In today’s highly regulated health care environment, any alleged infraction of laws, rules, regulations, policies, or protocols in a hospital or clinical setting can impose problems for any practitioner. Goodman Allen Donnelly attorneys are well-versed on the domino effect a complaint may have on licensure, professional certifications, credentials, your ability to obtain insurance coverage, and to be enrolled on provider panels. Your professional life and livelihood may be at risk. There are certain law-imposed reporting requirements of any disciplinary or adverse actions against you. The various Boards of licensure may put these very sensitive and personal sanctions on public display and National Practitioner Data Bank reports will be available to any entities where you may have or seek professional credentials and privileges.
As a health care provider in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health Professions does more than just issue your professional license. It is responsible for establishing and maintaining acceptable standards of professional practice and to take disciplinary action when there is an allegation that licensed health care providers do not practice in accordance with those standards. The most frequent of those allegations are:
- substandard care
- practicing beyond the scope of licensure
- diversion of prescription drugs
- inappropriate prescribing or dispensing of controlled drugs
- boundary violations/sexual misconduct
- improper advertising
- inadequate record keeping
- unprofessional conduct
- conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
- adverse licensure action in another jurisdiction
Our attorneys have counseled and represented hundreds of licensed healthcare professionals throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, many who have come under investigation by their respective licensing boards. With extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations governing the various health professions, the investigative and regulatory processes and the informal and formal conference proceedings, we provide our clients with the most effective and efficient approach to their unique situation. We appreciate your need for advice and consultation. You may not need counsel – and that is an opinion we have often given in response to such a question. However, we can facilitate with your decision to have or forego counsel so it is both educated and informed.
From their years of legal counseling, our attorneys are aware that there are clinicians who may be impaired by physical or mental disability, or who suffer from chemical dependency. We have worked closely with the Health Practitioners’ Monitoring Program (HPMP) to increase the number of practitioners who will seek this avenue of assistance as an alternative to or in mitigation of disciplinary action, thereby enhancing public protection while aiding the practitioner. For those clinicians who may be eligible, our attorneys can provide assistance to facilitate with treatment decisions to address an impairment or to help demonstrate that no such impairment exists. The goal is to work with both the Board and the Health Practitioners’ Monitoring Program to put the practitioner in the best position to seek a stay of any disciplinary action or to resolve matters where no impairment or cause for discipline exists. In most instances, HPMP is open to persons who are or who were licensed, certified, or registered, or to an applicant, who is otherwise fully eligible for licensure, certification, or registration.
In addition to health care professionals, our attorneys represent and defend a wide array of other professionals, including accountants, engineers, architects, and attorneys. Our attorneys are sensitive to the demands of their clients’ profession, the importance of their reputation as well as the need for legal representation of the highest quality. We offer the necessary expertise and experience to assist our clients in obtaining the best possible result under these difficult circumstances.
Allegations of misconduct make their way to the various licensing boards through a variety of sources including employees, patients, hospitals, other licensed professionals, law enforcement agencies, courts, individual concerned citizens, and other state and federal regulatory agencies. The filing of a complaint against you does not confirm the validity of the allegations, but it does mean that it will be investigated thoroughly. You should be prepared to respond completely and professionally in order not to make a bad or unpleasant situation worse. Cooperation with the investigator does not mean total submission. Appropriate interaction with those in the Enforcement Division better ensures that your proper defenses will be heard and your case judged on the merits.
There is the old adage that “a doctor should not try to remove his own appendix.” The same holds true for the clinician who has a complaint made against his license or credentials. The fact that you have consulted or have legal counsel does not imply to the investigator or the Board that you are “guilty” or have committed the violations alleged. It only demonstrates that you take the complaint seriously and want to provide a proper explanation or defense to put yourself in the best position during the entire process.
Below are several websites, documents, and resources to help navigate the regulatory maze. Frequently asked questions concerning the VDHP’s Disciplinary Proceedings may be found here.
Virginia Department of Health Professions includes 14 separate and autonomous health regulatory boards each regulating a specific group of health care professionals.
- Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology
- Funeral Directors & Embalmers
- Health Professions
- Long Term Care Administrators
- Physical Therapy
- Social Work
- Veterinary Medicine