A person's professional license says a lot about them. Whether you work in the healthcare industry, the service industry, or any other professional sphere, your license reflects a lot of training, education, and hard work. While the license itself may cost just a few hundred dollars, the effort it represents is priceless. When you discover your license may be suspended or revoked, the news can be shocking. Whether you're a teacher, dentist, nurse, doctor, or plumber, losing your license can be losing your livelihood. That's why it's so important to take swift action in the face of misconduct allegations. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can serve as your legal representatives when your career is on the line.
The Lento Law Firm: Professional License Defense in Montana
Professional conduct violations can put your license at risk. Violations include patient/client confidentiality breaches, sexual misconduct, the mishandling of medications, and substance abuse. Those convicted of a crime unrelated to work may still see consequences spill over into their professional lives. If you're arrested for drunk driving, for instance, your license may be revoked even if the incident occurred off the clock. With so much at stake, it's best to consult with a knowledgeable Professional License Defense Attorney as soon as you learn that misconduct allegations have surfaced.
Joseph D. Lento heads up the Lento Law Firm. His Professional License Defense Team is equipped with the skills and resources required to handle professional misconduct allegations in Montana and throughout the rest of the United States. Their track record of success means licensed professionals have a leg up when protecting their careers. If you're up against misconduct allegations, don't wait. Reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to discuss your options.
Montana Disciplinary Proceedings for Licensed Professionals
The agency that grants your professional license oversees complaints and allegations of professional misconduct. While the guidelines and procedures vary from one organization to the next, most boards tend to follow these steps:
Montana organizations often initiate disciplinary proceedings upon receipt of a complaint. The Montana Board of Medical Examiners, for instance, handles all complaints for licensed healthcare workers throughout the state. Licensed professionals in Montana may be subject to organizations, including the Montana Board of Public Accountants, the Montana Board of Dentistry, the Montana Board of Nursing, and the Montana Board of Architects and Landscape Architects.
Anyone can file a complaint that triggers an investigation into your professional standing. Generally, though, most complainants fall into at least one of the following categories:
- patients or clients
- other practitioners
- insurers (usually in cases of suspected fraud)
- court clerks (i.e., reporting a recent criminal conviction to your licensing board)
When your licensing body receives a complaint against you, an investigation may soon follow. You'll likely receive written notification that an investigation has begun. In some cases, you'll have the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against you. The investigator may schedule an interview or show up at your workplace unannounced. This is especially common if the complaint involves accusations of alcohol or drug impairment. Upon completion of the initial investigation, the investigator prepares a report of their findings. It's up to the agency to decide upon further action. There may include dismissing the complaint, additional interviews with the complainant, or the issuing of subpoenas for relevant records. With your professional license on the line, it's crucial to contact Joseph D. Lento and his experienced Professional License Defense Team upon learning of an investigation.
Should the investigation reveal evidence requiring disciplinary action, the organization may seek to create a legally binding consent agreement with you. This may require you to accept guilt or responsibility but help you avoid losing your license altogether. Your consent agreement may require you to attend mandatory classes or seek treatment for substance abuse. Joseph D. Lento and his knowledgeable Professional License Defense Team have the experience necessary to help craft as favorable a consent agreement as possible.
If a consent agreement cannot be reached, an administrative hearing may follow. Your presence will likely be mandatory. The licensing board will get a chance to present its argument. You'll then respond and counter the evidence presented. It's up to you and your legal team to demonstrate why your professional license should remain valid. After that, the licensing board will render a verdict and determine which disciplinary measures should be taken against you.
Keep Your License Active with Help From the Lento Law Firm
In most legal proceedings, the person filing a complaint must seek legal representation and bear the costs associated with their efforts. That's not true of complainants who make allegations against licensed professionals. What's more, many occupations – like those overseen by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners – have no statute of limitations for complaints. This means all the burden falls to the accused professional.
Many people opt to represent themselves in such proceedings. That's not usually a good idea. With your future in jeopardy, now is not the time to take risks. A better option is to reach out to the Lento Law Firm upon learning about the allegations. The Professional License Defense Team can offer support in the following ways:
- Review the complaint and craft a defense strategy that includes the collection of evidence, witness interviews, and other tactics.
- Act as your legal representative when facing the board.
- Write a persuasive response to the allegations to up the odds of a dismissal.
- Work with the board to get the complaint dismissed or to seek less harsh penalties.
- Argue for the most favorable terms in a consent agreement possible.
- Represent you in a formal hearing before the board, if necessary.
