I have numerous clients who have had to surrender their license due to drug use. This is really unfortunate because it takes a long time to resolve and you’re out of business for a long time before you can get your license back. In some of these cases, the doctor was unable to really acquit himself well at an interview with OPMC and they just said, “Look, you really aren’t talking straight,” and he wasn’t. You have to sign a surrender document while they have you evaluated to see if you are fit to practice. This normally requires the doctor to go to a rehab facility for up to 60 to 90 days and then get into rehab with the Committee on Physician’s Health. This requires random urine studies done four or five times a month for several years.
The real difficulty with it is the doctor cannot earn any money over this period of time because there’s simply no job the doctor can find to help with the income situation during the time he’s in rehab. I tell these people to try to get some of the treatment paid for through their health insurance program. Then take a look at their disability policies to try to get paid because not being able to work due to substance abuse is, in many instances, a disability and the doctor can therefore pick up money monthly from his disability carrier. That really helps a lot.
The real issue here is to try to figure this out, that you are a drug addict, beforehand and get yourself into treatment. Because drug addicts are drug addicts, they often don’t come to that conclusion and it is the state that forces them to go out of business and forces them to go into rehab. That then takes this two or three year period of trying to crawl your way back into a situation where the state can trust you to see patients. Usually you have to say you are going to say with CPH and really stay in rehabilitation for the balance of your professional life. It’s not a really good outcome, but it’s a better outcome than not having any license at all. You need some real help in order to move that along and to take the right steps in order to accelerate, as much as possible, your ability to get your license back.
Walker Medical Law serves the greater New York area with quality legal services representing medical professionals facing legal and license issues. If you need our legal services, contact our New York office for a consultation.