Physical therapists are among the most highly educated medical professionals in the healthcare system, with most having to complete doctoral programs even to begin practicing. Physical therapy is a burgeoning field in itself, with thousands of graduates completing school every year and moving into private practice or sports-related fields. However, those involved in physical therapy need protection, too — not from physical pain or injury, but from legal action and lawsuits from aggrieved parties. When the Office of Professional Conduct, known in the industry as the OPC, accuses a physical therapist or professional misconduct or malpractice, therapists need to hire a law firm that has a lengthy history defending and advocating for the rights of medical professionals.
Types of Professional Misconduct
A conviction for professional misconduct can severely injure or even destroy a physical therapist’s career. There are many ways that a therapist can be accused of misconduct — in fact, in New York there are over 40 practices that can lead to a personal investigation of a therapist’s practice. The most common types of misconduct cases are all practice-related: therapists can be accused of practicing negligently, practicing incompetently, practicing fraudulently, or practicing without a license. The latter two investigations are usually opened upon receipt of an anonymous tip — unfortunately, there is no good way to check if this tip was put forth by a competitor, so some therapists actually find themselves victims of their own professional success.
Investigations and prosecution attempts are typically carried out by the Office of Professional Discipline, but cases can be handled by other related agencies as well. The office of the Medicaid Inspector General is legally compelled to perform audits and exclusion investigations on physical therapy practices that arouse suspicion, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit licenses investigators that are permitted to increase scrutiny on particular therapists and practices. Obviously, different branches of the federal government can also assist in prosecution, particularly when insurance fraud is suspected.
Consequences of Professional Misconduct
Convictions and successful prosecutions can have a devastating effect on individual practices. Physical therapists can have their licenses revoked, or they can be effectively censured and barred from practicing while the investigation is occurring. This suspension can effectively destroy many practices that do not have the financial resources or savings to weather an extended practicing freeze. More serious convictions can lead to a practice’s exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid status, and certain insurance fraud sentences carry hefty fines or even jail time for perpetrators.
Finding New York Lawyers for Physical Therapists
It is very important not to become involved in a professional malpractice lawsuit without first retaining the services of an experienced lawyer. As the defendant, you are obliged to comply and participate in the proceedings, but you are not required to make any statements or to incriminate yourself in any criminal proceedings. Seeking help through the proper channels can put you in contact with people who are capable of changing your outlook on the case and combating the lawyers on the other side investigating and besmirching the name of your practice.
We have been defending healthcare professionals and specifically physical therapists in New York for a number of years, and our legal team is well-versed in the relevant precedents and various statutes dictating proper professional therapist behavior. We have successfully represented therapists in cases against the Office of Professional Discipline, the Office of Medicaid Inspector General, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. We have the experience and tenacity to go up against these powerful government agencies, weed through the bureaucratic entanglements that are typical of government, and win fair settlements and legal victories for our clients.
Our history of success is good news for our clients, but that same excellent track record means that our services cannot be acquired for pennies. Although the price for our services may be a bit steep, that price is a bargain compared to the lost earnings and financial turmoil that may result from a lost license or professional suspension. The price that you pay our firm is an investment in yourself and your future as a physical therapist — no price is too high to pay for professional assurance!
Additional Criminal Defense Proceedings
Our firm also operates as a regular criminal defense law office, and we represent physical therapists in personal criminal proceedings regularly. We take on cases involving DUI and DWI accusations, sexual misconduct in the workplace, and personal insurance fraud. Our legal team has fought tooth and nail for physical therapists accused of all matter of transgressions in both state and federal courts, and we are confident that your case will be no less successful than any of our other triumphant stands.
If you are a licensed physical therapist in New York and you’ve found yourself embroiled in a bit of legal trouble, call our law firm today for a consultation meeting. In this initial meeting, we will collaboratively decide what the best course of action is for you and your firm, and we will compile a detailed plan that will help you achieve your goals and keep your license to practice. Our lawyers are standing by at your convenience to determine exactly what they can do to get you out of court and back where you belong — practicing physical therapy and aiding patients in their recovery from injury.
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