To qualify as a podiatrist, one will require to go through specialized training that will allow them to treat ankle and foot disorders. Just like studying to become a physician, podiatric medicine requires one to put in time and money to earn a professional license. Without this license, one cannot be allowed to practice or advance their career. As a podiatrist, you may find yourself facing various allegations of misconduct that may threaten your professional license. If one is not well represented in defending themselves against these allegations, the board may withdraw his or her professional license.
When this happens, the podiatrist will not only have their reputation destroyed, but their source of earning an income will be affected as well. Defending misconduct allegations can be very complicated. When faced with these kinds of accusations, you need a skilled licenses lawyer to defend you against them and avoid wrongful suspension of your license. At San Diego License Attorney, we are experienced in defending our clients against such allegations and ensuring they keep practicing.
The Roles of Podiatrists
Our feet have the task of carrying our body weight as well as us through the day’s activities. Many people don’t give a thought of the importance of feet and the role they play. When problems arise, that is when a person starts looking for a foot doctor or a podiatrist. Surprisingly, not many people know of their existence until they are faced with these problems that require specialized care and treatment.
Podiatrists go through years of serious training as well as using money to be licensed to practitioners. Many hospitals, military bases, or private practices will require the services of a podiatrist from time to time. For this to happen in California, you must have a professional California podiatrist license.
A podiatrist will be asked to perform surgical procedures, treat wounds, administer anesthesia, and attend to arthritis, sprains, among other foot ailments. With the current lifestyle of most Americans where obesity is prevalent as well as diabetes and the aged, the services of a podiatrist are in high demand.
However, irrespective of the crucial roles podiatrists perform in the modern world, and the challenging process of getting a California podiatrist license, it is easy to put their license at risk. A small mistake, overrated complaint, or false accusations can put a podiatrist’s career at risk.
Fortunately, regardless of the allegations that may be brought up against you, an experienced license attorney in San Diego can help you fight against them. Without proper defense, you can face severe disciplinary action that can have a lasting impact on your career.
Even when disciplinary action has been taken against you, you can still hire the services of a license attorney to assist in petitioning against the decision.
The Role of the California Board of Podiatric Medicine
As a podiatrist, you must understand that the podiatric board does not exist to help you, but it is designed to protect podiatric patients as well as the public. Based on their mission statement or role, they are restrictive in issuing professional licenses and administering different kinds of discipline. This is done to achieve their vision of ensuring the public receives safe and professional ankle and foot care in California.
The board is more concerned with ensuring patients do not suffer harm while in the hands of a podiatrist as well as ensuring high standards are maintained in the practice of podiatric medicine. This is also a goal that podiatrists are expected to have while they practice their careers.
However, when allegations come up, you will need an experienced license lawyer to defend you. The board is likely to overlook essential mitigating and exculpatory evidence that favors you and believe every allegation leveled against you. In doing this, the board wants to seem fair to the public. Unfortunately, this is at the expense of your career and income. Without a license attorney in your corner, it is possible to face harsh disciplinary actions that can affect you for a long time.
An experienced license attorney will be able to investigate the allegations and present the evidence to the board on your behalf. A lawyer also understands the legal requirements in licensing and how your rights can be protected from the violation.
A podiatrist faces multiple kinds of allegations or complaints from different aspects. Common accusations or allegations against podiatrists are:
- When one has a prior felony or misdemeanor conviction that can significantly relate to one’s ability to conduct their practice professionally and safely
- You may face allegations on insurance fraud or other activities considered to be fraudulent
- A podiatrist can be accused of being grossly negligent or reckless and incompetent in performing their duties
- Some patients can accuse them of abandonment
- Some patients also accuse podiatrists that they have failed to refer them to other physicians when the need arises
- Allegations of carrying out an unlicensed practice
- Working with unlicensed assistants
- Charges of fraudulently obtaining a California podiatric license
- Charges of carrying out their activities unprofessionally
- Allegations of falsified records or inadequate record-keeping
- Claims of operating while intoxicated or being a substance abuser
When these and other allegations are leveled against you, the board will evaluate and take into consideration their kind and how severe they are. Your record as a practitioner is also taken into account, as well as any mitigating or aggravating evidence presented. This is done to establish if a patient was injured under your care or faced the possibility of injuries. These, among many other factors, are taken into account before deciding on the disciplinary action to be taken if found guilty.
