Any criminal allegation carries with itself very severe and long-lasting consequences that could affect the offender in more ways than one. If the offender’s livelihood depends on the retention of their professional license, and a criminal charge or conviction threatens that license, the consequences could be devastating. Physical therapists are some of the healthcare professionals who work hard every day, not just to make a difference in the lives of their patients but also to protect their licenses.
As a healthcare professional, a physical therapist is always facing risks of losing their license through complaints and lawsuits against them. That is why at San Diego License Attorney, we dedicate our skills and experience in defending our client’s licenses. We understand how much a healthcare professional has put in their career, that is why we fiercely defend their reputation, rights, and career. If you are a physical therapist in San Diego, and you are facing a legal suit, get in touch with us.
Licensing Issues for California Healthcare Professionals
A physical therapist or physical therapist assistant is the kind of person who has dedicated their lives to making better the lives of their patients on a day-to-day basis. However, all that can change in an instant when the therapist receives a letter from the state’s Physical Therapy Agency, informing them that there has been a complaint or an ongoing investigation against them. When that happens, the career, reputation, and license of the physical therapist hang in the balance, and only the outcome of their case will determine what will happen to them in the future.
An ongoing investigation against a physical therapist’s license can significantly affect their career. The outcome of the inquiry could cause a license revocation, which means that the professional will not be able to work as a physical therapist again in the future. Some of the issues that could significantly affect a physical therapist’s career include criminal acts such as insurance fraud, and substance abuse, as well as negligence treatment and incompetence.
When an issue comes up against a healthcare professional, the California agency that issues licenses for healthcare professionals will immediately take action. The first thing the agency will consider is the protection of the public interest as well as the promotion of the best interests of justice as provided under Section 23 of the California Penal Code. Depending on the facts of your case, the agency can show up in court and endorse a restriction, revocation, or suspension of your professional license. The court may proceed to order the agency to provide it with relevant information regarding your case or to offer assistance and support in disciplinary actions against the therapist. Disciplinary actions could emerge as a condition of probation or bail in a criminal case involving the physical therapist.
The only option the physical therapist has to help themselves in such a situation is to challenge the allegations and defend his/her professional license. It is not an easy task, especially if working on his/her own. Any mistake in challenging the claims could hurt his/her practice, license, and livelihood. Remember that the Licensing Board will work with highly-skilled investigators and could be represented by experienced attorneys.
For those reasons, you need the help of an experienced license attorney who can aggressively fight the accusations you are facing and any threat against your professional license. An experienced attorney will know what to do to build a strong case in your defense as well as to protect your reputation and livelihood.
California Physical Therapy Agency
In the state of California alone, we have over 20,000 licensed physical therapists. Each of these licenses is regulated and managed by the state's Physical Therapy Agency. The Board's mission is to protect and promote the interests of California residents by effective and consistent governance as well as enforcement of the Board's laws. The mandate of the Board is not just to issue licenses but also to investigate complaints against licensed professionals. It also imposes discipline in case a physical therapist's actions have affected the safety, wellbeing, or health of the members of the public. It is important to note that the Board takes its mandate very seriously.
California physical therapists, on the other hand, use their skills and experience in helping patients facing various issues after an accident or injury. Their services help the injured enjoy reduced pain, increased mobility, and an improvement in their overall health. The skills and experience these professionals have come at a very high cost since they have to attend college for years to obtain their license. However, once they get licensed, their hard work starts to bear fruits. A physical therapist in the state can, for instance, enjoy a very comfortable life putting their knowledge in helping their clients regain their physical wellbeing.
For that reason, the license of a physical therapist in California is their entire life. It can help them enjoy a better life as well as build their careers. The nature of their license is what enables physical therapists to continue their practice, pay their bills, plan for their future as well as watch over themselves and their family. However, all that might come to a stop if something happens that threatens the professional license of a physical therapist.
One complaint against a physical therapist or delay in judgment is capable of threatening their professional license, destroy their reputation, and also jeopardize their plans. When a mistake happens, or a complaint comes up, administrative justice comes up in full force. There will be an investigation, both personal and professional disgrace, as well as disciplinary proceedings.
The unfortunate bit is that the laws that govern such investigations and disciplinary proceedings against professionals are usually exacting and very intricate. Any lacking professional skills about these rules and the procedures they govern are unlikely to defend themselves successfully against the allegations they are facing or even avoid facing license suspension or revocation.
The most advisable thing to do as soon as the investigator from California Physical Therapy Agency contacts you or you have received an official accusation from the Agency is to try and act immediately to protect your professional license. Again, the help of an experienced license attorney will come in handy in ensuring protection against those disciplinary proceedings.
The Disciplinary Process Adopted by the California Physical Therapy Agency
The California Physical Therapy Agency starts a disciplinary action as soon as a complaint comes against an approved physical therapist. Their colleagues could start the claim, or a patient or any other party who might feel that the professional has acted against the rules and regulations that govern their profession. A disciplinary proceeding could also start if the physical therapist is facing a conviction of a criminal offense.
The Physical Therapy Agency has authority over all cases involving violations of the state's Physical Therapy Act as well as those governing Business and Professionals Law. There are so many reasons why physical therapists in California could face disciplinary actions. However, there are certain violations that the Board considered severe. These are, for instance:
- Gross negligence
- Sexual misconduct
- Repeated acts of negligence
- Billing Fraud
- Conviction of a criminal offense, both a misdemeanor or felony convictions
When a grievance is received, the Board's Consumer Protection Services Division receives it for further action. When that happens, an enforcement analyst takes over the task of examining the grievance to verify whether or not the Board has authority over such matters. If it has, the analyst will proceed to gather more evidence from the issue. He/she will also check with a physical therapist expert concerning the allegations. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the analyst could either close the grievance or refer it to the Board’s Investigation Department.
