With the amount of time, effort and money that it takes to obtain a license, it makes sense to do everything possible to protect that license and stand up against potential threats that result in suspension or revocation of your license.
The first place to start is understanding what can jeopardize a license in the first place, as this makes it easier to avoid such behaviors or actions.
Sexual misconduct and fraud
The American Medical Association discusses one enormous and common problem: having romantic or sexual relations with patients. They state that a doctor cannot have an ethical relationship with someone while treating them as a patient, so even a simple date with a patient can result in license loss. All medical and mental health professional rules of ethics have restrictions on relationships with current and former patients, as well as restrictions on forming provider relationships with previous partners, friends or family members. Many also specifically prohibit relationships between supervisors and students or supervisees. Of course, sexual misconduct can also include sexual harassment of patients or colleagues.
Fraud is another common cause of license loss. Accusations of fraud can cover a wide range of potential issues, including overcharging for medical services or altering medical records. Even unintentional errors in billing can result in something that resembles fraud closely enough to cause legal problems. State Medicaid laws are particularly strict in interpreting billing errors as acts of fraud.
Criminal history and discrimination
Certain criminal convictions can jeopardize a license too, especially when it comes to violent or serious crimes, or crimes involving driving while under the influence. This ties in with addictions to alcohol or drugs, as working while impaired is grounds for immediate license suspension. Licensing boards have increasingly reacted with harsher discipline and lengthy probation requirements for any accusation involving use or abuse of alcohol or controlled or illegal substances. If the license holder is licensed in multiple states, then the other state boards often add their own discipline and probation requirements on top of the original state board’s decision.
Unconscious bias or discrimination that causes certain patients to receive a different standard of care can result in license suspension. So can the prescription of unnecessary medication, overprescribing, or making other prescription violations.
When facing any accusations of issues that may lead to license loss or suspension, it is important to fight back swiftly and thoroughly. Investigators for the licensing boards will often first ask simply for information about a patient in an “initial inquiry” while providing little detail about the nature of the complaint. Answers to even these early stages of investigation of complaints must be answered carefully. Consider contacting legal aid to learn more about your options.