It takes a long time to achieve the status of a certified medical practitioner specializing in Osteopathic treatment. The line of work requires a lot of skill and extra credits to attain, with a lot of financial sacrifice going into the coursework as well. Therefore, when you finally receive a practicing license from the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, it is no mean achievement. However, certain malpractices may put your license ownership in jeopardy, especially if the misconduct is directly related to your career field. Finding yourself in a position where you lose the ownership rights of your license may be devastating because you will be unable to continue working until the matter is resolved.
The San Diego License Attorney office gives you access to the best license lawyers in San Diego, California. We have worked on numerous license revocation cases concerning Osteopathic doctors, among many other professionals. With our experienced team, you will receive concise legal advice on the steps to take after the Osteopathic Medical Board challenges your right to use your professional license. Moreover, we are ready to represent you in case of a trial and to help present valid defenses on your behalf.
The Essential Role of Osteopathic Practitioners
An Osteopathic Doctor (DO) has a very significant role to play in the medical field because he/she covers a very wide scope of treatment. As an Osteopathic practitioner, you are qualified to handle several medical conditions that affect different parts of the human anatomy. Therefore, you may have a wide clientele base, because you can cater to the needs of patients with heart problems, central nervous system conditions as well as digestive problems.
Moreover, a qualified Osteopathic can also work in the emergency treatment department as a surgeon who handles arising medical emergencies either on-call or as a permanent position. Other times, you could be responsible for advising patients seeking directives on how to handle and live with various lifestyle diseases like blood pressure and diabetes. Your knowledge is vital to any patient seeking an appointment, especially if he/she needs to follow stringent rules to achieve a faster recovery rate.
Also, Osteopathic doctors have the responsibility of making examinations on new patients and note any previous medical conditions to include in the records. Your role is pivotal in informing any future medical undertakings that involve treatment methods and surgery options, based on the information you collect. Therefore, you must be adequately skilled to conduct sound examinations on your patient, or else you could put the person in danger by ignoring any possible acute conditions.
Lastly, as an Osteopathic Medical professional, you are tasked with helping your patients to stay on the right path in terms of recovery. Thus, you could use counseling methods to advise an ailing patient on ways to lead a better lifestyle. As a result, any information you give is taken as professional guidelines, and chances are that your patient will follow the instructions to the letter, in good faith. Since you have the power to share such influential details to your clients, you must ensure that you work in their best interests and give useful medical advice.
Overall, an Osteopathic doctor has a lot of responsibility to handle his/her patients with the best professional ethics to ensure that they receive high-quality treatment. However, with the wide scope of responsibilities to handle, you may become susceptible to reports that portray you in a bad light, even if they were unintentional. A patient may report a single case of misconduct to the Osteopathic Medical Board and jeopardize your entire career. Therefore, you should strive to maintain high levels of professionalism at all times, to avoid facing stressful allegations that may result in the loss of a practicing license.
Activities That May Lead to Osteopathic License Suspension or Revocation
Sometimes, you may slip up and find yourself in a compromising situation that warrants legal sanctions against you. For most practitioners, the misconduct that lands them in trouble with the Osteopathic Medical Board of California involves malpractices that you took part in during work. Depending on the type of crime or civil wrong you committed, you may face varying punishment outcomes from the medical board, including an extended or reduced period of license suspension. Some of the actions that warrant scrutiny and reprimand from the board are:
Involvement in Insurance Fraud Activities
As a medical professional, your patients may opt to pay for their treatment using medical insurance schemes that offer financial relief to many citizens. Although the mode of payment should make transactions more efficient, some practitioners often involve their establishments in a fraudulent insurance operation. For example, if you double-bill a patient for a service or medical products obtained from your clinic or medical establishment, the offense qualifies you to undergo punitive penalties from the Osteopathic Medical Board.
Moreover, the insurance fraud may arise from charging patients with medical coverage for services they did not receive, especially for a missed appointment. You may do this in the hopes of non-discovery by the victim because he/she may not follow up on all payment receipts and confirmation emails. However, once you get caught, the misconduct attracts a lot of inconvenient consequences.
