NYC Dental License Defense Lawyers
A finding of professional misconduct against a dentist can result in the conditional or unconditional suspense of his or her dental license, and even in permanent revocation. Lesser consequences include administrative warning or a maximum fine of $10,000 for each charge. Thus, any investigation or complaint can be potentially a very serious matter. Protect your future by securing experienced legal representation as soon as you find out that you may be subject to professional discipline. Our NYC dental license defense lawyers can help.
One common basis for charges of misconduct is the allegation that the dentist has committed some type of fraud or other dishonest act. This category includes billing fraud, fraudulent practice, falsification of records, and improper fee splitting. Another type of allegation is targeted at the dentist’s alleged failure to properly practice dentistry. This type of accusation includes negligent or incompetent practice; practicing while impaired through alcohol, drugs, or mental illness; exceeding the scope of authorized practice; allowing unauthorized persons to practice dentistry; and sexually or physically abusing a patient. Many of these actions can also be prosecuted criminally.
In addition, a dentist who is convicted of a crime will also be charged with professional misconduct and may lose his or her license. For this reason, it is important for any dentist who is accused of a crime to seek the advice of an attorney who thoroughly understands health care law and the impact of a potential conviction or plea bargain. Settlement proposals should be evaluated by an experienced NYC dental license defense attorney who is able to think through potential repercussions in terms of licensing.
Once an investigation begins, you will be confronted with demands for information and records. Do not provide anything before speaking with your attorney. The wrong statement or documentation can seriously damage your case and even expose you to additional charges. On one hand, you have a duty to cooperate with investigators, so you should never just ignore them and hope they go away. On the other hand, you should not be providing unnecessary information that can sabotage your case. Your dental license defense lawyer will prepare you for any necessary interactions with investigators and also be present in order to protect your rights to the fullest extent.
Dentists should also be aware that audits and investigations that are not directed at professional misconduct can nevertheless eventually result in misconduct charges. For example, overpayment audits by Medicare contractors begin because the contractor has determined overpayment. If the audit reveals that the overpayment occurred as a result of fraud or bad record keeping, a professional misconduct investigation could ensue, as well as potential criminal charges.
Fraud and negligence are major issues that usually become the focus of an investigation. Patients who are not happy with their outcomes or who go on to experience health problems often allege negligence by the dentist. One of the most effective ways to reduce the scope of negligence investigations is to have available clear, accurate, timely and comprehensive documentation for each action taken and the reasons for it. Conversely, failing to enter and maintain proper medical records can constitute an additional instance of misconduct that will entail its own penalties.
The financial dealings of dental offices are subject to many complex regulations dealing with fraud, anti-kickback statutes, and advertising and contracting regulations. Referrals, advertising, hiring, and contracting for goods or services are all activities that will be scrutinized in the event of an investigation where fraud is alleged. To protect yourself from accusations, consult a qualified attorney if in doubt as to whether you may participate in a particular transaction.
If the basis of the complaint is impairment due to alcohol, drugs, or mental illness, the dentist may face some difficult decisions. Based on individual circumstances, your attorney can help you figure out how to get help without sacrificing your professional future.
Typically, most misconduct investigations are started because a complaint was made by a patient, colleague, or employee. In other instances, a different investigating agency that found that a dentist’s action constituted misconduct may report its findings to the OPD. One way to minimize accusations of fraud or professional negligence is to implement procedures to prevent, detect, and correct any deviations from professional standards and applicable laws and regulations. Billing and claims submission is one area where many offices are vulnerable to errors and violations. An effective compliance program will cut down on these instances. You should also put protocols and rules in place to ensure proper and complete documentation of services, prescriptions, and procedures.
Our NYC dental license defense attorneys are available for you at any stage of a misconduct proceeding. We will draft responses, evaluate proposals, and represent you vigorously and effectively throughout the process. We can also offer our assistance in proactively protecting yourself against accusations by drafting and implementing appropriate compliance plans and advising your office as to best practices.