Time Frames for the Medical License Restoration Process in NYC

If you have had your medical license revoked by the Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct, (OPMC), you must wait three years before applying to have your license restored. When you do apply, what you are asking for is a Hearing by the Department of Education to determine if you are eligible to have your license restored. But please do not think that your Hearing will be scheduled upon receipt of your application, the process takes longer than most people envisage. I have found that your Hearing might take six months or a year to be scheduled after you have submitted all of your paperwork. The reason this can take so long is that the Department has to arrange for the Hearing by selecting three people to sit as judges at the Hearing to listen to your case. Of course these people all have different schedules and therefore it is difficult to get them all to agree to a particular date. Also, this date must be available for the following necessary individuals: the attorney from the Department, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will rule over the case, your attorney, you, and all of your witnesses. Obviously, this is a scheduling problem of no small proportions and therefore finding a date that works for everyone is not easy.

When you do have your Hearing, which usually lasts for only one day, you might expect that the decision of the Panel would be rendered as quickly as possible. You think this way because this decision, to you, is the most important issue in your life. However, this matter is just another on a very long list of matters for the Panel and the person who is going to write the decision/recommendation, that is, the Administrative Law Judge. These decisions can run over twenty pages in length and each has to be carefully and accurately drafted. While this is the number one decision in the world for you, it is simply one of many for the Judge. To clearly demonstrate the point, please be aware that I recently attended a Hearing in September of 2012 and the decision was not rendered until June of 2013. We waited nine months for this decision/recommendation which was in favor of restoring the physician’s license. You might think that a decision recommending the restoration of a physician’s license would be accelerated through the process, but you would be wrong. All decisions, be they good or bad, come in a certain administrative order and cannot be rushed.

If you are fortunate enough to receive a recommendation in your favor from the Panel, you get yourself ready to return to medical practice that week. But that is not the case. Your matter is then sent to the Committee on the Professions (COP) for evaluation and for the final advancement of the issue to the Board of Regents. The COP will schedule an interview for you but, again, that interview might take anywhere between three to ten months to set up. Remember, your situation is just one of many on a rather large list and you simply have to get in line with everyone else.

Assuming that your case is acted on favorable by the COP, then it is passed on to the Board of Regents where you will finally will have your licensed restored, allowing you to practice medicine again.

The point is, you have to realize that even in the best of circumstances, you will have to wait for a long period of time before you can actually recommence the practice of medicine after your license has been revoked. Once you understand the process you can mentally ready yourself for the time it takes to make your desire become a reality.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer.