Florida Medical License Suspension
The filing of a complaint through Florida’s Department of Health can be seriously damaging to the careers and livelihoods of physicians, doctors and other medical professionals. These complaints can result in discipline that can negatively affect a healthcare provider’s medical license, by tarnishing their reputation and placing restrictions on their ability to practice medicine.
Medical license discipline usually has significantly damaging effects on a physician’s current and future employment in the medical field and therefore any complaints filed should be taken very seriously. It is strongly advised that physicians who have had complaints filed against them reach out to an experienced attorney specializing in healthcare law to ensure that their careers and practices are protected.
Types of License Discipline
In Florida, there are over fifty actions taken by a physician that can result in license discipline. This is covered under Florida Statute section 458.331, which describes each action in detail. These actions cover a wide range of issues such as malpractice, criminal convictions, substance abuse and overprescribing. In addition, it covers violations of laws prohibiting practices such as kickbacks and referring Medicaid or Medicare patients to family members or those with whom the physician has a financial relationship.
While most of these actions are clearly defined, there are some that can be interpreted broadly and as a result be incorrectly applied. Criminal convictions are the most common of these and are often used as justifications for disciplinary actions. This can happen regardless of whether the conviction was related to the physician’s practice of medicine. Unfortunately, something as simple as a misdemeanor can cripple a healthcare professionals career and ability to do their job if the Department of Health is motivated enough to pursue it.
Other actions are more specific, such as medical malpractice. Florida has an unusually large number of malpractice lawsuits, many being frivolous. Complaints often accompany these lawsuits and it is important to present your defense to the Department of Health as early as possible in order to counter allegations and validate your actions. It should be noted that once a malpractice lawsuit has begun, hospital administration is capable of generating a complaint even if there was no complaint generated by the patient themselves.
Certain actions, such as violations of Medicaid and Medicare laws surrounding kickbacks and financial conflicts of interest in referrals, are very clear and definite causes for a complaint. They also carry with them stiff fines and legal penalties outside of the medical licensing process. These are charged as felony offenses and carry with them significant fines and jail time. Just being charged with these crimes can result in a complaint being filed and subsequently the suspension or even revocation of your medical license.
Substance Abuse Complaints
Substance abuse is an unfortunate problem that can be considered cause for a complaint. While the rate of drug and alcohol abuse is about the same for physicians as it is the general population, physicians are held to a higher standard. This is due to the consequences of a medical mistake resulting from substance abuse.
When a physician is subject to an investigation due to a complaint made regarding alleged substance abuse, they are usually referred to the Professionals Resource Network (PRN). While this is a great resource for those who need help overcoming substance abuse, it can be a hindrance to those who do not need it. Despite this, physicians are often forced by hospital administrators and PRN officials to participate in the program in order to continue practicing medicine. The participation in PRN will result in the temporary suspension or restriction of your license, which can tarnish your reputation and future career opportunities.
How a Healthcare Lawyer can Help
Complaints filed against a physician through the Florida Department of Health should always be taken very seriously. Even a seemingly small or minor complaint can result in significant and unnecessary hardship for a medical practitioner. More egregious complaints can even result in a physician’s medical license suspended or even revoked.
Di Pietro Partners specializes in healthcare law and defending physicians against complaints and charges of wrongdoing. If you find yourself facing complaints, the possibility of your medical license being suspended or revoked, or if you are looking to have your license reinstated, please reach out to one of our expert attorneys to get started today.