When the DEA Comes Knocking: 15 Tips For a “Routine” DEA Inspection

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

As the United States continues to open back up from the COVID-19 shutdown, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is resuming on-site routine inspections.  Therefore, healthcare professionals must ensure compliance and regulatory efforts are in place.

This is part 1 of a 2-part blog series. Check back for part 2 of this blog series soon!

DEA Inspections and Site Visits:  Subpoenas.

DEA agents are often pushy, demanding, and intimidating.  They will try to use subpoenas (which are merely requests for documents that afford you at least ten days to produce the requested documents) as search warrants.  THEY ARE NOT.  They will try to use an administrative subpoena to obtain documents and get your testimony immediately. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PRODUCE THEM RIGHT AWAY. A copy of a sample subpoena used by the DEA is on our website for reference here.

Not Just a Routine Audit, Inspection, or Investigation.

Beware the “Notice of Inspection of Controlled Premises” (DEA Form 82).   Although the DEA often treats it as one, it is not a search warrant.  Also, it is probably NOT a “Routine Inspection.”  IT WILL NOT TAKE ONLY 15 TO 20 MINUTES.

We have had several clients who have had to close down their businesses all day to try to accommodate the demands of the agents performing their “routine inspection.”  The DEA should not cause you to shut down or should not cause you to turn away patients.  It should not interfere with your patient services or your ability to provide them.  You can ask them to come back at a later date.

The DEA often refers to “routine audits” as “Accountability Investigations” and requires the pharmacy or registrant to be given certain rights in connection with it. For example, DEA Form 82 states you are given the following rights:

1.    The constitutional right not to have an administrative inspection without an Administrative Inspection Warrant (AIW),
2.    Has the right to refuse consent to such an inspection,
3.    Presented with a Notice of Inspection,
4.    Given consent voluntarily, without threats of any kind,
5.    May withdraw consent at any time during the course of the inspection, and
6.    Incriminating evidence may be seized and used in criminal prosecution.

Although the DEA agent may tell you that the site visit is “completely random,” do not believe it.  If the DEA agent has brought a list of records to obtain from you, try to keep a copy of it, as your lawyer may find it very useful later when they are defending you.


What to Do When Confronted with a DEA Inspection or Site Visit.

1.    Notify the owner right away.  If you are not the owner, don’t sign anything, give permission, or agree to anything. You probably have no authority to do so.

2.    Call your health lawyer and get them over immediately.  This is an emergency!

3.    Yes, you have the right to consult with your attorney;  do not believe them if they say you can’t (which they may do, believe it or not).

4.    Request photo identification from everyone to ensure the individuals are who they say they are.  No identification? No access. Federal agents, including DEA agents, will always have their photo ID.

5.    Obtain a business card from each person present.  DEA agents always carry business cards.  If they do not have one, you will have to write all contact information for that agent from their photo id card (or photocopy, if they will allow you to do so).

6.    Do the same as the above for anyone else the DEA brings, whether they claim to be a federal or state investigator, Department of Health investigator, or local police. Please note that our experience has been that the DEA and state agencies contend that they don’t go on joint inspections or investigations (however, we don’t believe this to be true).  Therefore, get all parties’ information at the very start, or you may never get it until they testify against you.

7.    DO NOT SIGN A VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT TO RELINQUISH YOUR DEA REGISTRATION.  Agents may try to pressure and intimidate you into signing one by telling you it will be easier if you sign it. They might even try to scare you by warnings of criminal prosecution unless you sign it.  Yes, you have the right to consult with an attorney before deciding whether or not to sign it (they may falsely tell you that you don’t). However, once you sign it, it is gone.  If you are a prescribing physician or health professional, your authority to prescribe is gone forever.  If you are a pharmacy/pharmacist, your ability to order or fill any controlled substances is forever gone. So go ahead and put a sign on the door that says “CLOSED-Out of Business.”

8.    Before the inspection begins, you should be given a form to read and sign. If not, request it. It will usually be a DEA Form 82 “Notice of Inspection of Controlled Premises” Form. Before the inspection, it should be read, explained, agreed to, and signed, not during or after.

9.    Read the form carefully. You have the right to fax it, scan and e-mail it, or call and read it to your attorney before you sign it. If it says you have the right to refuse the inspection, consider putting it off until a later date. Especially if you are busy and have patients you must serve.

10.    Obtain a copy of the form (inspection form or subpoena) at the beginning and keep it.  You will need this later.

11.    Obtain a complete, detailed receipt for any documents, prescriptions, or other items taken by the agents. Again, since this is not a search warrant, the DEA does not have the authority to take your only originals and leave you without a copy.

