If Your West Virginia Physician's License Is at Stake, The Lento Law Firm Can Help
If you're licensed to practice medicine in West Virginia and face disciplinary action from the West Virginia Board of Medicine, it's time to seek guidance from a legal team that will persuasively advocate on behalf of your best interests. You've invested years in obtaining your medical degree and maintaining your medical license. You're dedicated to your profession. Therefore, the allegations against you threaten more than your livelihood; they likely threaten a core element of your identity. The stakes of your situation are unquestionably high. Thankfully, you don't need to navigate the challenge of professional disciplinary proceedings alone.
Working with a knowledgeable and reputable professional license defense attorney can help to ensure that your rights and reputation are respected as your case evolves. Just as every physician doesn't practice the same specialty, not every lawyer in West Virginia understands how to defend licensed professionals effectively. Seeking legal guidance from a Professional License Defense Team that understands the ins and outs of state law and the broader national issues that influence state-specific defense strategies can help you secure a favorable outcome in your case.
No ethical legal team would ever guarantee the outcome of a specific case. Yet, the Lento Law Firm's record defending the professional licenses of their clients speaks for itself. To safeguard all that you've worked so hard to achieve, connect with the team today. Once your defense attorney has evaluated your situation and empowered you to make informed decisions about your options, they can begin negotiating and otherwise advocating on your behalf. Regardless of whether you're based in Charleston or Wheeling, Huntington or Morgantown, or you serve rural West Virginians, we're here to help you defend against allegations of professional wrongdoing that could result in the suspension or revocation of your license.
Call 888.535.3686 or go online to benefit from the experience, compassion, reputation, and determination of a West Virginia Professional License Defense Team that is ready to do its utmost to secure you a favorable result.
West Virginia Board of Medicine License Proceedings
Per Section 30-1-8 of the state's legal code, the West Virginia Board of Medicine is empowered to suspend or revoke the licenses of physicians in the event they're found guilty of a felony and/or have engaged in acts deemed to amount to “professional negligence or a willful departure from accepted standards of professional conduct.” As any physician who has been practicing for more than a few years understands, there are clear examples that illustrate professional negligence and – due to the highly-circumstantial and nuanced nature of the practice of medicine – there's also a vast gray area in which certain acts may or may not rise to this classification. As a result, one physician who faces accusations of wrongdoing may be severely disciplined for their choices while another physician operating under slightly different circumstances may be able to successfully defend against the charges they're facing.
As disciplinary action taken by the Board against a physician becomes part of that professional's physician record, the stakes of any alleged wrongdoing are high, even if one's license is not ultimately suspended or revoked. The Board maintains a physician database that the public can search for free. When a physician is formally disciplined, that action is published in their record. As a result, potential patients, investors in a new practice, and other interested parties that could affect a physician's livelihood may be dissuaded from making contact with a physician whose record indicates they've been disciplined by the Board.
If you're facing possible disciplinary action by the Board, know that your career could be significantly impacted by the outcome of its investigation and disciplinary process. Whether you practice in a city like Charleston or a smaller town like Lewisburg, you'll want to work with the Lento Law Firm's nationally-recognized Professional License Defense Team to advocate on your behalf in order to better preserve your professional reputation and the long-term viability of your career.
West Virginia Board of Medicine's Rules and Standards
Rather than being regulated on a national level, physicians – like lawyers and accountants – are regulated by the medical licensing board in the state where they practice. In the event that the West Virginia Board of Medicine receives a complaint or unfavorable report concerning the conduct of an individual physician, the Board is empowered to investigate that professional's alleged misconduct pursuant to the statutory authority granted by the state and the Board's internal standards and practices.
Presenting an effective defense to a challenge to your professional license requires a thorough understanding of the nuances of this area of law. Yet, unless you've also earned a law degree in addition to your medical degree, and you've spent considerable time defending other physicians from accusations of wrongdoing, you'll want to retain the Lento Law Firm's License Defense Attorney Team instead of trying to grasp this complex area of the law on your own. Just as you wouldn't want a dentist treating a compound femur fracture, you want attorneys representing you who are uniquely familiar with how to effectively advocate on behalf of physicians at risk of losing their professional licensing privileges in West Virginia.
No matter how complex your case may be, our highly-qualified team is ready to represent your interests as efficiently and effectively as possible throughout your disciplinary process. Our strategic approach will be personalized to your unique circumstances so that you'll never be made to feel like your situation is “just another case” to us.
