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illinois license defense lawyerIt is a given in the medical community that any type of physician should have medical malpractice insurance. In today’s litigious society, with thousands of malpractice lawsuits filed every year, just one malpractice claim against a doctor could destroy them financially, both professionally and personally. However, many other licensed professionals, such as nurses, social workers, and counselors,can also face serious allegations that can impact their career and finances. Yet, many of these professionals do not have any kind of liability insurance to cover the costs of these claims. This is why having professional liability insurance can be a safety net to professional and financial disaster. 

Why You May Need Your Own Policy

Most nurses and social workers are covered under their employers’ liability insurance policies. For example, a nurse who works in a hospital would be covered under that hospital’s policy if a patient filed a malpractice lawsuit and that nurse was one of the parties named in the suit. However, that policy may not cover the cost to that nurse of defending his or her license before the Illinois Board of Nursing for any complaints that may result in that lawsuit.

Another important issue that nurses and social workers should consider is that many complaints that the Board of Nursing and Illinois Social Work Examining and Disciplinary Board receive are filed by the licensee’s own employer. These complaints usually occur after the licensee has been terminated from their job. So a nurse or social worker who needs a skilled and experienced Illinois professional license defense attorney to fight these charges with the board is now unemployed and may not have the resources to retain a much-needed attorney.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1873782871.jpgThe winter holiday season is usually made up of get-togethers with family and friends, holiday work parties, and other celebrations. There is often alcohol involved in many of these gatherings and sometimes people can over imbibe. When an intoxicated individual gets behind the wheel, they may face charges for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The consequences of a DUI conviction in Illinois can have a significant impact on anyone’s life, but if you are a doctor, a DUI conviction can also have an impact on your medical license and professional reputation.

DUI Penalties for Conviction

Anyone who is arrested for DUI in Illinois must face both the criminal justice system and the Secretary of State’s office in an administrative hearing. A person who refuses to submit to a chemical test faces an automatic loss of driving privileges under the Illinois implied consent laws. Failure of chemical testing also can result in automatic loss of license.

If a person is found guilty in the criminal process, they face a minimum revocation of driving privileges for one year for their first offense, five years for a second offense, 10 years for a third offense, and a lifetime revocation for a fourth or subsequent conviction. There may also be jail time and hefty fines imposed.

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oak brook license defense lawyerPharmacists, just like many other professionals, are required to complete necessary education and training related to their field, and then obtain their license through the state of Illinois. The agency that is in charge of licensing and regulation over the state’s approximately 20,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians is the Illinois Board of Pharmacy, which is part of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Part of the oversight the pharmacy board has is handling all complaints and investigations, as well as taking any appropriate disciplinary actions. If you have received notification from the board that they are investigating a complaint against you or conducting an investigation for any other reason, it is important to contact an Illinois professional license defense attorney right away.

Reasons for an Illinois Board of Pharmacy Disciplinary Action

The Illinois Board of Pharmacy can place a pharmacist on probation, or they may even revoke the pharmacist’s license if they feel the pharmacist has committed a violation. For example, a pharmacist who has been convicted of a felony level offense or has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude may lose their pharmacist’s license. Crimes of moral turpitude include sexual misconduct, assault, and DUI.

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illinois license defense lawyerThe real estate market is booming across Illinois and across the country. For sale signs that are put up in front of homes are quickly replaced with under contract and sold signs. Many real estate agents are having great success in sales and the commissions they are earning. However, all it takes is one complaint or one investigation by the Illinois Division of Real Estate (DRE) and that success can quickly disappear.

Without a real estate license, a person cannot sell real estate in the state. The DRE has established standards that all Illinois real estate professionals must adhere to. Accusations of not following those standards could result in loss of your license. So, what types of issues could threaten an agent’s real estate license?