12.    You may or may not be in serious trouble and subject to future criminal charges or administrative action to revoke your DEA registration. Your attorney should be able to evaluate this and advise you. Don’t bother to ask the agents, as they will not tell you what is in your own best interest to know.

13.    If you don’t have an attorney who is experienced in health law and DEA defense,  get one NOW.  You should begin preparing now.  It often takes the DEA a year or more to work up charges against you.  Once you are served with charges, you will only have a very short time to prepare your defense.  It is a completely unfair system for the subject of charges as the government will have longer to prepare its case against you than you have to prepare your defense.  Take advantage of the time you have. Do not waste it.

14.    Be polite and do not argue with a DEA agent.

15.    Do not volunteer information, but never tell a lie. Making a false statement to any federal agent is a felony criminal offense. A subpoena for documents is not an authorization to interrogate you.  A search warrant is not an authorization to interrogate you.

Lastly, don’t forget to check back to read part 2 of this blog series.

Please remember: This blog’s statements are opinions based on our experience.  If you do not agree with it, then you are probably the DEA.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, pharmacists, pharmacies, medical groups, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.


Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm.  The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: PAlexander@TheHealthLawFirm.com or fax them to (407) 331-3030.


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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

2022-11-12T21:34:46-05:00November 28th, 2022|Categories: Pharmacy Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Follow These Simple Rules To Keep Your License & Avoid Complaints If You Are a Counselor or Psychotherapists

George Indest HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

I represent many mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, and professional counselors, defending them on complaints being investigated against their professional licenses. Many complaints and investigations arise because the therapist has strayed over the line and crossed the therapist-client boundary. In reviewing these cases, I have drawn up a list of a few simple “bright line” rules that can help save you many hours of stress and mental anguish as well as thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees and costs defending yourself

These “rules” may seem to be common sense, but there they are, anyway:

1. DO NOT ever meet the client at an outside social activity or attend a social event with the client. This includes “just dinner” or “just-drinks.”

2. DO NOT text the client. Texting is not secure and leads to casual and unprofessional thinking and conversation with the client. Many health care institutions prohibit their physicians and employees from texting with clients because of the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules. You can use that as an excuse if you need one.

3. DO take a screenshot and print out the text when you violate the above rule. Place it in the client’s health record because you will probably be seeing it again, attached to a complaint.

4. DO send an e-mail or, better yet, a professional letter to the client, instead of texting the client. Print out a copy and place it in the client’s health record, because you will probably see it again.

5. DO NOT EVER make any suggestive or sexual remarks to the client in any communications, oral or written or text, or e-mail. In fact, DON’T even think about it. This includes off-color jokes and comments.

6. DO immediately terminate the relationship with the client, transferring care to a different therapist, if the client suggests anything of a sexual nature involving you.

7. DO NOT talk about other clients with the client.

8. DO NOT talk about your own personal life with the client. Especially DO NOT let the client have your personal home address or personal e-mail address.

9. DO NOT ever have sex with a client or former client. DO NOT even think of it. If you start to think of it, see Rule 6, above. Consider clients and former clients “off-limits” no matter how much you are tempted. If you are religious, just consider this as an attempt by Satan to seduce you. If it works, you are going to be in Hell, even before you die.

10. DO know what professional boundaries are and DO NOT cross them. This includes allowing a personal relationship to grow between you and the client, and includes selling anything to the client (e.g., Girl Scout cookies, tickets to a charitable event, Amway products, candy bars for your kids’ school band, etc.), agreeing to meet the client at any outside event, accepting gifts from the client, hiring the client to work for you, accepting “voluntary” services from the client (including volunteering to work in your office). If you need a friend that bad, terminate the therapist-client relationship and see Rule 6, above.

11. DO know that if you have even a suspicion that your therapist-client relationship is getting out of bounds, then it already is out of bounds. See Rule 6, above.

12. DO call a professional therapist colleague who is more senior to you and consult her or him about the “situation” if you think there may be a “situation.”

These may sound like “no-brainers” to you, but you would be surprised at how many complaints against licensed counselors and psychologists there are as a result of violating one or more of these “rules.”

(Note: These “rules” are just guidelines meant to help you keep out of trouble; these are not meant to be enforced against anyone, nor do they create or represent any “standard of care.”)

For additional information on how our firm can assist you in matters like this, click here to read one of our prior blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced Investigations of Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) investigations, board hearings, FBI investigations, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers. To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general litigation matters and business litigation matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2021 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

2022-11-25T19:00:02-05:00November 27th, 2022|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

What is the Cost For Legal Defense in a Hospital Medical Staff Peer Review Fair Hearing?