Safeguarding Your West Virginia Physician's License
The primary reason that you'll want to connect with the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team as soon as you've been served with notice of a complaint against you is that a failure to treat the allegations in question seriously could impact your career and – under the most extreme circumstances – actually end it. There's no reason to have worked as diligently as you have only to have your professional reputation tarnished, the perception of your integrity compromised, and your ability to keep practicing medicine thrown into jeopardy. If you can successfully defend against the allegations in question – either during the response/Complaint Committee review phase of the process or during a hearing, you'll protect your livelihood and your standing in the medical community. Isn't that worth taking the time to connect with experienced legal representation?
What West Virginia Physician License Disciplinary Allegations Mean
In West Virginia, any patient or patient representative is empowered to submit a complaint or a report about a physician's allegedly concerning behavior to the West Virginia Board of Medicine. Simply because someone has made such a submission is not, in and of itself, evidence that you've done anything wrong. But, just as law enforcement officers need to investigate allegations that an individual has broken the law, so does the Board need to investigate the possibility that an individual's complaint-related story is true.
As a result, facing allegations of wrongdoing does not mean that you will be disciplined, let alone lose your license. However, because the stakes of a license disciplinary process are high enough that an unfavorable result could lead to the end of your career, it is vitally important to treat them seriously. Seeking legal representation from a Lento Law Firm professional license defense attorney can help ensure that you benefit from the strongest possible defense in the event that the Board does not recommend that your case be closed without further action.
Responding to Notice of the Complaint that Has Been Filed
When the Board receives a completed complaint questionnaire, it will undertake its initial review of the complaint. If the complaint falls within the Board's investigatory authority, the physician in question is notified. What this means is that, if you have already received notice of a complaint, the Board has simply been determined that it has jurisdiction over the issues and concerns raised by the complaint, not that the Board has made any determination about the validity of the claims in question.
Once you've received notice that the Board has received and accepted a complaint of this nature, you'll receive a copy of the complaint. You'll have 30 days to respond. It is important to respond in a timely, thoughtful, and informed fashion. Depending on the quality of your response and the evidence you present to support your side of the matter, your case could potentially be closed without any further investigation, obligation on your part, or disciplinary action. Working with our team can help to ensure that your response is as strong as it can be.
The Role of the Complaint Committee
The West Virginia Board of Medicine understands that not every complaint filed against a physician is grounded in truth and not every misstep made by a physician is grounds for discipline. After you respond to the complaint against you – and the individual who filed the complaint has been given the opportunity to file a final response within 30 days after your response has been received – the Complaint Committee of the Board will begin its review process.
The Complaint Committee reviews the back-and-forth responses to a new complaint once its next regularly-scheduled meeting convenes. These meetings take place in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Once the Committee has evaluated the information submitted by each party, it will make recommendations to the full membership of the Board. Its recommendations may result in:
- The closure of a case without any further action
- The scheduling of a disciplinary hearing
- The resolution of the matter via a Consent Order disciplining the affected physician without a formal hearing
Once the Board has rendered a final decision concerning this stage of your case, you will be notified in writing. Note that while the documents submitted to the Board remain confidential throughout this process, once a final decision is rendered, the full complaint questionnaire will become accessible by the public, save for certain kinds of patient-specific medical information.
These Alleged Actions Can Place a West Virginia Physician's License at Risk
Any licensed medical professional who practices in West Virginia can be accused of serious wrongdoing. When allegations against a physician are particularly credible and serious in nature, that physician's license could potentially be suspended or revoked. Before the West Virginia Board of Medicine can take disciplinary action against a physician, it must investigate and determine the validity of any complaints filed against that individual. Common reasons that the Board may discipline a West Virginia physician include:
- Abuse or neglect of patients
- A criminal conviction related to a physician's practice of medicine
- A felony conviction of any kind
- Negligence resulting in patient harm or endangerment
- Practicing medicine on a suspended license
- Professional incompetence
- Sexual misconduct with a patient
- Unprofessional conduct
- Violating established professional protocols concerning controlled substances
Additionally, the Board may take action in the event that a physician has been subjected to three or more judgments “or any combination of judgments and settlements resulting in five or more unfavorable outcomes” related to professional liability matters within a five-year period. Finally, the Board may take action in the event that an employer honors certain mandatory reporting requirements when certain internal disciplinary actions are taken against a practicing physician.
