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Why You May Need a New York OPMC Lawyer
The Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) investigates matters involving physicians, and physician and specialist assistants. They monitor all practitioners subject to Orders of the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct. They keep detailed records of any member of the medical community, including professional medical corporations, that’s been disciplined by the OPMC. This includes anyone subject to charges of misconduct or a non-disciplinary board order.
New York OPMC lawyers specialize in representing members of the medical community in any proceedings and charges. They understand how vital a commodity reputation is to a doctor or nurse. An OPMC lawyer’s job is to stand before the State Board and resolve issues quickly, with the ultimate goal being to reestablish and keep reputation intact.
Your Reputation is Invaluable
You graduate from medical school, potentially putting yourself in debt to the tune of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. You struggle through residency, learning and displaying the traits required to establish yourself in the medical community. Once you have amassed the achievements that only a rare few accomplish, you can begin practicing, gradually building your reputation as a trusted member of your community.
Whether a physician with a private practice, a noted nurse at a small hospital or an anesthesiologist, when your reputation is in jeopardy because of accusations being investigated by the OPMC, it is imperative you seek out representation. That’s a lawyer experienced in dealing with OPMC matters.
Repercussions of OPMC Rulings
The OPMC has been authorized by governing bodies to investigate professional misconduct in the medical community. They have the power to find doctors, nurses and other medical personnel guilty of charges, either through a formal hearing or by consent agreement. If a guilty charge is implemented, the accused will be subject to a variety of penalties that can include:
The best way to avoid actions by the OPMC that will impact your reputation and livelihood is with a lawyer protecting your interests.
How the OPMC Operates
Cases usually begin with a complaint filed with the OPMC. They investigate any and all reports of alleged misconduct. They will send investigators to interview the physician, staff and potential witnesses. The OPMC will subpoena records. After this is done, they will contact the accused party to request an interview.
It should be noted that while the accused is obligated to cooperate with any OPMC investigation, they are not obligated to speak with any party associated with the investigation. If they do choose to, they should not do so without speaking with a New York OPMC lawyer beforehand.
If the accused does agree to the interview, the OPMC will make a Report of Interview available. Your lawyer will review this and will scrutinize it in order to find reason for the OPMC to drop the matter. Should the OPMC determine there is sufficient evidence of misconduct, the matter will be turned over to the Investigation Committee. This body consists of a lay person and two doctors. This committee can close the matter, request further investigation, issue a warning, require a psychiatric or physical evaluation, or determine formal action to be taken.
At any time, the accused party can try to settle the matter through a Consent Agreement. But, again, you should not try to manage this without legal representation.
Appealing a Negative Outcome
If the accused is unhappy with the OPMC’s decision, they can appeal before the Administrative Review Board. The process will be overseen by an administrative law judge with a panel consisting of three members of the medical community and two non-professionals.
Another option is turning to the judicial system. A final decision by the OPMC or the Administrative Review Board can be appealed with an Article 78 action brought before the Appellate Division of the New York Superior Court.
Your Reputation is Invaluable – Part 2
Upon learning you are the subject of an OPMC investigation, you have to contact a lawyer experienced in OPMC processes and medical law. They understand you are obligated to cooperate but can walk you through the boundaries of your obligation. You will be advised on how voluntary statements could lead to additional charges. Your lawyer will ensure you know everything required to protect your interests. They know it will be your word against the investigation’s evidence and the complaint. It has to be understood the odds are not in your favor, and those odds drop significantly if you do not have a good lawyer.
If approached by any representative of the OPMC, make it clear you are ready to comply with their requests, but you would like to speak with an attorney first. The OPMC lawyer will then contact the investigator. Do not let anyone convince you that dealing with the matter – regardless of how innocent you are – without a lawyer is the right move. Participating in the investigation and especially agreeing to the interview without legal consultation can be detrimental to your reputation regardless of what you say or do, irreparably damaging your reputation and affecting your ability to practice.
If you find yourself under the OPMC’s microscope, please get in touch with an attorney right away.