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IL defense lawyerMost Illinois physicians are familiar with the Illinois Medical Board. It is where they obtained licensing status, and it is a constant concern to their practice. However, fewer people—including some doctors— know about the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the role it plays in their lives. Learn what it is and why it is important with help from the following information.

The Federation of State Medical Boards

Each state has its own licensing board, and the Federation of State Medical Boards ties them all together. It represents the 70 medical boards in the United States and its territories, including the District of Columbia. It offers policies, education, programs, and additional services to the state boards so that they can function effectively. The FSMB also enables state-to-state sharing of physician information. By far, that sharing is likely the most concerning issue for physicians.

How FSMB Sharing Can Impact Your Practice

The FSMB sharing allows state boards to look up disciplinary actions carried out by other state boards. So, if you lose your medical license or have it suspended in one state and then try to move, you may still be barred from practicing medicine. If you come under investigation, fail to see the investigation through to completion and move, the new state may have access to that information as well. Patients can also use the FSMB to check licensing issues in other states. With this in mind, even if an investigation seems arbitrary, it is important that you protect your license to the best of your ability.

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IL license lawyerSocial media has dramatically changed the way people interact with one another, and it has become a large part of life for many people. In fact, a recent study found that about 244 million Americans—about two-thirds of the entire population!—use some type of social media. Many professionals, including lawyers, accountants, and consultants, maintain various social media accounts, as do many doctors, psychologists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. In light of modern privacy laws, however, medical professionals must be sure that their social media posting remains ethical and compliant with the standards that apply to such individuals.

Privacy and Ethics

A healthcare professional is required to follow a variety of privacy laws, the most notable of which is the Health Insurance Portability Act—more commonly known as HIPAA. While there are many elements to HIPAA, one of the law’s primary functions is to ensure that patient’s personal and healthcare information is well protected. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals are as careful on social media as they should be, and sometimes, a doctor or nurse might post something that violates HIPAA, leading to the possibility of action from the state licensing board.

Keeping Yourself Safe

If you are a healthcare professional who uses social media for personal or professional reasons, there are few things you can do protect yourself from potential problems:

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IL license lawyerBy their very nature, most physicians—including Medical Doctors (M.D.s) and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s)—tend to have an independent decision-making spirit. While they are also generally very intelligent and dedicated to their patients, the responsibilities that come with gaining admitting and practicing privileges at a particular hospital can sometimes seem to conflict with a doctor’s sense of independence.

In addition to standards of care, hospital privileges also involve collegial, social, and legal elements that are more complicated than just taking care of patients. A physician who does not live up to all of a hospital’s expectations could quickly find that he or she is in danger of losing membership on the hospital’s medical staff.

Avoid These Types of Behaviors

It is understandable that concerns over the level of care that a physician provides could lead to the possible suspension or termination of the doctor’s hospital privileges. Such concerns could pertain to the doctor’s bedside manner, the failure to seek approval before trying unorthodox treatments, or not reaching out to specialists or consultants for questions outside of the physician’s area of specialty. Repeated incidents could become problematic and lead to the hospital suspending your privileges.

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IL medical license defense lawyerAccording to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), there are currently more than 60 million Americans who are enrolled as Medicare beneficiaries. This number includes individuals enrolled in “original” Medicare as well as in Medicare Advantage plans with private insurers. In order to be able to serve this large portion of the population, a medical provider must enroll as a Medicare provider and keep that enrollment in good standing. This means the provider must meet all of the requirements set forth by CMS and avoid behaviors that could lead to a revocation of the provider’s Medicare status.

Revocation of Medicare Enrollment

Under §424.535 of the Code of Federal Regulations, there are many different reasons for which a provider could have his or her Medicare enrollment status revoked. They include noncompliance with enrollment requirements, causing harm to patients, being convicted of certain felonies, improper medication prescribing practices, and failing to comply with CMS reporting requirements, among many others.

As a provider, you could also lose your Medicare enrollment status for abusing your billing privileges. Under the law, abuse of billing privileges includes but is not limited to:

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IL license defense lawyerHave you recently learned that your medical practice or pharmacy is being audited or investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)? You might have discovered this information by chance or have been informed directly by a DEA agent. Either way, a DEA investigation can be frightening, especially if your livelihood depends on keeping your DEA registration and your professional license. The good news is that our firm is equipped to help healthcare professionals of all types in all types of DEA-related matters.

DEA Tasked With Helping to Manage the Opioid Crisis

Over the last few years, the misuse and abuse of opioid drugs have become major problems throughout the country. In fact, the situation is serious enough that the acting U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in 2017, and health officials began using the word “epidemic” to describe the widespread nature of the crisis. At the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 91 per day were dying from opioid overdoses.

As part of the effort to address the crisis, President Trump has utilized federal law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, to play an important role. When it comes to medical practices and pharmacies, the DEA is primarily responsible for ensuring that doctors and pharmacists are prescribing and dispensing controlled substances in accordance with the law and proper clinical guidelines. In most cases, this means investigators are looking for possibly excessive combinations of drugs listed on Schedules II and III by the Controlled Substances Act. If the DEA launches a full-scale investigation, it generally means that there is suspicion of systematic and severe violations.

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