This article will discuss several matters that have been dealt with by Walker Medical Law in the recent past. All of these issues should be instructive for professionals with medical provider licenses and will demonstrate how problems arise and how to try to deal with those problems once they are under investigation by the State of New York.
Several matters arose in the context of behavior in a hospital or medical clinic, and these real-life examples can be a good guide to others as to how to act and how not to act in the workplace. One such matter to be discussed here involved a health care professional, male, who struck up a conversation with another professional, female, who was employed at the same facility. At first, there were friendly conversations back and forth and then there were emails and text messages between the two people. The number of emails and texts increased from the male to the female over a short period of time. Then there was a discussion between these two people in the facility parking lot and that discussion was viewed differently by the two individuals. Finally, the male sent a flurry of text messages to the female, and while the messages were not overtly sexual or threatening in nature, the female decided that she was being stalked and harassed and that she was frightened.
So, she made a complaint to the police. This caused the male to be arrested, handcuffed, taken to jail, and charged with two misdemeanors. Those charges were eventually dismissed and the criminal case was over, however, the collateral damage was that the male was fired from his position with the facility and he was reported to New York State, which caused an investigation into his license. The New York investigation resulted in an Interview and Walker Medical Law represented the male at the Interview. Thankfully, this investigation ended with a closure of the case without any adverse findings against the license.
However, this event caused a massive amount of damage to the client in that he had to pay his criminal attorney and Walker Medical Law, and he was fired from his position, which was reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank. That report made it difficult for him to find employment, although, in the end, he did become employed at another facility. Additionally, one can imagine the amount of emotional stress that was caused by being arrested, charged with a crime, being investigated vis-à-vis his license, and being fired from his employment.
So, the moral of this story is that you should be extremely careful about any relationships that you have in the workplace. If the matter goes wrong, or is even simply misinterpreted by the other party, you can end up on a very expensive and unpleasant path that can adversely affect your entire medical career. Our advice is that you should keep your professional life completely separate from your personal life.
A second such matter involved a professional who, with all good intentions, incorrectly took medication from a facility to give to a fellow employee who was ill. This was a very difficult issue because there was actually no defense at all to the act of taking this medication and, accordingly, after an investigation, the professional was fired from the facility. Again, that firing triggered a report to New York State, and an investigation into the client’s license was launched.
Walker Medical Law represented the professional. At first, the State insisted that the professional be disciplined by, in part, being forced to be actually suspended from practice for a period of several months. If this suspension had occurred, the professional would have been fired from his/her position at the facility and it would have been extremely difficult for him/her to find another position.
Accordingly, we addressed the problem from a different point of view. We pointed out that the reason this entire issue happened was to help another employee who was ill. There were no moral issues and no financial gain was involved. We also demonstrated that our client had been employed in the medical field for over 30 years without the slightest hint of any disciplinary problems. Finally, we stated that the fallout from an actual suspension of any time at all would be out of proportion to the conduct at issue and would cause an unfair result and a financial catastrophe to the client. With this combination of points, we were able to fashion an agreement that did not result in any time out of practice at all, ensuring that our client will be able to continue with his/her employment.
The lesson to be learned here is that you should never take medication for any use other than when properly prescribed for a patient, regardless of one’s good intentions. Also, if you do end up in a similar situation, look to minimize the damage to your professional life by using other ancillary issues to help your defense. Your license is extremely valuable, so take care to protect it.
If you have any issues with New York State from the licensure point of view, please contact us and we will do everything we can to obtain the best possible result.