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The responsibility for investigating and adjudicating complaints against physicians as well as physician assistants is with the New York State Health Department’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). The state Board for Professional Medical Conduct is also responsible. Every year the OPMC receives thousands of complaints from the public, health care professionals and institutions. It is their job to investigate every one of them. The results of these investigations annually lead to hundreds of physicians being disciplined.
Complaints submitted to OPMC are reviewed and assigned as quickly as possible. A medical licensee who is under investigation is expected to help the investigation. They must make their records available. Failure to cooperate is considered misconduct according to the New York State Education Law. A medical licensee is permitted to have an attorney with them during any interview or at any stage of the investigation. If there is not enough evidence to suggest misconduct, the investigation is terminated. Should an investigation show evidence of misconduct, the case is then given to an investigative committee. If the committee feels the physician is an imminent threat to the public, it may recommend the physician’s medical license be suspended. When this is done, charges are filed against the physician. A hearing concerning the misconduct is then scheduled. The case is ordered to a hearing where it will go before another committee board. The committee will determine if a penalty is appropriate. The decision can be appealed by either side to an Administrative Review Board.
It’s important for physicians to know that all final disciplinary actions, as well as suspensions, are public information. When charges are filed against a physician, the charges will be public information once the physician is served. The information associated with previously closed complaints, actions that have been dismissed as well as investigations that are ongoing will be kept confidential. The names and identities of those involved in the complaint are also confidential. The files created during the investigations are also kept confidential. This information is not permitted to be disclosed to the physicians or those who registered the complaint.
The board has been given authority by the state of New York to take specific actions when it comes a physician’s license. This includes a variety of suspensions including partial, actual or fixed periods of suspension. Issuing a license limitation and requiring the physician obtain education and training and more. They can issue a fine, require community service, provide censure or reprimand as well as issue a license annulment. They can also revoke a physician’s license.
Even when a physician has had their medical license revoked, there are opportunities to have it reinstated. A person will be able to reapply for their medical license three years after it has been revoked. There is no way around this. The first step is to get a copy of the medical license restoration application. They are available online. It’s important to remember this application must be from the New York Department of Education. Not the New York Department of Health. A person who is trying to get their medical license reinstated needs to have five witnesses. Three of them must be physicians. All five can be physicians. There needs to be five affidavits explaining why the physician with a revoked medical license should be permitted to get the license back.
Main Hearing Questions
There will be two fundamental questions a physician will be asked to answer during the reinstatement process. The first is why should the physician be reinstated. Good answers will involve how important being a physician is to the person. They can explain how they’ve corrected their problems and want to be once again a good member of the medical community. The other question will be what will the physician do if they are reinstated. This is a very important question. If a physician has a witness who is offering to take them into their medical practice, this will help. Having a job offered from a respected institution can also help get a person’s medical license reinstated.
After the application for reinstatement has been properly completed and submitted, a hearing will be scheduled. This will happen within six months to a year after the application has been received. When a physician goes to this hearing, it will be in their best interest to have an attorney who can guide them through the process. At the hearing, the physician will have an opportunity to testify. Their witnesses will testify as to why the physician should have their medical license reinstated. There will be a court reporter to record everyone’s testimony. The Board for Professional Medical Conduct will have a prosecutor. The physician’s lawyer can ask questions of the witnesses. The board’s prosecutor will have an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses. The board can also produce their own witnesses. The physician can provide documents to help make their case for reinstatement. The burden of proof is on the physician who wants to be reinstated. The physician’s lawyer and board’s prosecutor will each have an opportunity to give opening and closing statements.
When the hearing concludes, the board will issue its recommendation. This recommendation will be sent to the physician and their attorney. The board’s recommendation will also be sent to the Committee on the Professions. This is where the Application for Restoration is formally considered.
If you are being investigated and feel your law license is at risk, Joseph Potashink and Associated are able to help you handle the situation. Contact them today and learn more.