Criminal Conviction

One of the most serious issues that can result in loss of a real estate license is a conviction for certain crimes, especially crimes of moral turpitude. Crimes that fall in this category include the following:

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Illinois Professional License Defense LawyerWe have discussed many issues that can threaten a physician’s medical license in our blogs, including allegations of insurance fraud, substance abuse issues, and allegations of medical malpractice. These types of issues usually go through a process that is overseen by the Illinois Medical Board and – depending on the circumstances – often involves filing responses, hearings, and even appeals. However, there is one issue that could result in a suspension of a doctor’s medical license that does not involve that process and occurs quickly once it is requested. That issue is failure to pay court-ordered child support.

Illinois Child Support Law

Under the Illinois child support law, every parent has a legal duty to support their child and, according to the law, that duty “includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.” In most cases, child support is paid to the parent that the child will be spending the majority of time with.

A child support order is a legal order issued by a judge and if a parent fails or refuses to pay child support, the state has approved several actions that can be taken against the parent. Some of these actions include the following:

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Illinois Professional License Defense LawyerThe Illinois State Board of Dentistry is the agency that oversees licensed dental professionals. If a complaint has been filed against a dental professional with the board of accusations of unnecessary treatment, substandard care, or inappropriate behavior, it is critical to have an experienced Illinois professional license defense attorney defending you against these allegations or you could risk losing your license to practice. In some cases, the patient may have also filed a dental malpractice claim. 

Why Should I Have an Attorney?

Defending against a complaint can be a complicated process, requiring the knowledge and experience of how the process works. Failure to respond to the board before deadlines and with required information can result in serious consequences for the dental professional being accused. 

The first step the board will take when a patient has filed a complaint is to decide if the complaint has merit. If the board decides it does, it will be given to a dental board investigator to begin an investigation into the allegations. Your attorney will prepare a written statement responding to the complaint, as well as help you prepare for any written questions by the dental board investigator assigned to your case. 

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Illinois medical provider enrollment defenseIn today’s litigious society, doctors often have to worry about medical malpractice claims. The high cost of malpractice insurance to protect a physician and their practice is one of the factors that drives the high cost of healthcare. Although focused on malpractice concerns, worrying about accusations for Medicare or Medicaid fraud is not something that a physician usually concerns themselves with, yet these accusations occur much more often than you may realize.

Medicare Fraud Accusations

The False Claims Act was enacted to protect these programs from the filing of false claims. A physician can be accused of fraud for false claims if the Office of Inspector General (OIG) feels that physician knew or should have known the claims were not valid. Under this law, a physician can be held legally liable even if they had no idea their office was submitting fraudulent claims with Medicare or Medicaid. If the OIG finds the physician guilty, that physician can receive a fine of $11,000 for every incorrect or fraudulent item billed to the government.

Incorrect coding is also another reason why the OIG may accuse a doctor of Medicaid fraud. If the incorrect code results in a larger amount of reimbursement than what the actual charge should have been, the OIG could deem this act an abuse of the program.

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Illinois Medical Practice Defense LawyerHearing the word “audit” can trigger a stressful reaction, no matter what entity is conducting the audit. One of those entities is the Illinois Office of Inspector General. Receiving notification that your medical practice is under an audit or investigation by IG could result in severe consequences without the experienced and skilled representation of an Illinois medical license defense attorney.

Is There a Difference Between a Healthcare Audit and a Healthcare Investigation?

The two terms are often misunderstood to mean the same thing but there are specific differences between the two. A healthcare audit examines the behaviors and actions of the medical practice when it comes to the financial side of things. An audit will examine what the practice is issuing charges for, how funds are being spent, and if there is cohesiveness with all of these figures.

There are several reasons why a healthcare audit may be initiated. One of the most common issues that can trigger an audit is when an insurance provider makes a claim that the practice is overcharging for the services and care they provide. The insurance company may not accuse the practice of outright fraud, however, just that inquiry triggers an audit in order to provide the insurance company with the answers that justify the practice’s fees and charges.

