Licensed professionals in Maine work hard to become certified in their fields. A lot of time, energy, and money goes into earning one's license. That's why it's so frustrating to learn your license is under scrutiny from the board. Whether you're an electrician, physician, nurse, teacher, dentist, or other licensed professional, the loss of your license can have long-reaching ramifications. Allegations of misconduct may threaten your future career and reputation. Take a proactive approach to responding to such accusations. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his knowledgeable Professional License Defense Team can help you wade through the mire and get your career back on track.
The Lento Law Firm: Professional License Defense in Maine
There is a wide range of professional code violations that can jeopardize your good standing. The violation of patient/client confidentiality can trigger an investigation, as can the mishandling of medications, substance abuse, and sexual misconduct. Your license may even be threatened if you're convicted of a crime that happens outside of work. For instance, if you're caught driving while intoxicated, the licensing board may decide to put you on probation, even if the incident happened off the clock. That's why it's so important to speak with an experienced Professional License Defense Attorney as soon as you discover allegations of misconduct have been made against you.
Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team know exactly how to respond to allegations of misconduct in Maine and throughout the rest of the United States. They have helped countless healthcare professionals and other licensed workers protect their licenses. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
Disciplinary Proceedings for Licensed Professionals in Maine
The governing body that issued your license likely oversees the review of misconduct or wrongdoing allegations. Guidelines and procedures vary from one organization to the next, but each board tends to follow this process:
Most disciplinary proceedings in Maine begin when a complaint is filed against a licensed professional via the relevant state agency. For instance, complaints against physicians are filed with the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, which also handles complaints against physician assistants. There are other boards that oversee the licensing of healthcare professionals in dentistry, nursing, and counseling. Agencies for other types of licensed professionals include the Maine Board of Pharmacy, the Maine Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers, and the Maine Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.
Anyone may file a complaint that puts your license in jeopardy; most complainants fall into 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 the licensing board receives a complaint, an investigation is launched. As the subject of the investigation, you should receive written notice and an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Investigators may reach out for an interview. They may show up to your workplace unannounced if the complaint involves allegations of alcohol impairment or drug use. After the initial investigation concludes, investigators file a report of their findings. This report helps the agency determine the next steps. In some cases, the complaint is closed. In others, further investigation is warranted. Witnesses may be interviewed, and a subpoena may be issued for relevant records. With so much hinging on the outcome of the investigation, it's important to reach out to Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team upon learning you're the subject of one.
When an investigation concludes, and disciplinary action is necessary, the licensing agency may attempt to craft a legally binding consent agreement in which you admit guilt but retain an active professional license. This consent agreement may include penalties, including mandatory training or substance abuse treatment. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can negotiate the most favorable consent agreement possible.
Sometimes a consent agreement is not offered or cannot be reached. In such cases, an administrative hearing follows. Attendance is typically mandatory. The licensing agency will make its case before allowing you the chance to respond. You'll need to demonstrate good reasons as to why your professional license should remain valid. The board will then determine whether you are guilty or innocent and decide what disciplinary actions should be taken.
Protect Your License With the Help of the Lento Law Firm
In most legal proceedings, the person bringing a complaint must incur significant costs and hire legal representation. That's not true of issues involving professional licensure. For many professions, there is no statute of limitations for filing a complaint, either. The target of the complaint bears all the risks in the situation.
If allegations of professional misconduct have been made against you, you may be tempted to represent yourself. This could prove to be incredibly risky. Working with the Lento Law Firm, on the other hand, will dramatically improve the chances of a favorable outcome. The sooner you retain legal representation, the better. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can assist with a number of tasks, including the following:
- Assess the complaint against you and decide upon the best defense strategy, beginning with evidence collection, witness interviews, and more.
- Represent you in all legal proceedings involving the administrative board overseeing the complaint against you.
- Write a thoughtful response to the complaint to improve the odds of having the complaint dismissed altogether.
- Negotiate to have the complaint dismissed or for more lenient penalties.
- Argue for more favorable terms in a consent agreement.
- Advocate for you in a formal hearing before the board.
