: patients, coworkers, other practitioners, insurance companies, healthcare facilities, or court clerks (in the event of a criminal conviction).
Request for Response
You'll receive a notification from the licensing board detailing the complaint and requesting a written response. Crafting an effective response with the help of an attorney may lead to dismissal without further action.
If the board is not convinced by your written response to drop the complaint, they will appoint a Preliminary Evaluation Committee (PEC) to review the complaint. The PEC assigns an investigator to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and request relevant documentation.
In some instances, the PEC may propose a consent order, which is essentially a settlement agreement between you and the state. A consent order implies your admission of guilt and expresses your agreement to accept the board's disciplinary actions instead of proceeding to a formal hearing. This option may not always be the most suitable, but if disciplinary action is unavoidable due to convincing evidence, a good attorney can often use this opportunity to negotiate for lenient terms, including allowing you to keep your license or providing a path to reinstatement.
Formal Hearing and Determination
If no consent order is signed or offered, a formal complaint is submitted, and an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) conducts a hearing. You may choose to have an attorney represent you during this time, and both parties are permitted to present evidence or give testimony for consideration. All relevant details must be taken into account before any decisions are made. After the hearing concludes, the judge will determine if you are liable and decide on the appropriate disciplinary action, which may include revoking your license as determined by the licensing board.
How a License Defense Attorney Can Help
Some licensed professionals may underestimate the seriousness of a license investigation, mistakenly believing they only need to "explain themselves" to the board to have the complaint dismissed. However, this is rarely the case, and a misstep during any of the disciplinary steps can have devastating consequences. You have no guarantee of presumed innocence, and if the board is more than 50 percent convinced of your wrongdoing, they have the authority to penalize you, possibly even revoking your license to practice. You're effectively at a disadvantage from the outset.
Enlisting the help of an experienced Union City license defense attorney can level the playing field and provide you with a fighting chance to preserve your license. Your attorney will review the complaint, help you draft your response, help gather evidence to support your defense, negotiate with the board for lesser penalties or reinstatement eligibility, provide counsel throughout the hearing process, and inform you of all available options. From start to finish, your license defense attorney is a valuable ally fighting alongside you to protect your career. Ultimately, having a seasoned license defense lawyer by your side could make the difference between keeping or losing your license.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Team have a long-standing record of success, achieving positive outcomes for clients facing allegations of misconduct. The Lento Law Firm can:
- Evaluate the accusations against you and collect persuasive evidence and testimonies to exonerate you.
- Compose an effective, convincing written response that could potentially lead to the complaint being dismissed early.
- Act as your authorized legal representative in all dealings with the board and/or Administrative Law Judge.
- Skillfully negotiate with the licensing board to either dismiss the complaint or reach an agreement on more lenient penalties.
- Defend you in a formal hearing, if necessary.
Healthcare Institutions Serving Union City, NJ
Located in northeast New Jersey near the Hudson River, Union City, NJ, sits within the busy suburbs of New York City. While Union City itself boasts a population of 68,500, the urban sprawl of this area is home to hundreds of thousands more. Numerous medical facilities serve this region, each holding their medical professionals to the highest standards of professional and ethical excellence. Consequently, when your license is questioned while working at such a facility, this could potentially put your occupation in peril.
Main healthcare facilities and institutions serving this area include, but are not limited to:
CarePoint Health is a regional health system currently transitioning to a non-profit to ensure proper continued care for the underserved. CarePoint administers the 376-bed Christ Hospital in Jersey City, along with numerous outpatient facilities in Union City and the surrounding area.
Hudson Regional Hospital
Located in nearby Secaucus, Hudson Regional Hospital is an acute-care facility known throughout the area for its expertise in state-of-the-art robotic-assisted surgery, as well as a full array of other specialties and acute care.
Hackensack Meridian Health
As one of New Jersey's most comprehensive integrated health networks, Hackensack Meridian Health operates 17 hospitals and other facilities throughout the eastern New Jersey area. HMH administers the Palisades Medical Center in nearby North Bergen, along with numerous other locations near Union City.
What May Lead to the Loss of Professional Licenses for Healthcare Workers and Others in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, regulatory boards maintain stringent ethical and professional standards for their license holders. Consequently, any allegations of breaching these standards or compromising public trust could result in license loss. Some of the most common violations are below.
Sexual Misconduct and Unethical Relationships
Engaging in intimate relationships with patients is highly unethical. Additionally, making unwelcome advances or comments or committing acts of harassment or assault are all considered forms of sexual misconduct. These behaviors not only compromise the integrity of the medical profession but also undermine patient trust. Healthcare professionals found guilty of such actions face severe consequences, including the suspension or revocation of their license.
Fraudulent activities such as upcoding insurance claims, billing for non-existent services, falsifying patient records, misrepresenting your credentials, or accepting kickbacks in exchange for referrals can lead to license suspension or revocation. To maintain the highest ethical and professional standards, healthcare professionals must avoid engaging in any form of fraud.
Patient Abuse and Gross Neglect
Instances of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse toward patients can result in the revocation of a healthcare professional's license. Similarly, other forms of neglect, including failure to provide essential care, incorrect prescription of medications, misdiagnoses, breaches of patient privacy, unnecessary procedures, or endangering patients, can lead to license loss. To uphold the highest standards of care, healthcare professionals must always prioritize patient well-being and safety.
Inappropriate Handling of Medications
State and federal regulations strictly govern the dispensation of controlled substances to protect patients from potential harm. Inappropriate handling of medications, such as prescribing without a valid medical reason, administering medications without a prescription, keeping sloppy drug inventories, mishandling controlled substances, diverting medications for your personal use, or suspiciously prescribing opioids, can result in license suspension or revocation.
Errors or Negligence in Record-Keeping
Precise record-keeping is crucial for providing quality healthcare. New Jersey regulatory boards take violations of record-keeping seriously, and negligence in maintaining patient records, failure to document care, or deliberately altering documents can lead to license revocation.
Substance Abuse and Addiction
Healthcare practitioners who abuse drugs and/or alcohol may endanger patient safety, and at the very least, the licensing board may question your competence. Those accused of working while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs may also face license revocation.
In New Jersey, certain criminal convictions can lead to the loss of a professional license. Crimes of moral turpitude, such as fraud, theft, sexual assault, or drug-related offenses, can result in license revocation. Failing to self-report a criminal conviction to the licensing board, even if the crime does not disqualify you from holding a professional license, can also lead to disciplinary action.
Professional License Defense for Licensed Professionals in Union City, New Jersey
If you are a professional in Union City accused of misconduct, the Lento Law Firm is here to help. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Team have successfully defended numerous professionals in disciplinary cases in New Jersey. We can help any of the following professionals facing licensure issues:
- Physicians (M.D. or D.O)
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Physical therapists
- Mental health professionals
- Other licensed professions
Don't let allegations of professional misconduct jeopardize your career; safeguard yourself by engaging an experienced New Jersey license defense attorney to handle your case. Let Attorney Joseph D Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team put their experience to work for you to significantly improve your chances of keeping your license. Act now and take the necessary steps for success. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.