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IL license defense lawyerDoctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are required to maintain a valid medical license in order to provide treatment to patients. The requirements to obtain a license are extensive, and providers will need to remain in good standing and meet additional requirements when applying for the renewal of their medical license. Medical professionals should also be aware that they could face disciplinary action by the Illinois Medical Board, the Illinois Board of Nursing, or other divisions of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation if they are accused of violating laws or professional standards. To avoid discipline that could result in the loss of your medical license, you will want to do the following:

  • Do not engage in unprofessional or unethical conduct - Medical providers can face discipline for a wide variety of actions that violate ethical standards or are likely to harm patients. These may include gross negligence when providing medical care, making misleading statements about a person’s qualifications or the forms of treatment they are suggesting, promoting certain drugs or medical devices for financial gain, overcharging for services, or engaging in sexual misconduct. By following accepted standards and practices and avoiding inappropriate behavior, you can ensure that you will not be accused of unprofessional conduct.
  • Do not violate the law - A conviction on felony charges may result in the suspension or revocation of a person’s medical license, even if the offense was unrelated to the practice of medicine. For example, a DUI arrest or conviction may be grounds for license discipline. A provider may also face discipline if they are accused of committing child abuse or neglect, and an investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) uncovers clear and convincing evidence that abuse or neglect occurred. By following the law while practicing medicine and during your personal time, you can avoid disciplinary action related to criminal charges.
  • Take care when prescribing or dispensing controlled substances - Providers may be disciplined if they have prescribed, dispensed, or administered any controlled substances for reasons other than accepted medical purposes. In addition to discipline to their medical license, providers may face the loss of their DEA registration or even criminal prosecution. To avoid these issues, you should ensure that you are following the correct practices when prescribing or dispensing controlled substances, including requiring patients who use opioids to participate in pain management plans, participating in a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and making sure drugs are not prescribed or dispensed for patients who have known addictions.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health - A provider may face disciplinary action if they have any physical illness, mental illness, or disability that interferes with their ability to practice medicine. By ensuring that you are physically healthy and are receiving treatment for any mental health issues, you can avoid any concerns about your ability to provide the quality of care your patients deserve.

Contact Our Illinois Medical License Defense Attorney

Even if you follow all of the steps above, you may find yourself under investigation by the IDFPR based on claims that you have violated the standards of ethical conduct or committed other violations of state or federal laws and regulations. In these cases, you need professional legal representation by an attorney who can protect your rights and help you avoid discipline that will affect your ability to practice. The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC can assist with your case, and we will work to protect your medical license and your career. Contact our Illinois professional license defense lawyer today at 630-310-1267 to arrange a complimentary consultation.

 

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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 license lawyerAt some point, we have all felt exhausted, cynical, or unhappy with our jobs. This is called burnout and it can have negative effects on job performance and personal happiness. Physician burnout has been one of the topics of concern among the medical community for a few years now. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), more than 40 percent of all physicians in the United States report experiencing signs of burnout. Physician burnout has been linked to higher rates of medical errors, lower quality of patient care, and a higher rate of physician drug and alcohol abuse and/or addiction. Physician burnout and its associated outcomes could have serious implications for your Illinois medical license.

Signs of Burnout

Burnout is a long-term response to work-related stress that is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished feelings of personal accomplishment. Burnout is not unique to medical professions, but physicians tend to be more prone than others. Other symptoms of burnout can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of empathy
  • Cynical or negative attitudes toward patients
  • Decreased productivity
  • Detachment
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Effects of Burnout

Physician burnout has been considered by many to be an epidemic that is consistent with providers across the country. Not only does burnout severely impact the provider’s own physical and mental health, but it can also impact their job performance, future job prospects, and patient care and health. According to a study published by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, physicians who reported symptoms of burnout were more than twice as likely to make a medical error than physicians who did not report symptoms of burnout.

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IL license defense lawyerBeing accused of committing medical malpractice is one of the worst things that could happen to a medical professional. It takes years upon years of education, training, residency, and internship to become a physician. The last thing you would want to see is all of that go down the drain because of a patient complaint. In most cases, medical professionals do not have to worry about facing disciplinary action if they are accused of malpractice, but there are situations in which your license could be put into jeopardy if you are found to be responsible for malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional causes injury or harm to a patient because of a negligent act. Malpractice can occur during any stage of care, but to be considered malpractice, it must contain the following three elements:

  • The standard of care was violated
  • An injury was caused by the negligent act
  • That injury resulted in significant damages

There must always be these three elements present for a case to be legally considered medical malpractice. Accusing a doctor of malpractice is serious and could harm the doctor’s career and reputation. Because of this, cases that are missing even one of the elements would likely not hold up in court.

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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 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 license defense lawyerMembers of the medical community are held to an incredibly high standard. Due to the manner in which an error or negligent act can impact a patient, a mistake can cost a medical employee their medical license. Here in the state of Illinois, the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board is in charge of responding to complaints made against medical personnel. Every year, the Disciplinary Board receives approximately 3,000 complaints. If a complaint is filed against you, it is important to act quickly and seek out legal guidance immediately.

Mistakes That Could Cost You

Medical professionals are under an incredible amount of pressure. Long hours, rigorous work days, and the pressure of life or death operations, are all aspects of life as a medical worker. Due to the stressors of medical work, it is not uncommon for mistakes to occur. Listed below are some of the most common mistakes, that could potentially cost you your medical license.