Areas the Lento Law Firm Serves in Maine
Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team provide professional license defense services to physicians, dentists, and other healthcare workers, as well as other licensed professionals throughout Maine. Many of our clients are based in the more densely populated areas and healthcare hubs across the Pine Tree State. We are particularly available to represent those residing in the following cities:
Located on Maine's southern coast, Portland is the most populous city in the state, with more than 68,000 local residents. The greater Portland area is home to nearly 540,000 people. The city is home to several major hospitals, including Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, and New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland. The University of New England recently announced the construction of a $93 million health sciences facility that will consolidate the school's health programs on one site. As such, Portland is home to many healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
Drive 45 minutes north of Portland, and you'll find yourself in the state's second most populous city. Lewiston is a charming town of around 36,000 residents, many of whom work in the healthcare industry. The city is home to Central Maine Medical Center, a large medical center that offers a range of services, including emergency care, surgery, cancer treatment, and more. Lewiston is home to the nation's largest population of French speakers.
Bangor is a city located in the Penobscot County of Maine, and it is the third most populous city in the state. The city has a vibrant economy, with healthcare, education, and manufacturing sectors among the top employers. Notable healthcare facilities in Bangor include Eastern Maine Medical Center, Northern Light Health, and St. Joseph Hospital. These institutions offer emergency care, surgery, oncology, and rehabilitation services.
South Portland is a coastal city in Cumberland County, Maine. The city is known for its beautiful waterfront, bustling port, and thriving economy. South Portland is home to many major employers, including WEX, Inc., Texas Instruments, and the Maine Mall. A robust local healthcare industry serves the region. The most notable healthcare facility in South Portland is Maine Medical Center South. An offshoot of Portland's Maine Medical Center, the facility offers pediatric services for local residents.
Auburn, Maine, is a city located in Androscoggin County, just north of Lewiston. The city is known for its beautiful parks, historic architecture, and vibrant community. Though Auburn is home to just under 25,000 residents, the town's bustling healthcare industry ensures excellent support for locals. Central Maine Medical Center and Bridgton Hospital are among the largest employers in the region. Of course, there are countless other medical professionals employed in smaller medical offices throughout the city.
Allegations That May Put Your License in Jeopardy
Licensees are held accountable by professional licensing boards to maintain the public trust. Any complaints against them will be investigated. The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, for instance, has the authority to discipline practitioners who have violated the Medical Practices Act. The disciplinary actions may include a warning, probation, or revocation of their license, depending on the severity of the offense. Allegations that may result in disciplinary actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
Within the healthcare industry, fraudulent actions may involve the following:
- billing patients or insurance providers for services that were not provided
- overbilling patients or upcoding insurance providers, which involves using a code for a more expensive service than the one that was provided
- accepting kickbacks for referrals
- falsifying patient diagnoses to increase reimbursement from insurance providers
- offering services that are beyond the scope of one's license
This category includes any activity that may pose a threat to a patient's safety, health, or overall well-being. Some examples include:
- physical abuse such as hitting or sexual assault
- emotional abuse such as threatening or berating a patient
- infringing on patient confidentiality
- medical errors like prescription errors
Sexual Misconduct or Inappropriate Relationships
Sexual or romantic relationships with patients rank among the most severe ethical violations for healthcare professionals. Other types of sexual misconduct that occur in the healthcare field include unwanted sexual advances toward patients or colleagues, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
Improper Medication Management
If a practitioner is found to have prescribed or dispensed medications recklessly or beyond the limits of their license, they can face severe penalties from the administrative board. Other violations include incorrect documentation of medications or stealing medications for personal use.
Maintaining precise and comprehensive patient records is a vital aspect of ethical and diligent patient care. If a healthcare professional is caught up in the charge of keeping sloppy or inadequate patient records or if the records consist of manipulated information, their license may be jeopardized.
As substance abuse can significantly impair a practitioner's judgment and ability to provide safe care to patients, those who are found to be abusing drugs or alcohol risk losing their license.
If the administrative board becomes aware of a healthcare professional's criminal conviction for driving while intoxicated, crimes of moral turpitude, or any offenses connected to their profession, their license may be at risk.
Professional License Defense for Maine's Licensed Professionals
Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team have vast experience protecting the interests of licensed professionals in Maine and throughout the United States. The Lento Law Firm can provide assistance to those licensed to practice in any of these roles:
- physician assistant
- mental health professional
- physical therapist
- real estate agent
- K-12 educator
- insurance agent
- other licensed professions
Accusations of professional misconduct have the potential to cause significant harm to your professional license, career, reputation, and financial stability. It's crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you make informed decisions.
Joseph D. Lento and the Professional License Defense Team can offer you the outstanding legal representation that you deserve. Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online to schedule your case review. By getting the wheels in motion, you take the first steps toward clearing your name and protecting your professional license.