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Illinois Professional Medical License LawyerIn 2004, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) established the Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors (VAWD) process in order to keep the country’s supply of prescription drugs and medical devices safe from counterfeit products. The NABP process is a rigorous one. In order to receive VAWD-certification, a drug wholesale company must show that they have a legitimate operation, their license is in good standing, they have employees, and utilize best practices when it comes to handling, storing, and shipping prescription drugs and medical devices.

It is in a pharmacy’s best interests – as well as their customers’ – to always purchase medications and devices from a VAWD-certified company. Although it may be tempting to purchase from a secondary wholesaler because it has lower prices than an accredited company, you have no idea where the products are coming from or how the company operates since there is no oversight. Recent events emphasize just how dangerous this can be.

Owner Indicted on Federal Charges

Last month, federal prosecutors announced they had indicted the owner of a Plainfield, IL wholesale drug company for purchasing unregulated prescription drugs and then reselling these medications to unsuspecting pharmacies. The man was charged with six counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and three counts of money laundering.

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Illinois License Defense AttorneyReceiving a formal notice of complaint from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) can feel overwhelming, no matter what profession you are in. A formal complaint can have devastating repercussions – not only on your reputation, but on your entire career and livelihood. Regardless of whether the notice is about a minor disciplinary action or threats of suspension or revocation of your license, it is critical to consult with an Illinois professional license defense attorney immediately.

You Have Received the Notice. Now What?

When an Illinois professional board receives a complaint – whether it is the medical, nursing, pharmacy, dental, real estate, or any other professional board – it will determine if it has the proper jurisdiction. If it does, then the board will initiate a formal investigation. The licensee who is being investigated will be sent a formal notice in writing, advising them of the complaint and investigation.

Although it may be tempting to put the notice aside and deal with it later, this can result in serious consequences. There are precise deadlines that have been put in place by the IDFPR in the complaint process and failure to address the complaint and submit an appropriate response could not only result in forfeiture of your legal rights but can also result in additional disciplinary action and/or further sanctions by the board.

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Illinois DEA Investigations Defense AttorneyThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Chicago Division, along with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois recently announced that two Illinois doctors were indicted on federal criminal charges for allegedly prescribing opioids to patients who did not have a legitimate medical reason for the drugs.

The Indictments

According to the information released by the DEA, one of the physicians charged managed a medical practice in Melrose Park and the second physician was employed there. The indictments allege that between 2015 and 2020, the doctors dispensed fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other controlled substances to patients who came to the practice but that no physical exams or diagnostic tests were performed on these patients in order to confirm what medical needs the patients had for these drugs.

The doctors are also accused of causing pharmacies to submit many claims to Medicare and Medicaid for prescriptions that were allegedly improperly prescribed.

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Illinois Medical License Defense LawyerOver the last few months, federal and state agencies across the country have issued warnings to health care professionals who hold various licenses to watch out for phone calls and letters from scammers claiming to be from state medical boards, claiming the person’s medical license has been suspended. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are currently investigating these alleged scams. If you have been contacted by someone claiming to be from the Illinois Medical Board threatening that your license is in jeopardy, it is important to contact an Illinois professional license defense attorney right away.

Details of the Scam

According to details released by law enforcement, the scammers will contact a health professional usually by phone. The call appears to be legitimate to the recipient because the scammers have been able to alter the phone number on the person’s caller ID so that it appears that the call is actually coming in from the state’s medical board. 

There are a couple of different methods the scammers are using to commit this fraud. In one of the scams being used, the person is contacted and told their medical license has been stolen and was used to commit criminal acts. The scammer claims these criminal acts are being investigated by the FBI, DEA, and other law enforcement agencies. The person is told their license has been suspended and that in order to have it reinstated, they must pay a bond.