Areas the Lento Law Firm Serves in Montana
Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can provide professional license defense services to healthcare workers and other licensed professionals throughout Montana, including healthcare hubs and the most densely populated regions. Our representation is particularly accessible in the following locations:
Billings is the largest city in Montana and serves as a commercial and cultural center of the state. Located in the south-central region of the state, it is surrounded by beautiful landscapes that include the Yellowstone River, the Beartooth Mountains, and the Badlands. The Billings Clinic is a non-profit healthcare organization that employs over 4,000 people and provides a wide range of medical services, including cancer treatment, heart care, and orthopedics. Other major healthcare providers in the city include St. Vincent Healthcare, RiverStone Health, and Billings VA Clinic.
Missoula is a city in western Montana known for its beautiful natural surroundings and thriving cultural scene. The city is situated along the Clark Fork River and surrounded by mountains, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The largest healthcare organization in the area is Providence St. Patrick Hospital, with Community Medical Center a close second. As the second-largest city in Montana by population, Missoula is home to a number of other smaller medical practices and clinics that serve the needs of the community.
Great Falls is a city located in the north-central region of Montana, known for its breathtaking natural beauty and rich history. The city is named after a series of waterfalls on the Missouri River and is surrounded by scenic mountains and rolling plains. Benefis Health System is the largest healthcare provider in the area. The Great Falls Clinic Medical Center and the Montana VA Health Care System are also based in the region. The healthcare industry in Great Falls is an important contributor to the local economy, providing high-quality medical care and employment opportunities for many residents.
Bozeman is a city of 51,200 residents located in the southwest region of Montana. The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and vast wilderness areas, but it's also a college town. Montana State University adds to the city's vibrant arts and culture scene. Bozeman Health is the largest healthcare provider in the area. Other smaller clinics and medical practices help support the needs of Bozeman residents.
Butte-Silver Bow is a consolidated city-county located in southwestern Montana. The area was once known for its booming mining industry and is now home to a diverse community with a rich cultural history. The city is known for its historic architecture, particularly the impressive Victorian buildings that line its streets. The region has a small but thriving healthcare industry. St. James Healthcare is the largest employer of healthcare workers, but smaller practices fill in the gaps to support community health demands.
Allegations That May Endanger Your Professional License
Governing bodies were created to ensure that industry standards are upheld, and public confidence is maintained. When an agency or organization receives a complaint about a licensee, they're expected to investigate the accused. The Montana Board of Medical Examiners may impose disciplinary actions, including probation, suspension, reprimands, and, if a practitioner is found to be in violation of the Medical Practices Act, license revocation.
Allegations that may result in disciplinary actions include:
Fraud in the healthcare industry may encompass:
- Billing insurance for a more expensive service than the one rendered
- Overcharging of patients
- Charging insurance companies or patients for services that were not provided
- Referral kickbacks
- Making false diagnoses to collect more reimbursement from insurance providers
- Offering services outside the scope of your license
Abuse or Gross Negligence
This may include actions that risk a patient's safety, health, or well-being. Examples include:
- Physical abuse, including hitting or sexually assaulting a patient
- Emotional abuse, including verbally berating or threatening someone
- Patient confidentiality violations
- Prescription and medical errors
Sexual Misconduct and Inappropriate Relationships
Romantic or sexual relationships between patients and providers are strictly forbidden. These are considered ethical violations in the eyes of most governing bodies. Other kinds of sexual misconduct may include unwanted sexual advances toward co-workers or patients, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
Mishandling of Medication
Providers may also be subject to penalties if the licensing board finds they have dispensed or prescribed drugs in an irresponsible way or that falls outside the scope of their license. Additional violations include improper tracking of medications or stealing prescription drugs for personal use.
Inaccurate Record Keeping
It's very challenging to offer quality healthcare without maintaining accurate records. A healthcare professional may find their license at risk if they fail to maintain thorough records. They may also come under fire if records feature false information.
Healthcare providers must avoid using drugs or alcohol on the job, as it can alter judgment and make it impossible to safely treat patients. If you're found abusing drugs or alcohol, your license may be suspended.
If the administrative board discovers you have been convicted of DUI, crimes of moral turpitude, or other violations relating to your profession, your license may be in jeopardy.
The Lento Law Firm: Professional License Defense in Montana
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Professional License Defense Team are ready to help you clear your name. No matter where you live in Montana or throughout the rest of the United States, the Lento Law Firm can prove instrumental when you're trying to maintain your professional license. We can help licensed practitioners in roles including:
- physician assistant
- mental health professional
- physical therapist
- real estate agent
- K-12 educator
- insurance agent
- other licensed professions
Professional misconduct accusations can be a real threat to your livelihood, future career, and public reputation. With so much at stake, it's important to seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney. Joseph D. Lento can guide you through the process and assist you in protecting your license. To schedule a review of your case and begin the process of defending your professional license, call (888) 535-3686 or visit our website.