Just as its name suggests, the Division of Investigations is the one that will conduct investigations into the allegations the physical therapy is facing. It will interview the physical therapists, complainant, and other parties who might have more facts regarding the matter. The department will also review all kinds of documents and records such as medical records and bills that could shed some light on the issue. As soon as the completion of the investigation, the Board will take action based on the kind of evidence the Investigation Department has gathered. The options the Board has will be:
- For the case to be closed but reserved on their file for at least five years. This option will be the best to take if the accusations against the physical therapist couldn't be validated.
- For the case to be closed but reserved in their files indefinitely. It will happen in matters where the evidence gathered was insufficient to take any legal action against the physical therapist
- For the Board to issue a citation to the physical therapist plus a fine of not more than $5000
- For the case to be brought to the Office of California State Attorney General for issuance of an official charge against the physical therapist. Note that an allegation is only issued in cases involving more severe matters. In such a situation, the Board of Physical Therapy in California will try to revoke or suspend the therapist’s professional license.
Once the accusation has been filed, the case will be referred to an administrative inquiry. When such hearings are held, both parties in the case will present their evidence in support of their positions. The officer that is appointed to take charge of the trial will, after that, propose a decision. Note that his/her proposed resolution is not always binding. The Board can either accept the decision, decrease or increase the penalty recommended, depending on its findings. The therapist may or may not agree with the conclusion of the Board. If not, they have an option to petition against the decision in a California Court.
However, the court will not hear new evidence or review the evidence presented during the administrative inquiry. It will only consider the records made during the trial for any mistakes that could have been made against the law.
What Can a License Attorney Do For You?
Losing your professional license as a physical therapist is possible in California if you are facing a complaint. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of allegations that a physical therapist can encounter in the state. However, losing your license should not be an option. It will mean losing your means of earning a livelihood, your future, and also a means of supporting your family. That is why it is advisable to get in touch with an experienced license attorney as soon as you receive any communication from the state’s Physical Therapy Agency. The good thing is that there is a lot that your attorney can do for you to protect you against any allegations you might be facing:
Defense against complaints and accusations you could be facing
Some of the claims a physical therapist could meet are those involving negligence, incompetence, and also criminal acts such as fraud and sexual misconduct. Healthcare professionals have a strict professional standard by which they must adhere. Violating the set laws either through criminal or professional misconduct could see you facing severe issues, including the possibility of losing your license. Both the criminal court and your licensing council will be there to offer disciplinary actions against you.
Getting in touch with an experienced license attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Any delay in engaging an attorney could take away your right to defend yourself against the complaints and accusations. An experienced attorney will have enough time to understand the charges and allegations you are facing and also prepare and submit all the necessary documents on time. Again, acting fast will give your attorney enough time to evaluate the evidence the Board or prosecutor might have against you or your professional license.
Depending on the facts of your case, there are several strategies that your attorney could use to defend you against the accusations you are facing. He/she could, for instance, choose to address all or most of the questions presented by the Licensing Board. He /she could also negotiate with the criminal court for the best settlement of your case. If a hearing is set for your case, your attorney can vigorously defend your license against suspension or revocation.
Defense against citations you could be facing against your license
As mentioned above, the state’s Physical Therapy Agency could issue a citation and/or fines against the therapist’s permit for their alleged violation of the law. This is one alternative to facing criminal charges in a criminal court. With a citation, the therapist gets to keep their license. However, they could be tempted to ignore the citation. A smart license attorney will not allow you to make such a mistake. This is because a citation can permanently occur on your licensing record and may be used as disciplinary action against the therapist.
There are several things that your attorney can do to help in such a case. First, he can try his/her best to prevent the Board from issuing a citation against your license. If that is not possible, he/she will take you through what a citation is and what you must do or say during the board hearing. If, in the end, you get the citation, your attorney could do his/her best to have the Board remove it from your licensing record.
The best thing is that your attorney will be with you every step of the way for both advice and emotional support.
Defense against license suspension or revocation
Suspension/revocation is the most likely punishment for any physical therapist that has violated the set professional standard. Depending on the severity of the offense committed, the Board may suspend or revoke their license. With a suspended license, the therapist will not be able to practice their profession for some time. A revoked license will take away their ability to practice for good. Either way, the reputation of the physical therapist will be at stake, and their future career goals may be in jeopardy.
A competent license attorney can help protect their client’s license against suspension or revocation. It is possible through the use of a strong defense against the accusations the therapist is facing. With a strong defense, the Board may not have sufficient grounds to either suspend or revoke your license.
Help with filing court orders and petitions
If the board is taking a long time to conclude your case, you might lose a lot of time. It could translate to more financial losses, especially if the board has suspended your license. Your attorney can file an appeal in court against the agency’s indecision to speed up the matter and ensure that you are going back to work with no more delays. An experienced attorney can also appeal against the board for taking stiff action against you. He/she will know the exact court orders and requests to file in court, depending on your situation.
Find a San Diego License Attorney Near Me
After working so hard to acquire a professional license, it will not be fair for a physical therapist to lose it all in one day. That is why at San Diego License Attorney, we offer the best license defense services. Our services enable healthcare professionals who are facing disciplinary actions to enjoy a second chance in their career. If, therefore, your physical therapy license is at stake, call us at 619-728-7448 today. We will ensure that your rights are safe throughout the process.