Medical Error: When patients enter a medical facility, they are putting their complete trust into the hands of the doctors and nurses, alike. While this trust is usually rewarded through quality care, in the vast majority of cases, medical error is entirely possible. Medical mistakes can range from delays in treatment, failure to correctly diagnose a condition, and incorrect prescription writeups. In some cases, errors such as overprescribing a patient, are intended actions. Regardless of the reasons why the mistake occurred, a medical error can cost you your license.

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IL license lawyerOne of the worst things that can happen to a doctor professionally is to be sued for medical malpractice. Malpractice suits can mean years of meetings, document production, and stress. A money judgment in favor of the patient in rare cases will mean that you will be on the hook financially. You may believe that your reputation has been tarnished, and it is possible that your malpractice insurance premiums will rise, sometimes to the point of hardship.

One consequence that is unlikely to happen is that you will lose your medical license to practice following a malpractice lawsuit. A malpractice lawsuit is initiated by a patient who alleges they have been injured due to a doctor’s negligence.

On the other hand, the Medical Disciplinary Board's purpose is to consider allegations of misconduct or malfeasance by members of the medical professions and to recommend appropriate discipline. Medical Board matters begin with a complaint. Sometimes the complaint is made by patients, but colleagues, agencies and employees could also make such a complaint.

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IL defense lawyerIt’s a letter you may never thought you’d open: a letter from the Illinois Medical Board telling you that a patient has filed a complaint against you. Maybe you feel betrayed by a patient who would not bring his complaints to you directly or maybe you are worried about the implications of such a complaint on your career and your practice.

Whatever your initial reaction, it is important to quickly get caught up to speed about what it will take to defend your medical license and resolve this situation.

  • Understand the scope of a complaint. The Federation of State Medical Boards reports that in 2012 in the United States, of 878,194 actively licensed physicians, 4,479 were disciplined. That number is less than 1 percent of all doctors in this country. In many circumstances simply having a complaint filed against you means that the state board will conduct an investigation, even if it is plain that the complaint is groundless.
  • Know what is at stake. Medical boards have great power over doctors' careers and livelihoods. These bodies can impose penalties that vary in severity from reprimands and fines to suspensions or revocations of medical licenses. Because of the range of punishments, it is helpful to speak with an attorney who understands this procedure and can discuss likely outcomes for the alleged acts.
  • Respond promptly. One of the first mistakes a doctor in this situation can make is not opening the letter or let the letter gather dust. Failing to respond can carry a second set of consequences, and it is unwise to do so. It is important that you take control of the situation in any way you can. Contacting a license defense attorney at this juncture can help you stay on the correct timeline and can mean that the defense you present will be uniform from the start of the process.
  • Know your weaknesses. During this time, it is imperative that you continue working at your practice, but that you do not receive any other complaints. Many doctors are surprised to find out that most complaints do not concern “bad doctoring” (incorrect diagnosis, poorly performed procedures, etc), but rather concern issues like billing, scheduling, confidentiality and possible criminal conduct.

Call an Illinois License Defense Lawyer

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Illinois professional license lawsBecoming a chiropractor takes much time and effort, with a lot of time focused on different classes and hands-on learning. Preparing for the licensing exam and actually taking the exam requires much time as well. When becoming a chiropractor, there are a lot of facts that each applicant needs to know before he or she can start practicing.

Requirements for Chiropractic License

In order to become a successful chiropractor, the applicant must have successfully taken every step needed to complete all of the requirements for his or her chiropractic license.

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continuing education requirementsEarning a license to practice medicine takes a lot of time and effort. With all of the hours put into the hard work, every minute counts. In order to maintain good standing as a practicing medical doctor, there are many requirements that need to be met, including continuing education. The time and effort made for the purpose of continuing education are monumental for the practicing medical doctor’s license to stay valid.

Requirements for Continuing Medical Education

Practicing medical doctors may randomly be selected by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for an audit and to provide proof and evidence of CME credits. Therefore, it is very important for doctors to keep records of their CME activities, even though it is not required.

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Illinois medical license defense attorneyThere are benefits to volunteering your medical expertise or services, whether it be at a free or mobile clinic, a medical relief group, an international disaster area, or with a local school or sports team. Unfortunately, there are also risks involved, including the potential of legal or medical licensing issues. Because of this, it is important that physicians understand the risks, and how to best protect themselves.

Good Samaritan Laws

Many healthcare professionals believe they are legally required to assist in an emergency under the Good Samaritan Law, but this law is not as much of a requirement as it is a mode of protection. While, yes, certain situations may bind you by law to help, you are not always obligated to assist a stranger in peril. But if you do choose to help, you have at least some protection under this law. However, there are some limitations that you must be aware of:

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Illinois medical license defense lawyerAs a physician, you are held to a higher standard, and you are expected to act professionally in both your professional and personal life. Of course, you are only human and are bound to make mistakes, just like everyone else. Unfortunately, if you make one that leads to criminal charges, it could place more than just your reputation at risk; it might also impact the status of your Illinois medical license.

Criminal Charges and Moral Turpitude

Moral turpitude is defined as any action that could be deemed contrary to society’s view of justice, honesty, or morality. Generally, it is the state’s medical board that decides what qualifies as moral turpitude for its physicians. Unfortunately, that can leave a lot of room for error. There are a few criminal charges that frequently result in an investigation or adverse licensing action for physicians, however. These include:

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