Optometrist License Defense
New York Optometrist License Lawyer
It takes hard work and effort to become a licensed optometrist in New York, and your license is the key to your livelihood. Any accusations, investigations or charges that threaten your license need to be dealt with swiftly, effectively and, for best results, with legal assistance from experienced professionals.
The attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group are those professionals. We have been defending the rights of New York licensed professionals for more than a decade, effectively representing hundreds of individuals facing accusations of professional misconduct.
Our clients practice in a wide scope of healthcare professions, from physicians and nurses to dentists and physical therapists. Licensed optometrists are also in our client lineup, and we can help you successfully move through legal issues that may arise.
Types of Professional Misconduct in New York
When a New York licensed optometrist is accused of professional misconduct, the state has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute. This can hold true even if the misconduct occurred in another state. In New York, the investigation and prosecution of professional misconduct is conducted by the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD).
Actions or behaviors that are considered professional misconduct are outlined by state Education Law in an extensive list. The list contains approximately 40 types of conduct considered unethical or unprofessional, and each type subjects the licensed practitioner to discipline.
Over the years defending healthcare licenses, some of the most common misconduct cases we’ve run across include:
- Negligence or incompetence
- Conviction of a crime in New York or elsewhere
- Errors in documentation
- Breaching boundaries with patients
- Being of unfit moral character
- Practicing beyond the scope of profession
- Permitting unlicensed staff members to practice
- Fraudulent activities or practices
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Releasing confidential information without authorization
Once a misconduct complaint is filed with the Office of Professions, the case is referred to the regional office of the OPD where the optometrist is registered. The main OPD offices in New York City handle all cases of professionals registered throughout the five boroughs. They are:
- 1411 Broadway in Manhattan
- 116 West 32nd Street in Manhattan
- 9 Bond Street in Brooklyn
- 2400 Halsey Street in the Bronx
Long Island cases are handled by the regional OPD office at 250 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge. Additional regional OPD offices are located in Albany, Buffalo, Port Chester, Syracuse and Rochester.
The lawyers at Norman Spencer Law Group have worked with every regional OPD in New York, successfully representing clients during all phases of their case.
Professional Misconduct Case Progression
Professional misconduct cases start when a complaint against the optometrist is filed with the Department of Education, which kicks off an investigation by the OPD. An estimated 10,000 complaints are filed against licensed professionals each year, although some are dismissed due to lack of evidence of other insufficiencies.
Optometrists who are subject to the investigation are notified by letter that they are under investigation, and the letter may demand records or request an interview. While licensed professionals are obliged to turn over records as requested, they are not obligated to an interview with investigators. In fact, we recommend against meeting with investigators unless you’ve first discussed your case with an experienced legal team.
The sooner you can obtain legal help, the better. The outcome of your case largely depends on your actions, or lack thereof, during the earliest stages of the investigation. Also make sure the attorneys you hire are experienced in the specific legal area of professional misconduct cases.
Misconduct Case Outcomes
If the OPD investigation is unable to unearth sufficient evidence of misconduct, the case will be terminated. Licensees aren’t always notified of this termination, making it crucial to follow up on each case. If sufficient evidence of misconduct is found, an investigative report is submitted to the Investigative Committee. The report will be reviewed by a member of the professional board and prosecuting attorney to determine if they want to move forward.
Optometrists at this point have two options. You can move forward to a formal hearing to fight the accusations, or you can accept responsibility of misconduct in exchange for a less severe penalty. The choice is not always clear cut, which is why it’s important to have an experienced OPD lawyer guide you toward the most beneficial decision in your specific case.
Professional misconduct penalties can include license revocation, surrender or suspension. Optometrists may also face censure and reprimand, probation, administrative warnings and fines. Keep in mind that most disciplinary actions are public record, readily accessible to the general public. Disciplinary actions must also be disclosed on employment applications as well as optometry license applications and renewals in other states.
The safest way to move through an OPD investigation is to seek legal counsel as quickly as possible. The legal team here at Norman Spencer Law Group has helped hundreds of professionals achieve favorable outcomes with the least impact on their reputation and careers. Schedule a consultation today.