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illinois professional license defenseThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which was established in 1973, is the federal agency that is responsible for the enforcement of laws and regulations related to narcotics and controlled substances. Pharmacies and other businesses that administer, dispense, or supply controlled substances are required to register with the DEA.

Periodically – and at random – the DEA will conduct an inspection of a pharmacy in order to ensure the pharmacy is compliant and following required regulations under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). These inspections – referred to as audits – typically take place every three years or so. However, there are situations where the DEA may decide to conduct an audit, such as receiving information of potential irregularities.

If you have been notified that your pharmacy is under a DEA audit, the following steps can help you prepare.

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illinois medical license defenseIn 1986, Congress passed the Title IV of Public Law 99-660, the Health Care Quality Improvement Act. Included in the law was the establishment of the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), which serves as a federal repository of health care providers in the U.S. The law requires reporting of any hospital, licensure, or professional society actions against doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. It is important for any healthcare professional to be aware of the NPDB and what may be required of them.

What Type of Information Is Reported to the NPDB?

Under the law, the following information is required to by reported to the NPDB by specific health care entities:

  • Any medical malpractice payments made on a healthcare professional’s behalf, including out-of-court settlements

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illinois medical license defense lawyerLast year, Hulu produced the limited series, “Dopesick.” The show revealed how the opioid epidemic that has gripped the U.S. started and how it has affected people. One of the characters in the show, Dr. Samuel Finnix, is a doctor in a small town who is persuaded by an OxyContin salesperson to prescribe the drug to his patients. Not only do many of his patients become addicted to the drug, but the doctor also develops an addiction. Sadly – although the character is a fictional one – he is based on many true-life stories that have found themselves in the same place the character does.

Addiction in Medical Professionals

According to national statistics, more than 100,000 medical professionals – including physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, and other health professionals – are struggling with abuse or addiction to Oxycodone, Fentanyl, or other narcotics. One in 10 doctors will abuse or become addicted to drugs or alcohol during their career, while 20 percent of nurses struggle with some form of addiction.

Although anyone can become addicted to narcotics, the unique issue with medical professionals is they have easier access to these drugs.

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illinois nursing license defense lawyerIt takes strong dedication to be a hospital nurse. The majority work long shifts, with hours that go into the double digits, dealing with lack of sleep and heavy workloads, all while trying to provide patients with the best care possible. The hospital work culture can – and often does – leads to errors that can ultimately put a nurse’s license at risk.

Hospital Work Culture

Several years ago, the Vickie Milazzo Institute in Houston conducted a survey of nurses throughout the country. The results found that most of them were overworked and stressed, as well as feeling underutilized and underappreciated.

More than half of the nurses surveyed said that the shifts they work make it impossible to get enough sleep during the week. Between the double-digit shift hours and the on-call availability they are required to work, it is not uncommon for a nurse to pull a 24-hour or even a 36-hour shift.

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illinois professional license defense lawyerIn many criminal cases, the person who has been charged will often enter into a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office instead of going to trial and letting a jury decide their guilt or innocence. If it appears that the prosecutor has enough evidence to convict them, a defendant agrees to a plea bargain in order to receive a lesser sentence than what they would receive if convicted.

For most people, agreeing to a plea bargain will conclude the legal process for them. However, for a person who holds a professional license, agreeing to a plea bargain in a criminal case could jeopardize that license and their future.

Professional License Holders and Criminal Charges

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) oversees multiple state licensing boards, including medical, nursing, dental, and real estate. Not only do these boards address professionals who have been accused of improper business practices, but they also investigate those who have been charged with criminal offenses. If a board concludes that the professional violated the rules and regulations that the state requires of them, it has the authority to suspend or even permanently revoke that professional’s license and their ability to earn a living in their chosen profession.

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