When a physician has had his/her New York State Medical License revoked, there is a procedure to attempt to have the license reinstated. The reasons for revocation can be many. Some of the issues that constitute the loss of one’s medical license include drug/alcohol issues, incompetence, sexual misconduct, fraud, conviction of a felony, and more. If you need your license reinstated, you should understand the procedures and legal elements that come to play during the restoration procedure.
The Application for Restoration of a Professional License
There are basically three overriding issues that you have to address in this proceeding:
You have to address these three areas from the very beginning when preparing your Application for Restoration of a Professional License. This multifaceted document requires a great deal of detailed information, including Part G: Professional Rehabilitation Activities. This is an area where the form requires you to list the rehabilitation activities engaged in to address the event which caused you to lose your license. It is important to consider your language carefully because your words can be used against you during your Restoration Hearing. Do not blame others for your action in this section. It is important for you to take responsibility for your actions. In addition, you should list drug abuse programs that you have attended with documentation to back up your success. Also, I would suggest that you attend such program rather close in time to the Restoration Hearing so the panel can see that you are up to date with your efforts to rectify the underlying problem.
If your problem was a criminal conviction involving billing fraud, do not suggest that this was the result of an “error in judgment”, “mistake” or other things of which you were “not aware”. You have to own up to your own deficiencies. Attempting to deflect guilt will not go down well at the Restoration Hearing. In the criminal conviction situation, it would be good to show that you have attended and completed counseling sessions regarding the fundamental problem. It is important that the panel at your Hearing see that you have taken steps and measures to rehabilitate, avoiding future problems.
Another area that you must address is your Continued Medical Education (“CME”). You must be able to show that you have kept abreast of medical innovations. You must provide documentary proof that you have attended CME courses and have attended these courses right up until the time of your Hearing.
Community service is another important step towards restoration. The panel will look to see if you are serious about your remorse and your desire to be a meaningful member of society. They will want to see volunteer work at any organization that does work for the community. To demonstrate evidence of this community service work, be sure you have documentation on the letterhead of the entity, certifying that you have done the work. Just testifying to this is not enough.
The Hearing itself is much like an abbreviated trial. There is a court reporter who takes down all of the testimony and a three-member panel has an attorney to assist with any legal issues. The department has a prosecutor to handle the proceedings. The burden of proof is on you, the Petitioner. That means your lawyer gives an opening statement first before the other side opens. Witnesses will be called, cross-examined and so forth. The panel members have the opportunity to ask their own questions. Evidence consists of any documents you would like to offer along with the testimony of all of the witnesses.
At your Hearing, you can bring witnesses to testify on your behalf. These can be professionals who can attest to your medical competence and character witnesses. These character witnesses should be able to testify as to how your character has changed for the better since you lost your license. Obviously, this has to be a person who knew you before and continued to be an acquaintance of yours after you lost your license. These character witnesses have to be instructed on how they should testify before they go to the Hearing because of the uncertainty brought on by cross-examination. These witnesses have to be truthful and must show that they are in a position to give competent and intelligent testimony on your behalf.
There are two questions which are fundamental to this reinstatement process which you should be prepared to answer in full.
1) Why should you be reinstated?
The answer may seem obvious but it is not. Clearly, you cannot say I just want to make more money. Instead, you have to talk about what it means to be a physician and why you have corrected the problems of your past, allowing you to be a valuable member of the medical community.
2) What will you do if you are reinstated?
Again, this is a question that might seem easy to answer but it is not. If you are a convicted felon you simply cannot say that you are going to go into private practice or back on the staff of the local hospital. You have to really think this out and have a coherent answer to this question. Perhaps another physician will testify that he/she is willing to take you into his/her medical office or you can prove that you have a job offer from sort of institution should your license be restored.
After the Hearing
After the hearing is over, the Board will make a recommendation and that recommendation will be sent to you and your attorney. The Board’s recommendation will also go to the Committee on the Professions and it is there where your Application for Restoration will be formally considered.
If you would like any additional information, please contact our office and speak with an experienced attorney at Walker Medical Law.