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Illinois Medical License Defense AttorneyThere is no doubt that the country is deeply divided over just how serious COVID-19 is and what steps should be taken to mitigate the spread of the virus. There is intense debate over vaccines, masks, and social distancing, with much of that debate raging over social media platforms. Unfortunately, there has been an avalanche of misinformation and disinformation posted on these platforms about the virus. Some of this information comes directly from physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. All of this misinformation has prompted the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to announce that any healthcare professional who spreads COVID-19 misinformation is at risk of losing their medical license.

The Federation of State Medical Boards

The FSMB is a nonprofit organization that represents 71 state medical and osteopathic boards in the United States. The organization provides education, data, assessment, and research to medical boards, while also focusing on initiatives and services that promote regulatory best practices, quality health care, and patient safety. The FSMB also co-sponsors the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

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Illinois Nursing License Defense AttorneyA nurse practitioner is one type of advanced practice registered nurse. In order to be licensed as a nurse practitioner, you are required to have additional education, training, and certification. Traditionally, nurse practitioners could be found at medical facilities such as urgent care clinics, but today, more and more patients are turning to nurse practitioners for their primary healthcare needs. Here in Illinois, the number of nurse practitioners have tripled over the past ten years and now number over 12,000.

At one time, nurse practitioners were always required to enter into a collaborative practice agreement with a physician, but that changed a few years ago when the state of Illinois passed a law allowing advanced practice registered nurses to practice independently of doctors. However, there are stringent requirements that must be met in order for them to do so.

Obtaining a Nurse Practitioner License

In order to become a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse must obtain their master’s degree in nursing. They are also required to have a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care in order to be nationally certified.

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Illinois Medical License Defense AttorneyThe shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in multiple federal programs to help businesses and individuals survive financially. Some of these resources included the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Paycheck Protection Program, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Over the last several months, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced indictments of multiple cases of fraud against parties who allegedly benefitted from these programs illegally. Recently, the DOJ announced another area of pandemic fraud they will be targeting – healthcare fraud.

Multiple Indictments

The DOJ issued their warning to all healthcare providers across the country that submitting claims for COVID-19-related testing and healthcare services that are false could result in criminal charges. Over the past couple of months, the DOJ has filed criminal charges against more than a dozen people in multiple states for submitting false claims. The total amount of these alleged false claims totals more than $143 million. Some of the alleged criminal acts charged in these indictments include fake testing, money laundering, and wire fraud.

In one case, a medical doctor was one of the people charged in an alleged scheme involving COVID-19 testing for Medicare recipients. The doctor is alleged to have taken the personal information of individuals receiving COVID tests, along with blood or saliva samples, and submitted them to Medicare for unrelated, unnecessary, and expensive laboratory testing. Some of the conditions allegedly submitted falsely for testing included cancer, allergy testing, respiratory pathogen panel tests, and genetic testing.

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Illinois Medical Marijuana Certification AttorneyIn 2013, the state of Illinois passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed the use of medical marijuana for patients suffering from certain medical conditions who received certification from their physician. In 2019, the state amended the law to also include certification by advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and other healthcare professionals other than physicians. The law has specific guidelines that healthcare professionals must abide by when issuing medical marijuana recommendations to patients and failure to follow these rules could result in disciplinary action by the Illinois Medical Board and/or other consequences.

Certifying Patients

Healthcare professionals who certify patients for medical marijuana use already walk a fine line with federal marijuana laws. It is illegal for a doctor or any other medical professional to prescribe cannabis in any form to a patient under federal law because of its classification as a Schedule 1 drug and, under the current federal law, prescribing marijuana for a patient could be deemed aiding and abetting the patient in obtaining the drug.

This is why healthcare professionals make recommendations to patients and not prescribe the drug. And while the legal risk of certifying patients is fairly low (In 2013, the DOJ stated that their attorneys would no longer pursue legal action against healthcare professionals for medical marijuana certifications), it is still important for healthcare professionals who do certify to be aware that federal laws have not caught up to state laws.

