In the past month, I have spoken to four nurses fired from their job for diverting narcotics.
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.
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.
The way health care services are delivered is constantly changing as technology opens up new avenues for improving access and quality. One of the changes which has occurred in recent years is telemedicine, or health care services offered at a distance. States have different ways of regulating telemedicine services, with some opening the doors to the model and others taking a more limiting stance.
There is a public file of physicians’ license records, disciplinary actions and malpractice payments. Called the National Practitioner Data Bank, the file is a federal repository whose records are updated by the institutions that manage doctors, including hospitals and HMOs. In fact, federal law requires reports to be filed with the Data Bank whenever a licensed doctor is facing certain disciplinary or adverse actions.
Approximately two (2) years ago, the Healthcare Boards entered into a contract with a company called the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET), whereby JNET will notify the Healthcare Boards of the arrests of any healthcare professionals.
From a consumer’s perspective, licensing boards might provide some level of confidence in the skills of a professional service provider. For example, doctors and lawyers must be licensed in order to practice, and licensing boards have the authority to suspend or revoke professional licenses for misconduct, ethical or other professional violations. In those instances, licensing serves an important public safety function.
Thanks to easy accessibility to online reviews via the Internet and smartphone apps, the way that consumers shop for products and services is changing. In fact, patients can even utilize sites such as Yelp to find reviews on a prospective doctor. Typically, such websites also provide the service provider or merchant who was reviewed an opportunity to respond to unfavorable comments.
The recent death of pop musician Prince has brought national media attention to the issue of addictive pain medication, such as opioids. That attention may also impact doctors and the state medical boards to which they answer.
Although the criminal penalties for a first-time drunk driving offender may be as minor as a misdemeanor, the same cannot always be said for someone who must safeguard his or her professional license. In fact, that risk may be present even for recent graduates who are applying for a professional license for the first time.