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

If you are a physician, nurse practitioner, oral surgeon, dentist, or other health professional with clinical privileges in a hospital, you may face a situation where you are required to defend yourself at a “fair hearing.”  A “fair hearing” is held by the hospital’s medical staff pursuant to the Medical Staff Bylaws or Rules and Regulations of the Medical Staff.

“Fair Hearing”–A Term of Art.

The hearing is called a “fair hearing,” which is a term of art.  Usually, those defending themselves at such hearings don’t find them to be fair at all. However, according to the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA), such proceedings are required to provide the affected healthcare practitioner with certain “due process,” such as the right to be advised of the specific charges made against them, the right to legal representation, the right to produce witnesses and evidence of their own and other rights.

Be Sure You Have Professional Liability Insurance That Includes Coverage for Clinical Privileges Actions.

If you face such a hearing, you will find it difficult to find an experienced lawyer to represent you and, when you do, it will be a costly endeavor.  This is one of the primary reasons to purchase good professional liability insurance, including legal defense of such peer review actions. Unfortunately, most insurance companies that provide such coverage have limits far too low to pay all legal defense expenses you will probably incur.

Standard Insurance Coverage Amounts May Not Be Sufficient to Protect You Properly.

However, the basic amount provided for such coverage in most insurance policies is not sufficient to cover the actual expenses of the proceeding.  Standard coverage amounts are usually in amounts of $25,000, $35,000, or $50,000;  again, these are not sufficient to pay for even the most basic fair hearing.  Some insurers have much higher limits;  it is important to find out precisely what you have to increase the coverage or buy additional coverage.

There are often additional “riders” to insurance policies that you can purchase, “additional coverages,” or even a completely separate policy that will provide such legal defense coverage for you.  It is usually not that expensive and is worth inquiring about.  This type of coverage often goes hand-in-hand with professional license defense coverage as one can cause the other to occur. For example, a hospital peer review action can result in a report to your state licensing board. A licensing complaint or action may cause hospital peer review action to be initiated against you.

You should think of a “fair hearing” as similar to a medical malpractice trial and plan accordingly.


Costs and Expenses of a “Fair Hearing”

One of the most significant expenses you will incur in preparing for a “fair hearing” is expert witness fees. In almost every case we have ever had, obtaining one or more expert witnesses to testify at the hearing has been necessary.  Obtaining experts in medical sub-specialties will cost more, of course, than those in specialties such as family medicine and internal medicine.  It is often difficult to find an expert witness who will not only support your position in the case but will also show up at the hospital to testify at the “fair hearing.”

Additionally, the mere preparation for the hearing (including document reviews and working with the expert witnesses) and representation at the hearing is a time-intensive endeavor.  It has been our experience that even the most routine “fair hearing” costs approximately $100,000. For example, in one case we had involving several different areas of spinal surgery, requiring five (5) expert witnesses, cost in excess of $250,000 (note:  all charges against the doctor were dismissed at the hearing).

Conclusion.

Peer review “fair hearings” in hospitals are costly to defend and require an experienced attorney and the financial resolve to see the case through to its conclusion.  Often insurance does not provide sufficient coverage for such hearings. Therefore, physicians, nurse practitioners, oral surgeons, psychologists, and others having hospital clinical privileges should purchase additional coverage for such events and hire experienced legal counsel to represent them at the earliest stage of the proceedings.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers in Peer Review and “Fair Hearing” Matters.

At the Health Law Firm, we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, home health agencies, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other healthcare provider. It also includes medical students, resident physicians, and fellows, as well as medical school professors and clinical staff. We represent health facilities, individuals, groups, and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers, and acquisitions. The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in complex litigation and both formal and informal administrative hearings. We also represent physicians accused of wrongdoing, patient complaints, and in Department of Health investigations.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., L.L.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2021 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

A Criminal Offense On Your Record Can Prevent You from Obtaining Your License in Florida

Attorney & Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Someone arrested for a criminal offense knows that it can lead to a criminal record that may or may not be on your record for the rest of your life. However, once you pay your fine and carry out any other disciplinary action the court has ordered, you expect the consequences to be over. In many cases, the arrest and offense can even be sealed or expunged so that it is no longer on your record. However, in the case of someone who desires to apply for a license in the health care field or who is already licensed, this is not the end of the consequences you will face.

For healthcare professionals, a criminal charge can mean being disqualified from obtaining a license or losing your license to practice. Conviction of certain criminal offenses may even mean exclusion from being a Medicare provider or termination from the state Medicaid Program, which can also be grounds for revoking your license. Criminal charges against a health professional can have serious and long-lasting consequences.