Sexual Misconduct with Your Patients of Workers
If you engage your patient or a worker in inappropriate sexual advances, he/she will report you to the relevant authorities. Consequently, your case attracts the attention of the medical disciplinary board, which exposes you to several punitive outcomes. While at work, you should always remain professional to all the people you interact with, regardless of the non-verbal signals you may pick up on. For example, if you are a male Osteopathic doctor making a full body examination on a female patient, it is advisable to keep your distance and make requests to advance at their comfort, instead of proceeding to touch the patient without their affirmation. Simple courtesy actions like these may appear obvious and are therefore often ignored. The outcome causes numerous complaints against you, possibly for sexual misconduct that may or may not be intentional on your part.
Additionally, you should maintain respect with all your colleagues, and especially with subordinate workers. The requirement to level with those who work under your supervision is useful in preventing any possible allegations of sexual misconduct, especially when the worker feels uncomfortable around you. Since he/she views you as the superior, the person may find it difficult to raise his/her concerns about your level of interaction with them. Eventually, the worker may report you for sexual misconduct, even when you have not made an outright approach.
Conducting Medical Treatment While Drunk
Abuse of drugs and alcohol may cost you your job, especially if you appear disoriented when treating a patient. The medical field demands a high standard of operation, regardless of how straightforward the treatment activity you are involved in appears. Therefore, if a patient suspects that you are intoxicated during working hours, he/she may report you to the relevant authorities and initiate a disciplinary hearing to determine whether you can continue with your Osteopathic practice.
Involvement in Grossly Negligent Operations
As a qualified medical practitioner, an Osteopathic doctor is held to a very high standard, and does not last to make certain gross mistakes out of negligence. Hence, when you fail to make the necessary preparations or observations needed to avoid a mishap enabled by negligence, you expose your patient to hazardous medical treatment that may even become fatal.
The Osteopathic Medical Board takes such matters very seriously, especially if you exhibited outright unconcern to the patient’s well being in front of him/her. For example, if you fail to record the person’s blood group before authorizing a blood transfusion, you will have acted in gross negligence. Subsequently, you may face license suspension and revocation for a lack of applying yourself to the tasks at hand.
Previous Criminal Activities
If you have a criminal record for any past convictions, the Osteopathic Medical Board may scrutinize your records and decide to revoke your practicing license. Regardless of whether the charges you faced amounted to a felony or a misdemeanor, the licensing board can go through the documented records and use the information to decide on your professional fate. The authorizing statute for the board’s action to remove your license is Business Professional Code, under section 490. The section allows the Osteopathic Medical Board to take any actions it seems fit after unearthing the information about your previous convictions.
It is important to note that the board must only consider actions that are directly involved in your field of practice, and discard any other irrelevant criminal records, as prescribed under section 223 6a and 223 7. As a result, your license attorney has the right to raise an objection to the sitting board members and object to the consideration of information that does not relate to your role as a professional Osteopathic doctor. The crimes that the board should consider include:
- Convictions for driving under the influence
- A conviction for engaging in petty or grand theft
- Involvement in sexual battery
- Domestic battery convictions
- Conviction records for possession of a controlled substance that may also include an intention to sell the substance
However, the medical board may still have an upper hand in making the final determination, because the members are allowed to consider all relevant convictions, including those that you served under probation and admission to guilt during the plea taking. Essentially, this means that the board still treats you as they would treat any other convicted person, although you pleaded guilty and served your sentence under mitigated guidelines. Nevertheless, your license lawyer can convince the board to consider the positive steps indicated in your previous convictions records, and negotiate for them to reduce the license suspension period significantly.
Subjecting Patients to Unnecessary Treatment
Sometimes, Osteopathic doctors may get engrossed in finding multiple sources of earning revenue, resulting in making extra prescriptions and appointments for their patients. When the patient suspects that he/she is receiving too much unnecessary treatment for his/her condition, a second opinion from another doctor may expose your illegal intentions to benefit from exploiting the patient. Therefore, such activities may warrant license suspension or revocation, especially because it raises your credibility levels concerning your clients. Moreover, the practice is unprofessional and predatory since it prevails based on the limited knowledge that the patient has. Thus, he/she cannot question your directives, giving you a free pass to earn extra money from multiple treatment prescriptions.
