New York Medical License Defense OPMC LAwyers - Buffalo Criminal Lawyers
Legal Counsel for OPMC in New York
The New York State unit that regulates and disciplines licensed physicians practicing in the state is the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). The OPMC has the power to investigate and sanction physicians who are proven guilty of professional misconduct. The attorneys at Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC who specialize in New York OPMC have stood with numerous clients as they faced OPMC complaints and discipline with much success.
What OMPC Investigations: how serious can they be?
For the most part, physicians don’t even know that the OPMC exists, and suddenly they become keenly aware the day they get a letter from an OPMC investigator. The majority of doctors finished med school without ever having been required to study the subject of professional discipline. It’s important for physicians that are the subject of an OPMC investigation to be aware that they could face such repercussions as the loss of their license to practice or severe stipulations. Even if you believe you are guiltless of misconduct, inquiries and ensuing investigation should be considered a high priority from day one. Your best bet is to bring in highly qualified healthcare defense counsel from the very beginning. The fact is that your livelihood and career could be in trouble, and you cannot afford to underestimate the severity of such a circumstance.
How do the Authorities in New York Define Professional Misconduct?
Full coverage of physician professional misconduct statutes is bound to encompass a long list of actions of varying degrees of gravity. These include negligent medical practice, practicing areas of medicine that the physician is unqualified or unauthorized to practice, and practicing medicine under the influence of alcohol or drugs can mean an onslaught of charges of professional misconduct. Indeed, fraud and misrepresentation connected to the medical license of a physician or his or her authorization to practice, false advertising, unscrupulous financial dealings, including unethical fee-splitting and referral arrangements comprise another genre of misconduct complaints. On top of these, the violation of any of the numerous precepts and rules governing public health, proper disclosures, physician advertising, or medical records could be classed as misconduct. Physicians who draw criminal convictions could indeed also be subject to penalties. The attorneys in NY OPMC office can assist.
How Does an OPMC Investigation Work?
Investigations by the OPMC are frequently initiated by a complaint against a physician in which he or she is accused of some form of misconduct that gets filed at its office. Complaints that accuse physicians of financial fraud, alcohol or drug abuse, or sexual impropriety are considered more serious than other infractions. In the course of an investigation, the OPMC has the power to subpoena records, interview potential witnesses, and request an interview with the physician.
Considering whether or not to speak with an investigator is a critical one, bearing in mind that whatever remarks you make during the investigation will be used against you. Indeed, physicians under these circumstances are advised to consult experienced medical license legal counsel quickly first receiving notification of a looming investigation. A skilled attorney can advise you of your rights and obligations in providing information, and review your case to determine the best strategy. Do not respond or offer any records before consulting with legal counsel; added to the possibility of ruining your own case, releasing some types of information may in itself be a violation. Also, you should refrain from speaking with OPMC officials outside of the presence of legal counsel.
If you get a letter from OPMC which asks you for an interview, be clear that this is much more serious than it appears. Your right to representation stands and to also have the right to have a stenographer present. Any and all statements you make can be brought against you not only during the investigation but indeed in ensuing ones and in any criminal prosecutions. Additional charges could be layered on top of the base ones because of statements you give during an interview. First and foremost, this interview is not mandatory. A good attorney can look at all the facts of your case and advise you as to whether or not an interview will be in your best interest. It is never wise to give an interview without legal counsel.
At the end of the investigation, the OPMC investigative committee could choose to close the matter, request further investigation, issue an administrative warning, require a mandatory physical or psychiatric evaluation, or recommend the filing of a formal action. The administrative warning is confidential and is not considered a piece of evidence that a physician was guilty of the misconduct listed in the complaint against him; nevertheless, if ever there are future allegations involving the same category of misconduct, the earlier case could be reopened. The formal action could include a medical license suspension, being required to temporarily surrender the license, or subsequent filing of formal misconduct charges.
If formal charges get filed, your hearing needs to be initiated within 60 days before a panel. In preparation for the hearing, both the physician and OPMC can collect discovery from the other side, including a list of the witnesses, copies of documentary evidence, and details of any physical evidence. Anytime before the hearing, the parties may also decide on a settlement. Talk with your attorney before you agree to any offer, because there are several innocuous-seeming terms that could have serious repercussions. Appeals from the panel’s determination can be made to the Administrative Review Board (ARB) or directly to the Appellate Division; the Appellate Division will also hear an appeal from the ARB’s decision.
Penalties for physicians who are determined to be guilty of the charges against them could include revocation of license, conditional or unconditional suspension of license, partial suspension of license, annulment of license, fines, and mandatory additional training.
Any physician who has to deal with allegations of professional misconduct should get an experienced healthcare attorney as soon as they get notified. Furnishing information or statements to investigators without legal counsel can be very bad for your case and even possibly put your medical license in peril. The medical license defense attorneys at our law firm represent doctors at every stage of the journey. Our familiarity with New York State laws and procedures empowers us to effectively weigh the specific circumstances of your case and come up with the most effective strategy to put up a good defense.
The experienced OPMC lawyers have been working with New York physicians in all kinds of licensing matters including license defense and reinstatement, hospital privileges, professional Boards matters, and more. Feel free to call our office today to consult with an attorney about your matter.