Fortunately, most of the investigations may not result in formal allegations or administrative hearing. However, in the rare chance that they do, with a license lawyer, you can avoid harsh disciplinary action. This means that you can still be disciplined but still maintain your license to practice.
Some of the lesser punishments you may face from the board may include receiving a citation, being charged a fine, and facing public reprimand. However, these penalties will remain in your professional record. Unfortunately, they can put patients away or the possibility of finding employment in the future.
The harshest disciplinary action the board can take against you; however, is revoking your license to practice. Although the suspension of your podiatric license is for a period, it will, however, mean you cannot practice podiatric medicine in California for the specified period.
Your lawyer can assist in fighting to have a stay of the revocation and to be sentenced to probation time. With this, you will be able to retain your professional license even if the board declines to dismiss the allegations against you. Your lawyer can also fight to have your probation term short as well as less restrictive terms of the probation.
Importance of Keeping Records
The board emphasizes on the need to adequately keep records of your patients and the prescriptions you give. This is also well trained as you undertake your podiatric training. As mentioned above, the lack of proper records can institute disciplinary action against you. Be sure to have a good record of the prescriptions because some pain medications can be misused.
Adequate records are also essential in case you face disciplinary action. Any allegations brought against you, you can overcome them by showing evidence that can only be found in your records. A patient can accuse you of medical malpractice. If you lack sufficient records showing the time the patient first came to see you, the symptoms, tests, and prognosis, you could lose your license.
Additionally, a patient can go to another clinic or podiatrist and be convinced that they were treated for the wrong thing or given the wrong medication. Your well-kept records will be crucial in proving the allegations false and saving your license and practice.
The podiatric board prohibits anyone from practicing podiatric medicine without the necessary license. Assistants are also expected to get licenses and pass specific exams to qualify. Some podiatrists to save money, they may hire unlicensed assistants. This is against the regulations of practicing podiatric medicine, and the board sees it as placing the lives of the patients in danger.
Before employing an assistant, you must carry out a background check to ensure they are well trained and hold a valid podiatric license. A small mistake of overlooking the qualifications of your assistants can cost you your practice and must be avoided at all times.
Time Limit on when to Present your Defense
When presented with a notice that investigations are being carried out against you or are given a statement of issues, you must act fast. Upon receiving the notice, you are given fifteen days from the mailing date to fine for defense.
Failing to defend the allegations brought against you is not a smart idea because even when you receive a citation, it can be detrimental to your career. In most cases, you can fight to have a reduction of the fine charged even though the citation stays in place. When you present a defense on time, it may lead to lesser penalties from the board and a possibility of keeping the allegations private.
When you obtain a ruling from an administrative law judge presiding over your hearing or a stipulated agreement, the board will review it in order to have it as a final decision. However, it is also possible to appeal the final decision of the board. If you wish to appeal against the conclusion arrived at, you must do so in thirty days from the day the ruling was made.
When you are Faced with Criminal Convictions
Just like other professionals that face criminal charges, a podiatrist can also be convicted of a crime. A patient can raise a complaint that can result in a criminal investigation against the podiatrist. If the police find any basis or validity in the allegations, a podiatrist will be arrested, and charges against him or her brought up.
According to the business and professional code 490, the California Board of podiatric medicine can institute disciplinary action against a podiatrist based on their prior criminal history. However, the convictions must be in relation to the qualifications or duties of a podiatric practitioner.