Allowing Unlicensed Professionals to Work for You
As an Osteopathic doctor, running a clinic or hospital is not easy, as it requires multiple support staff like nurses and laboratory technicians to enhance the efficacy of all systems. At the same time, hiring medical assistants requires serious analysis and interviewing of a person’s skill level to ensure that you only have trained professionals who are up to the task. However, the best medical assistants also expect higher pay than other unlicensed candidates who could be able to offer the same skill set.
Although it is not ethical, some Osteopathic doctors will opt for the unlicensed assistant, because he/she offers cheaper labor to the clinic or hospital. Therefore, the unlicensed worker may offer sub-par treatment to your patients and expose them to avoidable health risks. If any patient or inspecting officer discovers that you have hired unlicensed medical assistants, you will face severe penalties from the medical board for knowingly exposing your clients to untrained or uncertified medical personnel.
Actions that the Osteopathic Medical Board Takes Against You
When you are found guilty of any of the offenses listed, the licensing board will summon you for a disciplinary hearing where you will get to give your account of events.
If the board members decide that your conduct was not very serious, you may face fine penalties that require you to pay a punitive sum for your actions. Also, you could receive a letter of reprimand from the board that aims to sternly discourage you from engaging in such behavior in the future or else face severe consequences.
Lastly, you could be forced to make a public citation of your actions, which makes potential clients aware of your misconduct and lets them proceed to approach you for medical services at their discretion. A public citation may be detrimental to growing your practice, but your license lawyer can negotiate a reduced penalty that excludes the requirement. Upon receiving the notice of making a citation, it is vital to notify your license attorney of the notice letter, to allow him/her to proceed with filing a petition. The operation must be completed expeditiously because you are only given fifteen days to file the appropriate documents in protest of the notice of public citation.
On the other hand, if you are guilty of more severe actions like sexually harassing your patients or assistants, you are eligible for direct license revocation. Having your professional license revoked means that you can no longer continue to practice, as your business would be unrecognized by law. Therefore, a revoked license puts your entire business on hold until you can make any further steps.
In favorable circumstances, your license attorney may present defenses that mitigate your case and result in the issuance of revocation on a probation term. In this case, the medical board allows you to continue with your practice. However, the Osteopathic Medical Board reserves the right to scrutinize your daily operations and call you in for questioning, in case they find any particular means of operation during your probation period. Seeking the services of your license lawyer may be pivotal after receiving your probationary license revocation because we can work out several negotiation tactics to help you obtain a reduced probation period.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision that the board takes against you, your lawyer can help you request an appeal hearing where you will get to present your defenses and evidence that proves your innocence in the allegations. Much like a typical court hearing, your lawyer gets an opportunity to present all the statements you wish to present and makes an argument on your behalf to request a fair revision of the board’s final decision.
How to Get Your License Reinstated
Upon deciding to apply for license reinstatement, it is essential to remember that the burden of proof to show that you are a deserving candidate lies on you. Thus, you must demonstrate that you have taken positive steps towards reform and that you have compensated all your clients for the physical or financial harm caused if any.
Additionally, the board requires a verbal and written admission to the guilt of all the allegations you faced, including explicit statements that describe the kind of actions you undertook. The move is often punitive and aims to deter you from making such future choices, based on the humiliation and retribution you may feel during this process. Despite how difficult it may be for you to recount all the illegalities you were involved in, it is a necessary step to securing your license back.
Besides this, you must persuade the sitting board members that you intend to change your ways by showing several forms of corrective rehabilitation you have engaged in. For example, showing documented evidence that proves you have been to counseling sessions will go a long way in convincing the board members of your efforts to change.
Contact a License Attorney Near Me
We understand the stress you may face as you try to make your next move after getting your Osteopathic license revoked. As the main source of income to many, we cannot undermine the consequences of the loss of a practicing license. We recommend seeking the services of a well-experienced license attorney to help you try out the available options that can help you get your license back. At the San Diego License Attorney, we do our best to offer you unique and highly effective legal services, while putting your needs first. Give us a call today at 619-728-7448.