How Criminal Charges Impact Your Professional License.

Licensing authorities are charged by statute with protecting the general public, not the individuals they regulate. Most state laws regulating health practitioners include criminal convictions as one of the grounds for denial or discipline of a professional license. Some state laws (for example, Florida’s) allow the state licensing authority to impose discipline upon a nolo contendere (no contest) plea or even when adjudication is withheld or deferred by the court.

State regulatory authorities can and do impose discipline based on the facts underlying a conviction, even when the conviction itself is not directly related to the practice of a profession. For example, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving may raise the question with the licensing authority of whether the practitioner could be impaired or reckless while providing patient care. The licensing authority will likely investigate these matters and the facts underlying the offense to determine if the practitioner threatens the public.

Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI, disorderly conduct, assault, or any other misdemeanor, you can anticipate that the state, the Department of Health (DOH), or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will start an investigation. You must retain an attorney who can immediately defend your freedom during your criminal case and protect your livelihood during licensing proceedings.

Mandatory Report of Conviction of Felony or Misdemeanor Charge.

In the event of a conviction, this may trigger a required report to the state licensing board within a certain period. Some states only require a report at the time of renewal of the license. Other states require a report within thirty days of the disposition of the offense. Still others, like Florida, may have multiple actions the provider must take in such instances.

For example, certain licensed health professionals in Florida must maintain an online provider profile. Those who must maintain a profile in Florida include medical doctors, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, and chiropractors. State law requires that for any change in the information required on the profile (a conviction, for example), the profile must be updated within fifteen (15) days. In addition, Florida law requires a written report be made to the professional licensing board of any licensed health provider within thirty (30) days of the disposition of the offense.

Suppose you have been arrested and are facing felony or misdemeanor charges. In that case, you must seek the advice and experience of an attorney who can help you and your criminal defense attorney to analyze different outcomes to help protect your license.

Health professionals who have been arrested generally want their criminal cases resolved as quickly and quietly as possible. Unfortunately, they may inadvertently accept a plea arrangement that results in later severe discipline or revocation of their professional license. All health professionals and their criminal defense attorneys should consider the consequences of the practitioner’s license before accepting a plea arrangement and should consult with an experienced health law attorney. Click here to read one of our prior blogs for more information on this. 

Remember, your health profession is probably your only means of support. You must realize that you may need additional legal help from an experienced healthcare attorney to maintain it.

The disciplinary process is often long and extremely costly. The effects of discipline on your license can follow you for the remainder of your career and is publicly available to anyone who cares to look. If you have been arrested, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced healthcare attorney who can advise you and your criminal counsel on the effects of a potential outcome on your license.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Licensure Matter and Disciplinary Matters.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, mental health counselors, social workers, and other health practitioners in licensure matters. We frequently consult with criminal defense attorneys regarding defense strategies tailored to minimizing criminal sanctions while at the same time preserving the practitioner’s license.

To contact The Health Law Firm, call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: PAlexander@TheHealthLawFirm.com or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

2022-10-14T15:09:32-04:00November 1st, 2022|Categories: Medical Education Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

A Criminal Record Can Prevent You from Obtaining Your License in Florida

Attorney & Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Someone arrested for a criminal offense knows that it can lead to a criminal record that may or may not be on your record for the rest of your life. However, once you pay your fine and carry out any other disciplinary action the court has ordered, you expect the consequences to be over. In many cases, the arrest and offense can even be sealed or expunged so that it is no longer on your record. However, in the case of someone who desires to apply for a license in the health care field or who is already licensed, this is not the end of the consequences you will face.

For healthcare professionals, a criminal charge can mean being disqualified from obtaining a license or losing your license to practice. Conviction of certain criminal offenses may even mean exclusion from being a Medicare provider or termination from the state Medicaid Program, which can also be grounds for revoking your license. Criminal charges against a health professional can have serious and long-lasting consequences.

How Criminal Charges Impact Your Professional License.

Licensing authorities are charged by statute with protecting the general public, not the individuals they regulate. Most state laws regulating health practitioners include criminal convictions as one of the grounds for denial or discipline of a professional license. Some state laws (for example, Florida’s) allow the state licensing authority to impose discipline upon a nolo contendere (no contest) plea or even when adjudication is withheld or deferred by the court.

State regulatory authorities can and do impose discipline based on the facts underlying a conviction, even when the conviction itself is not directly related to the practice of a profession. For example, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving may raise the question with the licensing authority of whether the practitioner could be impaired or reckless while providing patient care. The licensing authority will likely investigate these matters and the facts underlying the offense to determine if the practitioner threatens the public.

Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI, disorderly conduct, assault, or any other misdemeanor, you can anticipate that the state, the Department of Health (DOH), or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will start an investigation. You must retain an attorney who can immediately defend your freedom during your criminal case and protect your livelihood during licensing proceedings.

Mandatory Report of Conviction of Felony or Misdemeanor Charge.

In the event of a conviction, this may trigger a required report to the state licensing board within a certain period. Some states only require a report at the time of renewal of the license. Other states require a report within thirty days of the disposition of the offense. Still others, like Florida, may have multiple actions the provider must take in such instances.

For example, certain licensed health professionals in Florida must maintain an online provider profile. Those who must maintain a profile in Florida include medical doctors, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, and chiropractors. State law requires that for any change in the information required on the profile (a conviction, for example), the profile must be updated within fifteen (15) days. In addition, Florida law requires a written report be made to the professional licensing board of any licensed health provider within thirty (30) days of the disposition of the offense.

Suppose you have been arrested and are facing felony or misdemeanor charges. In that case, you must seek the advice and experience of an attorney who can help you and your criminal defense attorney to analyze different outcomes to help protect your license.

Health professionals who have been arrested generally want their criminal cases resolved as quickly and quietly as possible. Unfortunately, they may inadvertently accept a plea arrangement that results in later severe discipline or revocation of their professional license. All health professionals and their criminal defense attorneys should consider the consequences of the practitioner’s license before accepting a plea arrangement and should consult with an experienced health law attorney. Click here to read one of our prior blogs for more information on this. 

Remember, your health profession is probably your only means of support. You must realize that you may need additional legal help from an experienced healthcare attorney to maintain it.

The disciplinary process is often long and extremely costly. The effects of discipline on your license can follow you for the remainder of your career and is publicly available to anyone who cares to look. If you have been arrested, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced healthcare attorney who can advise you and your criminal counsel on the effects of a potential outcome on your license.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Licensure Matter and Disciplinary Matters.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, mental health counselors, social workers, and other health practitioners in licensure matters. We frequently consult with criminal defense attorneys regarding defense strategies tailored to minimizing criminal sanctions while at the same time preserving the practitioner’s license.

To contact The Health Law Firm, call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: PAlexander@TheHealthLawFirm.com or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

2022-10-14T15:19:43-04:00October 15th, 2022|Categories: Massage Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

A Criminal Offense Can Prevent You from Obtaining Your License in Florida

Attorney & Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Someone arrested for a criminal offense knows that it can lead to a criminal record that may or may not be on your record for the rest of your life. However, once you pay your fine and carry out any other disciplinary action the court has ordered, you expect the consequences to be over. In many cases, the arrest and offense can even be sealed or expunged so that it is no longer on your record. However, in the case of someone who desires to apply for a license in the health care field or who is already licensed, this is not the end of the consequences you will face.

For healthcare professionals, a criminal charge can mean being disqualified from obtaining a license or losing your license to practice. Conviction of certain criminal offenses may even mean exclusion from being a Medicare provider or termination from the state Medicaid Program, which can also be grounds for revoking your license. Criminal charges against a health professional can have serious and long-lasting consequences.

How Criminal Charges Impact Your Professional License.

Licensing authorities are charged by statute with protecting the general public, not the individuals they regulate. Most state laws regulating health practitioners include criminal convictions as one of the grounds for denial or discipline of a professional license. Some state laws (for example, Florida’s) allow the state licensing authority to impose discipline upon a nolo contendere (no contest) plea or even when adjudication is withheld or deferred by the court.

State regulatory authorities can and do impose discipline based on the facts underlying a conviction, even when the conviction itself is not directly related to the practice of a profession. For example, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving may raise the question with the licensing authority of whether the practitioner could be impaired or reckless while providing patient care. The licensing authority will likely investigate these matters and the facts underlying the offense to determine if the practitioner threatens the public.

Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI, disorderly conduct, assault, or any other misdemeanor, you can anticipate that the state, the Department of Health (DOH), or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will start an investigation. You must retain an attorney who can immediately defend your freedom during your criminal case and protect your livelihood during licensing proceedings.

Mandatory Report of Conviction of Felony or Misdemeanor Charge.

In the event of a conviction, this may trigger a required report to the state licensing board within a certain period. Some states only require a report at the time of renewal of the license. Other states require a report within thirty days of the disposition of the offense. Still others, like Florida, may have multiple actions the provider must take in such instances.