Administrative licensing processes are different than the prosecution of criminal offenses, but some of the same protections that you'd be afforded in a criminal context also apply to a licensing disciplinary situation. In the event that you're ever charged with criminal wrongdoing, the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution empowers you to exercise your right of due process. As a result of this right, you'll be given the opportunity to defend against the accusations you're facing, to present evidence, question witnesses, and otherwise cast doubt on the state's case. In a licensing capacity, you're owed due process as well before the state can deprive you of your interest in your license.
As noted above, the West Virginia Board of Medicine may ultimately review the complaint against you, your response, and the final response of the complaining party and opt to schedule a hearing or discipline you per the terms of a consent order. A consent order would allow you to accept certain disciplinary terms rather than moving forward with a hearing. This option may be particularly helpful if it's likely that a full hearing would result in less favorable disciplinary terms based on the nature of your situation. In the event of a hearing, you'll benefit from due process and the opportunity to defend against the allegations in question. By retaining the Lento Law Firm's highly qualified Professional License Defense Team, you can better ensure that your due process opportunity offers you the best possible chance to secure a favorable outcome.
If Your Matter Is Scheduled for a Hearing
If the West Virginia Board of Medicine decides to move forward with a hearing, it'll be very important that you prepare appropriately. Think of a disciplinary hearing as a kind of trial, in which your future hinges on the strength of the evidence presented and the validity of the other side's case. When you work with our team, you'll benefit from the experience of physician license defense attorneys who understand how to present the strongest possible case on behalf of a hard-working physician.
Legal Actions the West Virginia Board of Medicine Can Take
If the West Virginia Board of Medicine ultimately determines that you have engaged in professional wrongdoing (or you agree to sign a Consent Order without a hearing-based determination to that effect), it can formally discipline you in a variety of ways. Most of these actions will be recorded on your physician record. Possible consequences imposed in the event of an unfavorable outcome to your case include:
- Administrative fines
- License probation
- License revocation
- License suspension
- Mandatory continuing education
- Professional reprimand
Additionally, it may be possible to negotiate the voluntary surrender of your license in the event that an unfavorable outcome would otherwise lead to its involuntary revocation.
West Virginia Board of Medicine Disciplinary Appeals
Per the terms of the Board's governing authority, any physician who is subject to discipline at the conclusion of a hearing is entitled to request a judicial review of the decision. However, they may not practice medicine while their appeal is pending. The Lento Law Firm team is fully capable of effectively representing physicians in an appeals capacity, regardless of whether we represented them during their initial review and hearing processes.
Note also that any physician who is subject to disciplinary action by the Board can, “at reasonable intervals,” take advantage of an opportunity to demonstrate to the Board that they should be permitted to resume their medical practice on a limited basis, if that opportunity is relevant to their circumstances.
Why You Should Connect with a Physician License Defense Attorney in West Virginia Right Away
Although the West Virginia Board of Medicine is not an inherently adversarial body, it does employ its significant resources to discipline physicians throughout the state whenever it deems appropriate. To successfully combat allegations – or, at minimum, to mitigate the consequences of an unfavorable outcome – it is vitally important to engage our reputable Professional License Defense Team as soon as possible. Doing so will allow us the greatest amount of time to prepare your response to the complaint, the case you'll present at the hearing, and/or your appeal.
Areas We Serve In West Virginia
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is proud to represent physicians throughout urban and rural West Virginia. In addition to lesser-populated areas of the state, our team advocates on behalf of physicians who practice medicine in the following cities and surrounding communities:
In addition to serving physicians who are employed or have been employed at smaller practices, we also represent licensed professionals who have ties to Charleston Area Medical Center, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, Saint Mary's Medical Center, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital, and Cabell Huntington Hospital.
The License Defense Team You Need When West Virginia Physician License Charges Are Pending
Physicians of every specialty may find they need to combat allegations of wrongdoing during the course of their careers, regardless of whether they've made any truly significant missteps or not. Perhaps a misunderstanding or clerical error has led to the circumstances that you're facing now. No matter what the unique details of your story may be, mounting a strong defense against the accusations you're facing may mean the difference between continuing to hold your license to practice medicine and losing that privilege.
The West Virginia Board of Medicine is well-funded and is prepared to investigate and prosecute physicians whom it has reason to believe have failed in their professional obligations. As a result, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side to better ensure that your approach is not outmatched by an entity that does not value your personal license as much as you do.
Just as hundreds of your professional colleagues have done nationwide, entrust your case to the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team so that you can get back to practicing medicine with your professional reputation intact. Call 888.535.3686 or go online to learn more about our team's approach to representation. We look forward to hearing from you.