Pennsylvania's professional boards had a busy month in July. According to the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, the Board of Medicine took action against 16 medical licensees and the Board of Nursing took action against more than 50 licensed professionals. In all, four practitioners were from Philadelphia.
A quick review of the list shows just how seriously the boards take their obligations to the public. The list also shows just how easy it is to make a mistake.
For example, one medical professional's license has been suspended indefinitely because he did not report to Pennsylvania an action taken against his license in another state. Another licensee was publicly reprimanded and fined for his failure to report another state's action. A public reprimand is available to anyone looking for information about the licensee; a private reprimand is available only to the board.
The list also shows a number of professionals suffering the consequences of drug or alcohol abuse. In one or two cases, the professional voluntarily surrendered his or her license, but, for the most part, the penalty was indefinite license suspension. In a few cases, the suspension will remain in place until the board has completed its investigation. In others, that suspension will last until the professional can prove that the addiction is a thing of the past.
Professional boards are not heartless. What people may lose sight of is that these boards exist to protect the public, not just to make sure doctors, surgeons and nurses are keeping up with their continuing education credits. If the health or safety of patients or the public is at risk, the board will act, but the board also realizes that practitioners are human, that their jobs are stressful. They will pay attention to licensees who are anxious to make things right.
As much as a professional may want to make his or her own case, there are times when the help of legal counsel is the better choice. If you have questions about your own situation, contact a professional license defense attorney in your area.