A professional license in good standing indicates you demonstrate the knowledge, skill, and abilities to perform professional services in your field and you agree to abide by the laws and regulations governing your profession. Licensing agencies are responsible for vetting applicants' qualifications, issuing licenses, holding licensees accountable to the laws that govern their profession, investigating complaints of professional wrongdoing, and, when necessary, sharing important information to protect the public's health and safety. This standard reinforces the public's trust in the regulatory agency and the professionals it oversees.
When a professional licensing board receives a complaint of professional misconduct by one of its members, the board must investigate and, if it sees fit, carry out disciplinary actions in order to maintain its reputation and standing with the public and its members.
If you are the target of a complaint, your professional license is under threat. Depending on the severity of the complaint and the defense you build against it, you could face warnings, fines, restitution, additional training, or suspension or loss of your license.
Never take a threat to your professional license lightly. Whether you're a doctor, dentist, accountant, teacher, electrician, or other licensed professional in Oklahoma, if someone accuses you of professional misconduct against you, you should immediately retain the services of a professional license defense attorney. Losing your license has devastating consequences on your career, your reputation, and your livelihood.
Protect your career and reputation by consulting with Joseph D. Lento and his experienced Professional License Defense Team. They can help guide you through the professional disciplinary process and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
The Lento Law Firm: Professional License Defense in Oklahoma
Several violations of professional code can put a professional's licensure at risk of suspension or revocation across all professions in the Sooner State, such as sexual misconduct, negligence, fraud, or substance abuse. Your license could also be in jeopardy if a court convicts you of a crime unrelated to your profession, such as driving while under the influence.
Whether you are one of the near-5,000 registered physicians working in Oklahoma medical centers and clinics or one of the 41,000-plus teachers at Oklahoma's public schools, your license is at risk if someone has accused you of professional wrongdoing. It is crucial that you speak with an attorney experienced in defending licensed professionals.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento leads the Professional License Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm. Collectively, they have years of experience defending professional against such allegations. They have helped healthcare professionals, college professors, school teachers, and others like you in Oklahoma and across the country defend their licenses. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
The Disciplinary Process for Licensed Professionals in Oklahoma
Professional boards review every complaint they receive against their licensed professionals and have the authority to take action if they see fit. The action they take can vary. The procedures and guidelines each board follows to determine whether a complaint warrants disciplinary action may differ slightly, but all follow a process like the one outlined below:
When a board receives a complaint against one of its members, it triggers a process that can take weeks to months to resolve. Each board handles the disciplinary process for its own members. For example, the Oklahoma Medical Board regulates licensed healthcare professionals, and the Oklahoma Accountancy Board enforces the rules and regulations for accountants and CPAs in the state.
Anyone can file a complaint against an Oklahoma-licensed professional; in some cases, complainants can remain anonymous. Complainants are often one of the following:
- patients or clients
- other practitioners
- insurers (usually in cases of suspected fraud)
- court clerks (such as in the case of a recent criminal conviction)
After receiving a complaint, the board will review it to determine if the alleged misconduct violates professional code and if the member is, in fact, under the board's jurisdiction. If not, the board will likely dismiss the case. Otherwise, if the board deems the complaint should progress, board members assign someone to investigate. The investigator notifies the professional of the accusation against them.
The investigation may include a review of your records, an interview with you, and possibly interviews with co-workers or others familiar with you or the alleged incident. The investigator compiles a report for the board with his recommendations. The board will consider this information before deciding the next moves, such as closing the complaint, interviewing the complainant, or gathering more information, which they may do through a subpoena.
If you have hired an attorney, they will help guide you through the board's disciplinary process, offer solid advice, and help you build a strong case in your defense. The sooner you retain the services of a lawyer, the stronger the case you can build. Let The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team advise you on cooperating with investigators and building a strong defense should the board pursue disciplinary action.
Consent Order and Other Possible Actions
The best outcome following a board's investigation into a complaint against you is for the board to close the complaint. However, the board may decide to take disciplinary action, the severity of which will depend on the seriousness of the alleged misconduct.
One of the more lenient disciplinary actions is to issue a Letter of Concern, sometimes called a Letter of Caution. These letters call the licensee's attention to the specific act or omission that led to the complaint. It also warns the licensee that the professional could face future disciplinary action if the actions don't cease. These letters remain in the professional's licensing file.
For more serious violations of professional code, the board may issue a Consent Order that names possible disciplinary actions. Some possible actions include admitting liability or guilt, paying fines or restitution, undergoing mandatory continuing education, or undergoing substance abuse treatment. The board may also order the suspension or revocation of your professional license.
You can negotiate the terms of a Consent Order with the regulatory board, but if you cannot agree on a fair outcome, you have the right to have your case heard before the board.
An experienced professional license defense attorney can assist with negotiating the terms of a Consent Order and prepare you for a hearing should you and the board not agree on the terms. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team have years of experience defending professionals before licensing boards. Call the Lento Law Firm today.
Professional boards' administrative hearings run similarly to courtroom hearings. The board presents the evidence against you, and you can respond to the accusations. Afterward, the board will consider all the evidence and decide what actions to take. These actions may include admitting guilt or liability, paying fines, paying restitution to the named party, or suspending or revoking your professional license.
Why You Need the Lento Law Firm to Help Protect Your License
The disciplinary process is time-consuming and overwhelming. Legal representation from an experienced professional license defense attorney takes a lot of pressure off you and greatly improves your chances of keeping your license.
If you retain the services of Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team to guide you through the disciplinary process, they can assist you in many ways, such as:
- Reviewing the complaint against you and determining the best strategy in your defense, starting with evidence collection, witness procurement, and more.
- Serving as your official legal representative in all interactions with the administrative board reviewing the complaint against you.
- Drafting an effective written response to the complaint to improve your chances of having it dismissed.
- Negotiating with the board at multiple points to have the complaint dismissed or to agree to more lenient penalties.
- Negotiating the most favorable terms possible in a consent agreement.
- Defending you in a formal hearing before the board if negotiations with the board fail.
Areas the Lento Law Firm Serves in Oklahoma
Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team provide professional license defense services to licensed professionals in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Normal Broken Arrow, and across the entire state of Oklahoma.
Most of our Oklahoma clients live in the more densely populated areas and healthcare hubs across the Sooner State; we are especially available to provide representation in the following areas:
Oklahoma's largest city and capital city is home to more than 687,000 people. Surrounded by working oil wells in the middle of the state, Oklahoma City is a popular tourist destination. The city is home to the Oklahoma State Medical Board, which investigates complaints and monitors disciplinary actions against all healthcare professionals in the state. One of the city's biggest employers is INTEGRIS Health Network and its flagship location, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. Also located in the capital city is the State Board of Behavioral Health, which regulates the state's Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists, and Licensed Behavioral Practitioners.
Roughly an hour and a half northeast of Oklahoma City on the bluffs of the Arkansas River is Tulsa, the state's second-largest city with roughly 411,000 residents. Tulsa is home to some of the country's largest companies in industry sectors such as aerospace, energy, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and transportation. Tulsa Public Schools oversee 69 schools and 32,569 students. The city is also home to Oral Roberts University, The University of Tulsa, and community colleges.
Twenty miles due south of Oklahoma City sits Norman, the state's third-largest city with a population of 128,000. Tulsa is home to The University of Oklahoma, the largest university in the state, with nearly 32,000 students. It's also the city's largest employer, with 3,000 faculty members among its 13,000 employees. Norman Regional Hospital and Norman Public Schools are Tulsa's second and third largest employers, respectively.
Broken Arrow is Tulsa's largest suburb—and the state's fourth-largest city— located mostly in Tulsa County, with a small portion of the city located in western Wagoner County. Broken Arrow is home to some 113,000 residents. The city is served predominantly by Broken Arrow Public Schools, as well as Union Public Schools, Bixby Public Schools, and Coweta Public Schools.
Offenses or Allegations that Might Jeopardize Your Professional License
Boards must review all complaints against its members and investigate ones that suggest a professional violation occurred. Some complaints can be of a serious enough nature that the board takes disciplinary action, which may include suspension or revocation of a professional license. Some more serious accusations that prompt disciplinary action include:
Fraud—any action, omission, or misrepresentation that knowingly or recklessly leads, or attempts to mislead, another person or entity for financial benefit—is a serious violation of professional code. Some examples of fraud in the healthcare setting include:
- overbilling of patients or upcoding insurance providers, such as using a code for a more expensive service than the one provided
- billing patients or insurance providers for services not rendered
- collecting kickbacks for referrals
- falsifying patient diagnoses to collect more reimbursement from insurance providers
- offering services outside the scope of your license
Abuse, Gross Negligence
Professionals who act in a way that puts a patient's safety, health, or well-being at risk are violating professional code. Examples include:
- physical abuse, such as hitting or sexual assault
- emotional abuse, such as threatening or berating a patient
- violating patient confidentiality
- medical errors, including prescription errors
Sexual Misconduct/Inappropriate Relationships
Entering into a sexual or romantic relationship with a patient is unacceptable, as is any other form of sexual misconduct, such as unwanted sexual advances toward patients or co-workers, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
Inappropriate Handling of Medications
Medical professionals have a legal duty to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. These professionals breach their duty of care when they prescribe or dispense medications irresponsibly or outside the scope of their license. Other serious infractions include incorrect tracking of medications or stealing prescription drugs for personal use.
Inaccurate Record Keeping
Keeping accurate and thorough records is essential to conscientious, ethical patient care. Healthcare workers can risk their licenses if they maintain sloppy or incomplete patient records or falsify documents.
Abusing or misusing drugs or alcohol on the job is unacceptable. It can impair judgment and the ability to perform job duties. Your license is at risk of suspension or revocation if you are found guilty of abusing drugs or alcohol at work.
The court clerk will likely notify your licensing board if the court finds you guilty of criminal behavior. Your license could be at risk of revocation if your conviction is for driving while under the influence, crimes of moral turpitude, or crimes related to your profession.
The Lento Law Firm: Professional License Defense for Licensed Professionals in Oklahoma
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team represent the interests of licensed professionals like you in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Broken Arrow, and across Oklahoma and the entire country. If you are licensed to practice in any of these positions, The Lento Law Firm can assist you in your defense.
- physician assistant
- mental health professional
- physical therapist
- real estate agent
- K-12 educator
- insurance agent
- other licensed professions
Allegations of professional misconduct can quickly turn into a potentially devastating threat to your professional license. Your career, professional reputation, and livelihood are at risk. You need an experienced professional license defense attorney to assist you through the disciplinary process if you want to improve your chances of keeping your license.
Let attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team fight for you. They can build a strong defense in your case and provide the legal representation and support you need. Call 888-535-3686 or contact us online to schedule a case evaluation and begin the process of defending your professional license and your good name today.