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It is estimated that 1 in every 20 Americans receives chiropractic treatment. As such, this practice has become widespread. Chiropractors, just like other health care providers, are licensed individuals who are expected to demonstrate a particular standard of care and professionalism. There are certain requirements and ethical practices that regulate this practice. Breach of these rules can attract criminal convictions or loss of the chiropractic license. Allegations and complaints against chiropractors need to be properly defended. In most cases, disciplinary action can be avoided if a chiropractor defense lawyer is sought right from the onset.
Common grounds that may warrant disciplinary actions against chiropractors include:
• Sexual misconduct
• Abuse of prescription drugs or alcohol
• Falsifying records
• Use of illegal narcotics
• Unauthorized disclosure of confidential patient information
• Unlicensed practice
• Criminal convictions
• Fiscal dishonesty such as theft or fraud
• Inappropriate billing
• Deceptive, false and misleading advertisements
• Incompetent or negligent practice
Filing a complaint
Cases against chiropractors are opened once the board receives a complaint. Allegations and complaints can be presented by a patient, the family of a former patient, employee, former employee or any member of the general public. Serious violations such as gross negligence, sexual misconduct, boundary violations and false claims are immediately handed over to an investigator from the Justice Department.
The investigator is tasked with contacting you as the chiropractor to establish your side of the story. It is highly recommended that you speak to a qualified chiropractic defense lawyer before meeting with the investigator for an interview. Without legal counsel, the statement you make may further complicate your case. Any statements you make will be admissible during the investigative process. As such, you need legal advice so that you do not incriminate yourself.
The review process
Once the investigation is complete, the board will review the evidence to determine if the complaint has merit. If the board substantiates the allegations, they will proceed to determine the appropriate disciplinary action. When dealing with criminal matters, the board may decide to forward the matter to the office of the district or attorney general for prosecution. The AG may deny a license if it was a new applicant, or revoke the license of an existing practice. The license can later be reinstated if the terms and conditions imposed by the board and AG’s office are satisfied. The board may also opt to handle certain matters “in-house” and issue a private reprimand, a citation, or a fine. The verdict of the board will depend on the gravity of the allegations.
Seeking legal help
It is ill-advised to wait until the complaint process is underway before getting legal help. In most cases, the lengthy complaint and investigative process can be avoided. Remember that you have spent time and money towards building your career, and you should protect your reputation as a licensed professional. To build a strong legal case, you will need extensive and in-depth knowledge of federal and state laws. This expertise is best provided by a chiropractor defense lawyer who has a proven track record of successfully representing chiropractors.