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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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IL defense attorneyBecoming a licensed physician takes years upon years of education, internships, residencies, fellowships and more hard work and discipline than you would ever imagine. For anyone, learning is a job that is never done and physicians are no exceptions. The medical field is always changing its guidelines and introducing new technologies to help serve patients better, which requires physicians to stay up to date on new happenings. In Illinois, physicians are required to have a specific amount of continuing education credits when they go to renew their licenses every three years. Not fulfilling those education requirements could jeopardize your ability to renew your medical license and your ability to practice medicine in the state of Illinois.

CME Requirements

According to the Illinois State Medical Society, physicians will be required to complete at least 150 hours of continuing medical education (CME) if they plan to renew their medical license in 2020. The only licensees who are exempt from that rule are those who are renewing their medical licenses for the first time.

Further, Illinois law requires that at least 40 percent (or 60 hours) of CME must be completed in formal CME programs that are permitted to designate an activity as eligible for Category 1 credit. A maximum of 60 percent (or 90 hours) of CME is permitted to be completed in informal CME programs or activities, which can include things such as medical teaching, participation in patient care review activities and the use of self-instructive materials.

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IL license defense lawyerMost people know that a person’s medical records and information are private information that is protected by law. If you are a medical professional, you must be familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a law that was passed in 1996 to protect the privacy of patients’ health information in the United States. The law gives rules and procedures that you must follow in order to protect your patients’ privacy rights. If you fail to follow HIPAA procedures or rules, you could face expensive fines and your medical license could even be put into jeopardy. Here are a few of the most common ways HIPAA is violated.

Unauthorized Access of Healthcare Records

The HIPAA only gives certain reasons as to why you can access the healthcare records of a patient without gaining their consent. Unless you are accessing records for treatment, payment or healthcare operation, you are doing so illegally. This can result in disciplinary action and a fine to the organization is possible, though uncommon.

Not Performing a Risk Analysis

One of the most common HIPAA violations to result in a financial penalty is given to organizations that fail to perform a risk analysis. These analyses must be performed regularly in order to assess whether or not there are any vulnerabilities to the confidentiality and integrity of patient health records. To prevent this from happening, conducting a regular risk analysis is recommended.

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