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IL license defenseOne of the biggest and most concerning things that could happen to a physician is losing their privilege to practice medicine. While this type of disciplinary action is not as common as other types, it does happen in some cases and can be devastating to the physician. According to the latest information from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), there were more than 8,800 state medical board actions taken across the country in 2017. These actions range from something as simple as imposing a fine to permanently revoking a physician’s medical license. Here are the most common forms of disciplinary action taken against physicians in the United States:

  • License restricted (1,343): The most common form of discipline from medical boards across the country was to restrict a professional’s medical license. Having your medical license restricted typically means you are limited in what you can do as a physician. Typically, restrictions have something to do with clinical privileges, such as restricting the ability to write prescriptions.
  • Reprimand (1,147): Not far behind restrictions were reprimands. If a physician is reprimanded, this means the medical board issued a warning or letter of concern to a physician. Reprimands can be private or public and can sometimes be issued instead of formal charges or complaints.
  • Administrative action (1,023): If a physician has had an administrative action issued against them, it typically does not affect their medical licensure. Administrative actions can be issued by medical boards for various reasons, including failure to pay licensing fees.
  • Fine (890): Another common outcome of misconduct is a fine. A physician can be issued a monetary fine for many reasons including improper record keeping or similar issues.
  • Conditions Imposed (887): If a physician has conditions imposed on him or her, they must meet certain requirements or fulfill certain conditions to avoid further discipline by the board.

Have You Been Subject to Disciplinary Action? Contact an Illinois Medical License Defense Attorney

Any type of disciplinary action taken against you is serious. Before you have any action taken against you, you will be notified by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. If this happens, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable Illinois medical license defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC, we understand how a disciplinary action can affect your career. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 630-310-1267.

 

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IL license defense lawyerAfter a long and stressful day, sometimes it is nice to come home and have a glass of wine or a beer. It is not uncommon for someone to come home from work and have a drink or two to unwind, but for some people, this can become a harmful habit -- especially if you work in the medical field. Individuals who work in the medical field face an immense amount of stress and tension on a daily basis. Multiple studies have suggested that medical workers face a higher chance of developing a substance abuse issue. According to the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, somewhere between 10 and 12 percent of all physicians will develop a substance abuse issue during their careers. Substance abuse is serious for anyone, but for a physician or other medical professional, it could jeopardize their career.

Signs of a Substance Abuse Issue

Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot the signs of substance abuse in a medical professional. Most of the time, medical professionals are very high functioning substance abusers, meaning they are still able to go about their daily lives and maintain their careers and households for a period of time. Here are a few common signs that a medical professional is battling substance abuse:

  • Preferring night shifts because of lessened supervision
  • Frequent job changes
  • Falling asleep on the job
  • Taking frequent bathroom breaks or other unexplained absences
  • Glossy eyes or small pupils
  • Incomplete charting or errors in patient paperwork
  • Other job-related errors or missteps

Consequences of Substance Abuse

Having a substance abuse issue when you are a medical professional is risky. Most of the time, issues arise with medical professionals when they have substance abuse issues because their job performance begins to suffer inexplicably. When a medical professional begins to make errors when they are completing patient paperwork or charting, other workers may begin to become suspicious and report their errors to the licensing board. Medical professionals also have the option to self-report their issues, which usually produces a better outcome than if they were reported.

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IL defense lawyerThe United State’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal entity whose main task is to make sure that drugs are being used, sold, manufactured and prescribed correctly and within the confines of the law. One of the ways the DEA accomplishes this is by performing audits and investigations on physicians and their practices. For doctors and their employees, this can be a cause for concern because even a small slip up can become a serious issue. If you have become the subject of a DEA investigation, you should act quickly and immediately hire a medical license defense lawyer.

Understanding DEA Investigations

The DEA routinely conducts audits at the practices of physicians who are permitted to prescribe controlled substances. Typically, you can expect an audit every three years to determine if you are being compliant with all applicable laws. The DEA may also perform an audit if they have reason to believe something illegal may be taking place. This typically begins the investigation process and involves the DEA auditing your patient files. It is possible that the DEA or FBI may also request an interview with you to attempt to gather more information. If they have probable cause to believe that you have not been complying with the Controlled Substance Act, you may also receive a search warrant for your office or practice.

What to Do if You Suspect an Audit or Investigation

If you have been contacted by the DEA or FBI for any reason relating to controlled substances, you should immediately get in touch with a DEA defense lawyer. If the DEA has reached out to you, it probably means they are suspicious of the distribution, use or prescribing of controlled substances from your practice. Your lawyer should immediately begin to look over patient files and records, looking for anything that the DEA might see as a red flag.

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IL license defense lawyerSocial media is a large part of many people’s daily lives. According to data from Edison Research, a vast majority (around 223 million) of Americans ages 12 and up are using social media. Even professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and psychologists use social media, though things can get a little tricky because of privacy laws. Health care professionals have specific ethics and standards that they must adhere to and the use of social media presents an ethics challenge for some physicians.

All health care professionals are required to adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which exists to protect the privacy of patients and their health care information. Inappropriate social media usage could result in disciplinary action from the licensing board, which could affect your career. Here are a few ways you can help protect yourself on social media:

  • Be cautious about what you post on social media. One of the biggest violations that could arise out of using social media is posting patient-identifying information for all to see. HIPAA rules require complete confidentiality of patient information, which could easily be broken on social media, even if it is innocent. The best rule of thumb to follow is to just not post any information about your patients at all.
  • Separate your professional and personal accounts. Another important way you can protect yourself is by separating your personal accounts from your professional accounts. This can not only help your practice on the marketing side of things, but it can also help your professional career from being associated with your personal page.
  • Think twice before accepting friend requests from patients. Some health care professionals think that social media is a great tool that can be used for patient communication, while others think that this compromises the provider-patient relationship. It is important to draw a line so that you can avoid unprofessional behavior on social media. When in doubt, proceed with caution.

An Illinois Professional License Defense Attorney Can Help You Mitigate Any Social Media Concerns

For some health care professionals, social media is a powerful and valuable tool that they believe can be used to strengthen the patient-provider relationship. Other professionals think that social media usage can pose too much of a legal liability to be useful. If you are a health care professional who uses social media, you should talk with an Illinois professional license defense lawyer today about how you can protect your career. At the Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC, we can answer any questions that you might have about preventative action. We can also help you form a plan of action if you are facing penalties from social media usage. To set up a consultation, call our office today at 630-310-1267.

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Il license defense lawyerEven the most responsible physicians can become the subject of a medical board investigation. Each state medical board is required to investigate any complaints that they receive, even if the complaint has no merit to it. When you are under investigation for a complaint that was made about you, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. Your professional reputation and medical license could be at stake, depending on the nature of the complaint and outcome of the investigation. If you are dealing with a medical board investigation, proper preparation is key to a successful outcome. Here are a few ways you can prepare for a medical board investigation:

Understand the Investigation Process

Even though the medical board has to review each and every complaint that is made to them, they do have an evaluation process that they use for complaints. If they find that a complaint is unsubstantial, they will not pursue any action against you. If they do think a complaint is worth looking into, however, they will likely send you a letter requesting a medical record review. If this happens, it usually means the medical board has flagged the complaint as a serious one.

Respond to Your Complaint Promptly

Once the medical board determines that a complaint should be served to the physician, they only have so long to respond to the complaint. If you have had a complaint formally served to you, you must respond to the complaint within 20-45 days or you face disciplinary action. The medical board expects physicians to be completely honest and transparent when it comes to complaints that are filed against them.

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