San Antonio Dental License Defense Lawyers
As a dentist, a professional misconduct finding against you could result in having your dental license suspended on a conditional or unconditional basis. You even face permanent revocation. Lesser consequences after an investigation include a maximum $10,000 fine for each charge or an administrative warning. Therefore, facing a complaint or investigation is a matter that should be taken seriously.
When facing a professional discipline, a good way to protect your future is to hire legal representation from a dental license defense lawyer for help.
Charges of Misconduct
An allegation of fraud or dishonest act is one of the common charges of misconduct. This broad category includes:
• Falsification of records
• Improper fee splitting
• Fraudulent practice
Another type of accusation may target your alleged failure to practice dentistry properly. Basically, you are accused of not following the right procedures due to negligence or incompetent practice.
Other ways a professional charge of misconduct targets your career include accusations of:
• Practicing dentistry while impaired by drugs, alcohol or mental illness
• Exceeding the scope for which you are authorized to practice
• Allowing an unauthorized person to practice dentistry
• Physically or sexually abusing a patient
Most of these actions may also lead to criminal prosecution.
In addition, if you are convicted of a crime, you will be charged with professional misconduct, which could lead to the loss of your license. Because of this, you should seek the advice of a lawyer who understands the law and the impact these charges can have on your career.
Not only does this threaten your license, but charges like this also threatens your freedom. Settlement offers should be evaluated by an experienced dental license defense lawyer who will evaluate the repercussions of a plea bargain or potential conviction to your license.
The Investigation Process
Once the investigation begin, you will be asked to provide information and records. Presumably, this is to support the case, but not necessarily in your favor. Do not provide any documents or records before you speak with your lawyer. Handing over the wrong document or statement has the potential to seriously damage your case. Doing so could even expose you to more charges.
Yes, you have a duty to cooperate; ignoring the investigators will not make this go away. However, you must be careful to follow the advice of counsel and let your lawyer prepare you for interactions with investigators.
One important thing to remember is audits and investigations that are not based on professional misconduct could still result in misconduct charges. An example of this is Medicare overpayments that an auditor could determine is the result of fraud. The investigation of professional misconduct could also lead to criminal charges.
Focus of Investigations
The two major issues that are most often the focus of an investigation are fraud and negligence. You might have patients who are unhappy with the outcomes of their procedures. Some might experience health problems after alleged negligent treatment from you.
One way that you can reduce the scope of negligence is to keep accurate, timely, clear and comprehensive documentation of everything you did, along with the reasons you made those decision. Conversely, failing to enter detailed medical records could result in an additional charge of misconduct that carries its own penalties.
Financial dealings in your dental practice can become the focus of many complex regulations violations that deal with fraud and anti-kickback statutes. Advertising and contracting regulations may also become a focal point of inspection.
Triggers for an Investigation
Typically, you are being investigated because of a complaint from a patient, employee or colleague. Another trigger could be an investigating agency that found misconduct actions while reviewing something else and report its finding to the Office of Professional Discipline.
It is possible to minimize fraud or professional negligence accusations by implementing specific procedures. These can be seen as a form of self-governance where you can detect, correct and even prevent deviations from professional standards in dentistry, including applicable laws and regulations.
Our San Antonio Dental License Defense Lawyers are Available at Every Stage
Raiser & Kenniff, PC is prepared to represent you through each stage of a professional misconduct proceeding. We will evaluate settlement proposals, draft responses and give you vigorous and effective representation. Our lawyers can also help you implement proactive procedures that can protect you from winnable accusations.