Philadelphia Healthcare Licensing Blog

Doctor relinquishes privilege to practice to licensing board

If a Pennsylvania medical patient accuses a doctor of wrongdoing, the process that unfolds thereafter may intersect both administrative and civil court jurisdictions. Such a situation may prompt a licensing board to take action with respect to a physician's license to practice. In fact, a doctor in another state recently handed over his license, and it has been reported that multiple civil lawsuits are expected to be filed against him in the near future.

The doctor in this case is an elderly gentleman who, apparently, has been officially diagnosed with dementia. The diagnosis comes in the aftermath of several allegations that the doctor inappropriately touched female patients who came to see him. The doctor himself reportedly admitted that he may, at some point, have touched women's breasts but only within the context of medical examination.

Reasons a licensing board may stop a doctor from practicing

In most Pennsylvania industries, there is some type of governing body that oversees the conduct and actions of employed personnel. For instance, the state Department of Education makes decisions regarding the licensing of teachers, while the State Board of Medicine regulates licensing issues for doctors, physician assistants and a number of other health care professionals. In that regard, there are certain types of behavior that would definitely cause a doctor to be at risk for license removal.

At the top of the list of common reasons medical licenses are revoked or suspended is inappropriate sexual conduct. Alcohol or illegal drug abuse is also a main factor that would possibly cost a doctor to lose his or her medical license. Physical abuse of a patient, improper record keeping and fraud are other reasons that doctors' licenses may be called into question.

Review of Pennsylvania Professional and Occupational Licensure Board Requirements and Processes

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed an executive order to examine the state's professional licensing system. "Requiring a license to work in certain jobs helps to keep all of us safe, but those requirements should be fair relative to other states in our region and across the country," said Wolf. "Overly burdensome requirements and fees can block some workers - especially minorities or spouses in military families who move frequently - from starting a career and supporting their families."

The 29 professional and occupational licensing Boards and Commissions (Board of Dentistry, Board of Nursing, Board of Occupational Therapy, Board of Psychology, etc.) will prepare reports outlining training requirements and fees. According to the executive order, "if the requirement or fee in Pennsylvania is above the national or regional average for that license, the report shall include justification for the requirement."

Overcoming medical licensing issues in Pennsylvania

As a Pennsylvania medical physician, nurse or practitioner, your professional reputation is likely a key factor to your success. Many medical professionals have built successful and lucrative careers through word-of-mouth recommendations from patients. To the contrary, if the public learns that you have been called to a disciplinary hearing regarding medical licensing and your ability to continue to practice medicine throughout the state, it can have serious long-lasting consequences even if you obtain positive results.

There are many reasons a licensing board might in some way censure, suspend or call into a question a particular person's professional license. Mental health conditions, DUI charges or alleged medical malpractice are a few of the most common reasons. If you are at risk for losing your medical license, you entire future career may be at stake.

A guide for medical marijuana doctors in Pennsylvania

The debate over whether to legalize marijuana has been a hot topic across the country in recent years. Advocates of legalization boast the benefits of the drug, praising it as a natural treatment for chronic pain as well as a way to control or reduce symptoms connected to other diseases, including multiple sclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Meanwhile, critics point to its detriments, citing impaired cognitive function and short-term memory as well as risk of addiction.

Last year, Pennsylvania weighed in. The Medical Marijuana Act, which Governor Tom Wolf signed into law last year, has added Pennsylvania to the list of 29 states where it is now legal for patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. The first dispensaries are expected to open in early 2018.

Licensing board official says doctor poses danger to patients

When a Pennsylvania doctor's actions are called into question, the fate of his or her license often lies in the hands of the State Board of Medicine. A physician in another state has been accused of violating accepted medical standards and protocol. A chief official serving on the regulatory board has testified against the doctor, saying the pediatrician is a danger to patients.

The doctor is accused of adding vodka and cat saliva to vaccines being given to patients suffering from pet allergies. Other allegations claim that instead of using the proper form of injection to administer vaccines, this particular doctor was giving immunizations to patients through their noses and orally. Many of the patients were children.

Doctors hesitate to seek help due to licensing board fears

Pennsylvania doctors and all other licensed physicians are humans, just like everyone else. That means they might experience the same types of problems an average person has in his or her private life. Sadly, recent studies show that many doctors hesitate to get help for certain issues because they fear possible licensing board repercussions.

One study suggested that as many as 40 percent of all licensed doctors in the nation say they will not get mental health assistance because they are afraid their licenses would then be at risk. In some states, licensing applications include questions regarding mental health conditions. Doctors in those states are more likely to avoid seeking help for mental health-related problems, says the study.

Nurse Faces Disciplinary Action Because He Answered "No" to the Question of Intemperate Use of Alcohol After a Recent DUI Arrest

In my blog of September 10, 2015, I wrote that the Pennsylvania Nursing Board revised its Application for Exam and/or Graduate Temporary Practice Permit (TPP) and Re-Exam to include the following question: Do you currently engage in, or have you engaged in, the intemperate or habitual use or abuse of alcohol or narcotics, hallucinogenic or other drugs or substances that impair judgment or coordination.

Nurses often don't realize how fragile their licenses are

You may feel that your nursing license is secure. You come to work prepared for your duties. You may do your job well and keep thorough records. However, your clientele is typically people who are not feeling well and may not be thinking rationally. Depending on your area of specialty, you may have patients who don't survive their stay with you, and their family members may look for someone to blame.

Additionally, your job is demanding. You likely work long hours and have to make split-second decisions when life is in the balance. Nurses are frequently under a microscope. Because of this, every nurse is at risk of license suspension.

Licensing board coming down hard on 85-year-old physician

Many Pennsylvania residents are frustrated with the current state of health care in this state and throughout the nation. A physician who has been successfully practicing pediatric and internal medicine in another state for nearly half a century says the system has become too computerized and is no longer focused on personalized care and treatment of patients. Her opinion has apparently led to licensing board problems. Because of the way she does business, she has been made to surrender her license.

Throughout the decades, the now elderly doctor has been caring for patients (25 to 30 per week before her current administrative problems arose), and not a single person has ever filed a malpractice complaint against her. Given the frequency of such complaints in the mainstream medical world, most would laud her record as quite an accomplishment. The licensing board in her state, however, recently reprimanded her for not documenting a child's height and weight and for letting his parents determine his medication dosage for an adverse condition related to his asthma.

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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