For example, certain licensed health professionals in Florida must maintain an online provider profile. Those who must maintain a profile in Florida include medical doctors, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, and chiropractors. State law requires that for any change in the information required on the profile (a conviction, for example), the profile must be updated within fifteen (15) days. In addition, Florida law requires a written report be made to the professional licensing board of any licensed health provider within thirty (30) days of the disposition of the offense.

Suppose you have been arrested and are facing felony or misdemeanor charges. In that case, you must seek the advice and experience of an attorney who can help you and your criminal defense attorney to analyze different outcomes to help protect your license.

Health professionals who have been arrested generally want their criminal cases resolved as quickly and quietly as possible. Unfortunately, they may inadvertently accept a plea arrangement that results in later severe discipline or revocation of their professional license. All health professionals and their criminal defense attorneys should consider the consequences of the practitioner’s license before accepting a plea arrangement and should consult with an experienced health law attorney. Click here to read one of our prior blogs for more information on this. 

Remember, your health profession is probably your only means of support. You must realize that you may need additional legal help from an experienced healthcare attorney to maintain it.

The disciplinary process is often long and extremely costly. The effects of discipline on your license can follow you for the remainder of your career and is publicly available to anyone who cares to look. If you have been arrested, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced healthcare attorney who can advise you and your criminal counsel on the effects of a potential outcome on your license.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Licensure Matter and Disciplinary Matters.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, mental health counselors, social workers, and other health practitioners in licensure matters. We frequently consult with criminal defense attorneys regarding defense strategies tailored to minimizing criminal sanctions while at the same time preserving the practitioner’s license.

To contact The Health Law Firm, call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: PAlexander@TheHealthLawFirm.com or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

KeyWords: Health care license defense representation, professional license legal defense, representation for professional license suspension, reporting physician arrests and convictions, health care license defense attorney, medical license defense attorney, reporting criminal conviction for doctor or health professional, report arrest for physician or health professional, mental health counselor defense lawyer, representation for physician criminal charges, representation for nurse criminal charges, representation for dentist criminal charges, Department of Health (DOH) conviction report, misdemeanor offense physician lawyer, Department of Health (DOH) investigation defense attorney, DOH complaint investigation legal defense representation, DOH defense attorney, legal representation in DOH investigation, representation for license suspension, license revocation attorney, representation for health care professionals, legal representation for administrative hearing, representation for administrative appeals, The Health Law Firm reviews, reviews of The Health Law Firm attorneys, Florida health law defense attorney, Medicare exclusion defense attorney, Office of Inspector General (OIG) exclusion defense lawyer, legalrepesntatin in Office of Inspector General (OIG) exclusion, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) health care complaint, defense of relinquishment of DEA number, DEA order to show cause (OSC) hearing attorney

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

2022-10-14T15:05:10-04:00October 14th, 2022|Categories: Marijuana Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

From the archives: Are You Applying for a Dental or Health Professional License? Read Our Helpful Tips

Previously published on July 12, 2021

George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The process of obtaining a dental or health professional license can be challenging and time-consuming. When seeking initial licensure or applying for a license in another state, you should be aware of delays in the application process due to the investigation of credentials and past practice, as well as the need to comply with licensing standards.

Here is a List of Examples That Would Delay Your Dental License Application:

• Disciplinary or academic actions during postgraduate training (probation, suspension, remediation)
• Action by another state’s regulatory or licensing board
• Action by a different professional licensing board
• Misdemeanor or felony convictions
• Results of the criminal background check (remember, it shows arrests, not necessarily the results of the arrests)
• Civil judgments/malpractice
• Medical, physical, mental, or chemical dependence impairment/condition within the last five years
• Adverse action against your clinical privileges by a hospital, ambulatory surgical center, skilled nursing facility, or other health facility or professional organization.
• Adverse action (e.g., termination for cause) by a former employer
• Action by a specialty board
• Lack of recent active practice
• Action by DEA against your DEA registration number
• Disciplinary action (especially court-martial) by the military
• Applications that require a petition of waiver or variance for a job

Not being 100% truthful about your history and education is the number one reason for denial of an application for a license! Don’t try to hide potentially derogatory information from a state licensing board, if it is required by the question or the instructions that further elaborate on the question. It is much better to come forward with the information and be upfront.

This being said, you do not want to volunteer adverse information that a question does not ask. For example, if a question asks about felony convictions, DO NOT disclose misdemeanor convictions or traffic ticket convictions. If a question asks about convictions, DO NOT disclose arrests for which you were acquitted or were dismissed. If a question asks about medical malpractice lawsuits, DO NOT disclose civil lawsuits that were not related to malpractice.


