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Dealing with an investigator: talk with your attorney first

In his bestselling book on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen F. Covey counsels us all to be proactive.

The reasoning is that being proactive is better than being reactive. You can generally get better outcomes by trying to shape your own destiny than for waiting for things to come to you.

But how does that reasoning apply to you, as a health care professional, when there is a potential threat to your license due to a complaint by a patient or client? More specifically, how should you respond to an official investigator who is looking into your conduct?

The investigator could be from the state's Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) or from the licensing board for your particular field. Either way, it's important to decide how to handle it.

It makes sense, in this situation, to get counsel from an attorney who is experienced in defending the licenses of medical professionals.

Of course, a lot will depend on your specific circumstances. For example, you may be passionately opposed to the allegations that seem to be emerging against you. In that situation, you may feel a deep desire to speak out when talking with the investigator.

Keep in mind, however, that unconstrained interaction with an investigator may not be in your best interests. You don't want to make statements in the heat of the moment that could come back to haunt you later.

Talk things over with your attorney. That is the proactive step to take right now.

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If you are a licensed nurse, doctor, dentist, pharmacist or any other professional in Pennsylvania, call The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn for help. Based in Philadelphia, our attorneys have decades of experience in the fields of professional license defense, criminal defense and family law.

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