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Il MPJE Remediation LawyerPharmacists need to have detailed knowledge of a wide variety of pharmaceutical issues, as well as the practices followed in their profession and the legal issues related to the products and services they provide to patients. To ensure that a person will be able to meet all of their ongoing requirements as a pharmacist, they will need to complete examinations demonstrating their knowledge and competency. The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) is one of the two exams that students must pass, and if they fail this exam three times, they must complete certain requirements for remediation before they can retake the exam.

What Does the MPJE Cover?

The MPJE will consist of 120 questions, and a person will have 2.5 hours to complete the exam. These questions will cover:

  • Pharmacy practice (around 83 percent of the test) - Subjects addressed will include the legal responsibilities of pharmacy staff, procedures followed when acquiring and distributing pharmaceutical products, legal requirements for issuing prescriptions, proper procedures for dispensing controlled substances and other products, patient counseling requirements, requirements when distributing or dispensing non-prescription products or medications, record-keeping procedures, and requirements for handling hazardous materials.

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Il license defense lawyer for unethical conduct

Psychologists and therapists provide essential care for many people, helping them address issues related to mental health and working to ensure that they can maintain positive relationships with others. However, because psychologists discuss the sensitive details of people’s personal lives, they may sometimes be accused of unethical or unprofessional conduct. In these cases, a person may be investigated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), and they may be subject to disciplinary action by the Illinois Board of Clinical Psychologists. Those who are facing discipline that could affect their professional license will want to work with an attorney to determine their best options for addressing these issues.

Forms of Unprofessional Conduct That Could Lead to License Discipline

There are multiple actions that a psychologist can take that could be interpreted as unprofessional or unethical, including:

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IL Drug Conspiracy Defense LawyerMedical providers who work with controlled substances are required to follow multiple laws and procedures, and they are likely to face scrutiny about their practices of prescribing and dispensing drugs. Doctors, pharmacists, and other providers are required to register with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and they must maintain this registration in order to be able to continue prescribing, administering, or dispensing controlled substances. The DEA will often investigate suspected cases of drug diversion, and in addition to pursuing criminal charges, it may suspend or revoke a provider’s controlled substance registration, which can lead to other consequences that affect their ability to continue practicing. Conspiracy to possess, dispense, or distribute a controlled substance is one offense that the DEA will be looking to address, and providers will want to be aware of the types of activities that could lead to an investigation.

Texas Doctor Sentenced in “Pill Mill” Conspiracy

One recent case illustrates the types of activities that may lead the DEA to pursue drug conspiracy charges. An oncologist in Fort Worth, Texas was convicted of conspiracy to dispense a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He and several associates were accused of operating a drug ring and writing prescriptions for drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone that they knew would be diverted and sold illegally.

The people involved in the conspiracy used recruiters who would work with homeless people and others in the community to pose as patients and obtain prescriptions. In many cases, these “patients” would be seen by a clinic manager rather than a doctor, and they would then fill prescriptions at local pharmacies that were complicit in the scheme. The drugs would then be sold on the street.

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IL license Defense lawyer Oak Brook, ILThere are multiple reasons why medical professionals may face disciplinary action. Certain types of criminal convictions, accusations of medical malpractice or unethical practices, or the loss of a DEA controlled substance registration are just a few of the many issues that may result in discipline. In these cases, the Illinois Medical Board, the Illinois Board of Nursing, or another division of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) may perform an investigation and pursue disciplinary action. Those who have had their medical license suspended or revoked or who have faced other forms of discipline will need to understand their options for restoring their license and resuming their practice.

Types of Disciplinary Action

Depending on what the IDFPR believes is an appropriate response to issues that warrant discipline, a person may be subject to a number of disciplinary actions or restrictions. Types of discipline that may affect a person’s practice include:

  • Probation - Restrictions may be placed on a person’s practice for a definite or indefinite period of time. In addition to following all terms and conditions, a person may be regularly monitored by the IDFPR’s Probation Compliance Unit.

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