The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

Medical Licensing Archives

Increase in Investigations Leads To Increased Prosecution By the Dental Board for Possession of Outdated Drugs

In the past 6 months,  we have seen an increase in prosecutions by the State Dental Board for possession of outdated drugs.  We believe that an overall increase in the number of investigations is the cause of this.

Could illegal evidence challenge be physician's winning defense?

In two recent posts, we touched on prescription drug monitoring. A recent criminal case against a Florida physician illustrates how much can be at stake when a prescription is scrutinized for medical malpractice and/or a challenge to one’s professional license.

THE PENNSYLVANIA PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING PROGRAM

On June 30, 2016, the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program Act (ABC-MAP) went into effect. http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/uconsCheck.cfm?yr=2014&sessInd=0&act=191 . This Act provides for prescription drug monitoring and places requirements on pharmacists and physicians to use the new electronic system.

Can a doctor's discretion be challenged by a licensing board?

Abuses in the prescription of opioid drugs have been the topic of recent media coverage, such as the apparent overdose of musical artist Prince. This raises the question: Could a doctor find his or her medical license in danger after issuing an opioid prescription that resulted in overdose?

AUTOMATIC LICENSE SUSPENSION FOR NURSES CONVICTED OF A FELONY UNDER THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ACT

In August, 2013, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing drastically changed the interpretation of the statute governing suspension of a nursing license for a violation under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

Could a discretionary surgery endanger a doctor's license?

A medical professional’s license might be challenged when surgical procedures or treatments go awry. For example, if a patient’s injury leads to a lawsuit, that filing might be made in conjunction with a complaint lodged with the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine or the State Board of Nursing. 

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION RECOMMENDS THAT PAIN BE REMOVED AS A 5th VITAL SIGN IN PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL STANDARDS

The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation's largest medical society, recently recommended at its annual meeting that pain be removed as a "5th Vital Sign" in professional medical standards. AMA President, Andrew Gurman, MD, said that physicians played a key role in starting the so-called "opioid epidemic" by over prescribing pain medications, and now must do their part to end it. Pain was first recognized as the 5th Vital Sign in 1996, giving pain equal status with temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the drug overdose death rate from opioids increased by 200 percent between the years 2000 and 2014. I recently spoke to a leading addiction psychiatrist who told me that, in his opinion, the leading cause of opioid addiction can be associated with adding pain as the 5th Vital Sign in the 1990's. As a result, he indicated, opioids began to be over-prescribed. In my experience in working with healthcare professionals, many heroin users started with prescription opioids. This past March, the CDC published new guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. These guidelines provide recommendations for primary care physicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end of life care. The guidelines address when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain, opiate selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use. In a recent blog, I noted that the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy and the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine recently approved new guidelines for distributing and prescribing opioids. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain - United States, 2016, is an article well worth reading and can be viewed at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/guideline.html 

Don't confuse licensure actions with patient quality ratings

A proactive approach toward professionalism might involve transparency and communication with superiors. However, an investigator that approaches a medical professional with questions may warrant a different approach. Indeed, statements made to such individuals might be used as evidence to an unfavorable effect later on.

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