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IL license defense lawyerHere in the state of Illinois, medical employees are monitored and regulated by the Illinois Medical Board. With over 3,000 complaints made each year against medical personnel, the disciplinary bBoard will usually launch an investigation in order to fully understand the situation. If the board ultimately decides that the complaint was made on valid grounds, disciplinary action could include suspension or revocation of your medical license. While a complaint can be lodged for a number of reasons, one of the most common reasons for a complaint is a consumer complaining of sexual misconduct from a medical professional. Below we will examine the steps you can take to avoid a sexual misconduct claim.

Steps You Can Take

When a sexual misconduct claim is filed against you, the results can threaten your family’s livelihood. According to a study conducted by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, more than 2,400 doctors have been sanctioned for sexual misconduct nationwide over the past two decades. Here are three simple steps you can take to avoid a complaint or ensure that a false-accusation will not cost you your job:

Have a Witness Present: When a person is going through an exam, it is entirely possible that they could misconstrue professional examination as a form of sexual misconduct. Because of this, it is important for you to request that another medical employee be present for the examination. A patient may also feel more comfortable if a member of their family is present in the room. In the event of a false or misconstrued complaint, the witness can speak on your behalf, and be vital in ensuring that you will not face disciplinary action.

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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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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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