Yesterday, for the third time in the past month, I received a call from a doctor who was arrested for a DUI. He was informed by his criminal attorney that since this was a first offense, he was likely to get Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) and he should comply with any instructions or recommendations from the Medical Board. This is probably the worst advice the attorney could have given the doctor. First of all, the Medical Board and other Healthcare Boards have a contract with a company that notifies the Board when a licensee is charged with a crime. The duty of the Board is to protect the public, not the licensee. When the Board becomes aware of an arrest for DUI, the licensee will receive a letter requesting that he or she contact the Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) to schedule an evaluation to see if the licensee qualifies for the Impaired Professionals Program. This evaluation usually results in the licensee being forced into the Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP) with stringent monitoring requirements including drug and alcohol testing, notification of the licensee's employer and, often times, job restrictions. A healthcare licensee has so much at stake, it is incumbent upon him or her to contact the skilled healthcare licensing attorney immediately upon arrest so they are aware of the serious consequences of the arrest. Even an ARD can have serious consequences for the healthcare professional. I have been representing healthcare professionals in licensing matters and criminal matters for over 30 years and am available to work with you to protect your license.
There is one less practicing physician in Johnstown at this time. A Pennsylvania licensing board has suspended a doctor's license. The situation involves a woman who had been treated at the physician's office and later died. The case is still under investigation.
The State Board of Nursing and State Board of Medicine are two licensing entities in Pennsylvania. If a licensed nurse or physician has his or her actions called into question, it may be necessary for him or her to appear at a hearing. In such cases, the person who stands accused is guaranteed an opportunity to present a defense.