Your license and your career in healthcare are on the line. Many healthcare providers, especially nurses, appear before the Board without an attorney. They go into it trusting it will all work out, not realizing that the Board acts as a tribunal to determine the future of your license. The Board’s interest is protecting the public, not your license. In other words, the Board determines the fate of your career, and your very livelihood is at stake.
What happens if you appear before the Board without an attorney by your side? The sad reality is that there are scenarios in which healthcare providers are incorrectly and unnecessarily disciplined. In the past 30 years we’ve seen healthcare providers brought before the Board—or criminally charged—for reasons large and small. Your license can be disciplined over simple misunderstandings, small mistakes, trivial issues, as well as situations in which you made a bad decision (extenuating circumstances or not).
Healthcare providers are very trusting and do not carefully prepare their responses or testimony. This lack of preparation can get them in trouble. Anything you say can be used against you and it can even be reported to the prosecutor for a criminal matter. Once any charges from the Board are filed, the case becomes public record and available for the whole world to see—and every potential employer to review. Also, if you have an adverse result before the board, you can be reported to the Office the Inspector General and placed on the exclusion list and not be allowed to take Medicare or Medicaid patients. This makes it very difficult to get a job that takes insurance. An experienced attorney knows how to avoid these pitfalls.
If you had a brain tumor, would you treat it yourself? No, you’d go to an experienced doctor who specializes in the treatment of brain tumors. What most healthcare providers don’t understand is that a Board matter is a legal process called administrative law. And there are degrees of trouble. There are criminal matters in which jail time is a possibility and one’s actual freedom is at stake, civil matters like medical malpractice where money damages is owed, and administrative matters where one’s license and ability to practice healthcare may be curtailed in some way. Attorneys know these laws and have the experience to assist you with your matter.
Hiring an attorney to guide you through the process is crucial. Not only do attorneys take care of the complicated legal aspects and develop a strategy, they’ll be there to tell you exactly where to go, what to expect, how to dress, what you most likely will be asked, what documents you need, etc. An attorney can make a scary, unfamiliar, and intimidating process much easier and much less stressful. And just as you wouldn’t want an OB/GYN operating on a brain tumor, the same is true of attorneys. You want an attorney that regularly practices before the Healthcare Licensing Boards.
Hopefully this is the first time that you are appearing before the Board. However attorneys that work in this area of practice have handled hundreds of cases just like yours. They’re experienced and know exactly how to deal with your type of situation. Healthcare providers don’t know the rules of evidence and if the State can’t prove their case, an attorney knows how to have the case dismissed.
Most healthcare providers are concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney, but when it comes to your career, figure out how much you make per year and multiply that by the number of years left in your practice. The cost of hiring an attorney is insignificant compared to the money that you will make for the remainder of your career.
You want an attorney who has represented hundreds of clients with matters similar to yours. Sometimes healthcare providers can be intimidated into taking a settlement which is not really in their best interest. An attorney can best advise you and insulate you from the pressures of the State’s attorney. No outcome can ever be guaranteed, but an attorney can hold your hand, walk you through this difficult process, and help you resolve this matter.
Do you want to learn more about how we can help with your particular situation? Just go to the Tell Us Your Story page and we’ll respond to any questions you may have about working with our legal team to protect your career in healthcare.