During a criminal trial, it is possible to get a plea deal that can result in the dropping of your charges eventually. As you await the completion of probation, you must have entered a plea of no contest or guilty. This plea to the board counts as a sentence or a conviction. Some of the crimes that may result in license suspension or revocation include:
- Possession of controlled substances (HS 11350)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (VEH 23152)
- Domestic violence (PEN 243e and PEN 273.5)
- Sexual battery (PEN 243.4)
- Insurance fraud (PEN 550)
- Grand theft PEN 487 or Petty theft PEN 484.
When it comes to sentencing for your offense, the podiatrist board can request the judge to restrict your ability to practice as one of your penalties under PEN 23. Some of the possible scenarios are:
- The board can petition the court to revoke, suspend, or put your license on probation as part of the penalties you receive. However, your lawyer can present an argument before the court that can overturn the board’s order
- The board can also request the court that as part of your probation sentencing, you be restricted from practicing podiatric medicine or restrictions are put on your license. This, they argue, is to safeguard the public from unsafe acts if you are not in jail and still hold your license. Your lawyer can present an argument to show that you are not a danger to the public for you to continue practicing
- The board can try to place an interim suspension on your license for the period the trial will last. This can be detrimental to you, especially when a trial takes a long time to conclude. A skilled license lawyer will put a spirited fight to oppose the temporary suspension to enable you to continue practicing podiatric medicine.
When the board institutes a PEN 23 order, your license lawyer can file a response opposing the motion. Sometimes the judge can call for a hearing specifically to determine if to accept the board’s request or not. If a hearing is called for, you should have a license lawyer represent you and put your argument before the judge.
How to Overcome License Application Denials
According to the business and professional code 480, the California Board of podiatric medicine reserves the right to issue or deny an applicant of a license to practice podiatric medicine. Denials are unfortunately common, and they can be due to several reasons.
A prior criminal conviction is one of the common reasons a license can be denied. Denial can also be as a result of incidents that happened while undertaking podiatric training or if you are facing disciplinary actions as a professional in another state.
Even with this, you can still get your license application approved if you do not despair. Always remember the hard work you have put it and your right to appeal against the board’s decision. With a seasoned license lawyer, you can file a petition to appeal against the decision, and the board will allow you to present your argument.
If your argument through your lawyer is convincing enough, you are likely to be issued with a license to practice. Your lawyer understands the relevant documentation required and how to hold a discussion with them and have your denied license approved.
Reinstating your License
As earlier stated, the worst disciplinary action that you can face is a revocation of your podiatrist license. Fortunately, it is also possible to have a revoked license reinstated. Your license lawyer will draw up a petition that will be submitted to the podiatric board requesting to reinstate your license.
In the petition, your lawyer will make an admission of accountability on your behalf. This is normally for the issue that leads to the revocation. The petition will also be accompanied by possible evidence of rehabilitation. The board will then allow for a hearing where you present your case. You must prove to them that you are fit to have a podiatric license and to carry out your practice in California.
An experienced license lawyer understands the kind of evidence required and its quality to enable the board to decide in your favor. Just because your license was revoked, it doesn’t mean you must give up and look for another career. Involve a license lawyer, and you will have a chance to continue doing what you love.
Find a San Diego License Lawyer Near Me
Obtaining a professional license requires a lot of work, commitment, dedication, and time. It can be devastating to lose your professional license because of baseless allegations or small mistakes made. When you are trained in a particular craft, you want to protect it at all costs because it is your source of livelihood. Being denied renewal of your license or an initial application can also be discouraging. Fortunately, a skilled license lawyer can help you through the process and ensure you keep doing what you love. If you are facing allegations that can result in the suspension or revocation of your podiatric license, you need to speak to a license lawyer immediately. San Diego License Attorney will help you evaluate and investigate the allegations to formulate a valid defense on your behalf. Call us at 619-728-7448 and let us ensure you continue practicing by defending you against these allegations.