There Are Ways to Speed up the Application Process.

There are ways to ease the process of applying for a dental license and get your application processed quicker. Before submitting your application, contact the licensing board and request a copy of its current licensing requirements and the average time it takes to process applications.


Here are some tips to help ease the process of applying for dental or medical licensure:

1.     Submit follow-up documents in a timely manner online or mail them to the correct address (as required). If you cannot obtain requested follow-up documentation, provide a separate, detailed explanation (preferably in the form of an affidavit), of why you cannot do so.

2.     Keep in mind that any fees you pay have to be processed by the Department vendor. This may take a few days.

3.     Identify any variation of names and nicknames.

4.     Once you start the process, submit the application within 30 days so that your supplemental documents, including transcripts, will have an application file in which to be filed.

5.     Have the correct address on the application for training programs you have attended and the health facilities at which you have worked.

6.     Send in necessary back-up documents in a timely manner.

7.     Follow up with sources that are sending the Board of Dentistry your documents.

8.     Watch for letters or e-mail from your reviewer. This is how you will be instructed on what additional documents or information may be needed for your application to be complete.

9.     If asked for follow-up information from the Board, please read the request carefully to identify exactly what is needed to make your application complete.

10.     Answer questions honestly and provide an explanation where appropriate. But do not provide information that is not being requested.

Dentists and medical professionals seeking a license should expect at least a 60-day period from the time they initially submit a completed application and the actual date licensure is granted.

For more information and ways that The Health Law Firm can help in licensure matters, visit our Video Q&A section or visit our website’s Areas of Practice page.

Contact Health Law Attorneys With Experience Handling Licensing Issues.

If you are applying for a dental or health care license, have had a license suspended or revoked, or are facing imminent action against your license, it is imperative that you contact an experienced healthcare attorney to assist you in defending your career. Remember, your license is your livelihood, it is not recommended that you attempt to pursue these matters without the assistance of an attorney.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents dentists, nurses, physicians, medical groups, clinics, and other healthcare providers in personal and facility licensing issues.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

“Obtaining a Medical License.” American Medical Association (AMA). Web.

Florida Board of Dentistry, “Licensing FAQs,” http://flboardofdentistry.gov/licensure-faqs/

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2021 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Mental Health Counselors and Psychotherapists: Simple Rules for Keeping Your License and Avoiding Complaints

George Indest HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

I represent many mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, and professional counselors, defending them on complaints being investigated against their professional licenses. Many complaints and investigations arise because the therapist has strayed over the line and crossed the therapist-client boundary. In reviewing these cases, I have drawn up a list of a few simple “bright line” rules that can help save you many hours of stress and mental anguish as well as thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees and costs defending yourself

These “rules” may seem to be common sense, but there they are, anyway:

1. DO NOT ever meet the client at an outside social activity or attend a social event with the client. This includes “just dinner” or “just-drinks.”

2. DO NOT text the client. Texting is not secure and leads to casual and unprofessional thinking and conversation with the client. Many health care institutions prohibit their physicians and employees from texting with clients because of the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules. You can use that as an excuse if you need one.

3. DO take a screenshot and print out the text when you violate the above rule. Place it in the client’s health record because you will probably be seeing it again, attached to a complaint.

4. DO send an e-mail or, better yet, a professional letter to the client, instead of texting the client. Print out a copy and place it in the client’s health record, because you will probably see it again.

5. DO NOT EVER make any suggestive or sexual remarks to the client in any communications, oral or written or text, or e-mail. In fact, DON’T even think about it. This includes off-color jokes and comments.

6. DO immediately terminate the relationship with the client, transferring care to a different therapist, if the client suggests anything of a sexual nature involving you.

7. DO NOT talk about other clients with the client.

8. DO NOT talk about your own personal life with the client. Especially DO NOT let the client have your personal home address or personal e-mail address.

9. DO NOT ever have sex with a client or former client. DO NOT even think of it. If you start to think of it, see Rule 6, above. Consider clients and former clients “off-limits” no matter how much you are tempted. If you are religious, just consider this as an attempt by Satan to seduce you. If it works, you are going to be in Hell, even before you die.

10. DO know what professional boundaries are and DO NOT cross them. This includes allowing a personal relationship to grow between you and the client, and includes selling anything to the client (e.g., Girl Scout cookies, tickets to a charitable event, Amway products, candy bars for your kids’ school band, etc.), agreeing to meet the client at any outside event, accepting gifts from the client, hiring the client to work for you, accepting “voluntary” services from the client (including volunteering to work in your office). If you need a friend that bad, terminate the therapist-client relationship and see Rule 6, above.

11. DO know that if you have even a suspicion that your therapist-client relationship is getting out of bounds, then it already is out of bounds. See Rule 6, above.

12. DO call a professional therapist colleague who is more senior to you and consult her or him about the “situation” if you think there may be a “situation.”

These may sound like “no-brainers” to you, but you would be surprised at how many complaints against licensed counselors and psychologists there are as a result of violating one or more of these “rules.”

(Note: These “rules” are just guidelines meant to help you keep out of trouble; these are not meant to be enforced against anyone, nor do they create or represent any “standard of care.”)

For additional information on how our firm can assist you in matters like this, click here to read one of our prior blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced Investigations of Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) investigations, board hearings, FBI investigations, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers. To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general litigation matters and business litigation matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2021 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

2022-09-30T20:00:01-04:00October 2nd, 2022|Categories: Mental Health Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

COVID-19 Burn Out Causing More Resident Physicians to Unionize, Part 2

stethoscope and gavel with the word covid-19 written before it
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

This is part two of a blog series focusing on the effects of COVID burnout in healthcare professionals. Don’t forget to read part one.


The Problem With Residents’ Working Conditions Existed Long Before the Pandemic.

It’s common for resident physicians to work long hours for relatively low pay. They have little or no ability to determine their schedule and are generally locked into positions for up to seven years. Certainly, medical residents have voiced concerns about their work lives long before the pandemic. Some describe years of grueling schedules, sometimes with 24-hour shifts, including 80-hour workweeks. “Residents were always working crazy hours, then the stress of the pandemic hit them really hard,” John August, a director at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is quoted as having said.

To learn more about issues that affect residents and fellow physicians, click here to visit the American Medical Association (AMA) Resident and Fellow Section.


Benefits & Drawbacks of Unionizing.

Medical residents looking to unionize often cite such basics as pay and working conditions as top reasons. For reference, first-year residents earned just under $60,000 on average in 2021, according to a survey done by AAMC.  At 80 hours a week, one could calculate that residents could very well be earning less than the minimum wage, according to the AAMC data.

Those unionizing typically say wages are too low, especially given residents’ workload, student loan debt, and the rising cost of living.

Additionally, some residents say that unions can have upsides for hospitals and can also help enhance patient care. Patients deserve physicians who aren’t exhausted and preoccupied with the stress of finances. “To take good care of others, we need to be able to care for ourselves. We love being residents and caring for patients. But we can’t do that well if we neglect ourselves,” said a University of Vermont Medical Center resident.

On the other hand, residents unionizing is not without its potential drawbacks. For hospitals, money is an issue. Although federal funding helps pay residents’ salaries, most training expenses come from hospitals. In many instances, because of the pandemic, those funds are now depleted, said Janis Orlowski, MD, AAMC chief health care officer.

Some worry that unionizing can undermine the connections between residents and the physicians who train them. Another primary concern for hospitals is the threat of a strike; although rare, it has been decades since the last one. Many residents also worry that unionizing could undermine patients’ and communities’ trust in them.

Happy Residents, Happy Patients.

For some healthcare workers, the COVID-19 pandemic solidified the importance of a union. Residents have been on the front lines of care but were not alwaysmedical residents giving a thumbs up with arms up in the air the first to access PPE or lifesaving vaccines. Others are simply looking for acknowledgment of the sacrifices they’ve made while caring for the country’s most vulnerable patients.

However, one thing remains clear; both sides agree that the goal is to become a good physician and get taken care of in the process.

For more information on residency programs, click here to watch one of our video blogs, and make sure to check out our YouTube page.


Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys Representing Residents, Fellows, and Medical Students.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents resident physicians, fellows and students, including medical students, dental students, nursing students, pharmacy students, and other healthcare professional students, who have legal problems with their schools or programs. We also represent students, residents, and fellows in investigations, academic probation and suspensions, disciplinary hearings, clinical competence committee (CCC) hearings, and appeals of adverse actions taken against them. The Health Law Firm’s attorneys include those who are board-certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Weiner, Stacey. “Thousands of medical residents are unionizing. Here’s what that means for doctors, hospitals, and the patients they serve.” AAMC News. (June 7, 2022). Web.

Kwon, Sarah. “Burned out by COVID and 80-hour workweeks, resident physicians unionize.” Kaiser Health News. (May 27, 2022). Web.

Murphy, Brenden. “Why more resident physicians are looking to unionize.” AMA. (June 28, 2022). Web.

Author HeadshotAbout the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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