Pennsylvania License Defense Blog

Pharmacist licenses suspended for many reasons

The Pennsylvania Department of State regulates licensed professionals and provides reports on the types of discipline that those individuals receive from their specific licensing boards. As in other jurisdictions and states, pharmacists are required to hold professional licenses to practice and must renew their licenses periodically in order to stay current in their jobs. A variety of actions may cause them to have their licenses suspended. As a result, their options to work in their chosen field may be curtailed.

A review of a recent report from the Department of State identifies some of the reasons that pharmacists lose their licenses to suspension. For example, in one situation the licensing board found that a pharmacist allegedly engaged in grossly unprofessional conduct in the performance of his duties. In another, a pharmacist had their license suspended due to a mental illness or defect.

Addiction is a common problem for American nurses

An informational article offered by Psychology Today suggests that around one out of every ten American nurses suffers from an addiction disorder and that their condition may affect their ability to care for their patients. Addiction is a serious medical condition that can require treatment and therapy to overcome. For nurses who are found to have used illegal substances, though, addiction may come with the added cost of losing their medical licenses.

In Pennsylvania and states across the nation, nurses can have their licenses suspended or revoked if they test positive for drugs, are found to have taken drugs from their employers or patients, or have admitted to suffering from addiction. While treating patients without the impairment of drugs is imperative to upholding the safety of medical practicing in the nation, the loss of a nurse's professional license due to their suffering from the medical condition of addiction is severe.

Professional License Defense -- Counsel and the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence

On February 28, 2019 Commonwealth Court issued a decision reversing a Pennsylvania Medical Board order reprimanding a physician. The order reprimanding the physician stems from a medical malpractice case. The patient died and the Medical Board accused the physician of practicing below the standard of care. The physician objected to the public reprimand placed on his license. The Commonwealth Court agreed, striking the discipline.

New prescription monitoring tool could see increase in false tips

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, more than five thousand people died in Pennsylvania in 2017 due to opioid overdoses. In the state's ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic, the state Attorney General's Office rolled out a new program in December to make it easier for medical professionals to report suspicious activity. Prescribers as well as members of the public can now tip off law enforcement if they suspect a patient or doctor is participating in illegal activity.

But, while the ability to pass along tips about suspected prescription fraud will likely make investigations easier, it also has the potential for abuse. 

Can Pennsylvania doctors prescribe marijuana to their patients?

For the last several years, medical marijuana has been in the national news. While some fear that allowing it to be used in the medical field is a slippery slope to allowing its permissible use by everyone, there is no doubt that for some medical patients marijuana is a life-changing drug. Different jurisdictions throughout the nation have different laws regarding how it may be prescribed and who may use it. Readers with questions about the legality of medical marijuana in their communities should seek their own legal support.

However, physicians and other medical professionals sit in a precarious position with regard to this national hot button topic. Although they may believe that medical marijuana is a good treatment for their patients, they may fear what will happen to their licenses if they prescribe it. Throughout the nation, marijuana is still recognized, at least at the federal level, as an illegal substance.

Immediate Tempory Suspension -- Do Not Sign Any Document

Doctors beware. Government prosecutors are fighting the opiate epidemic on many fronts. Now more than ever local police in coordination with DEA and Commonwealth Attorney General drug enforcement investigators are investigating doctors for writing unreasonable amounts of scheduled narcotic prescriptions.

The PHMP, Kevin Knipe, Pharmacy Board, and an Abuse of Discretion

The PHMP, it's caseworkers, and director Kevin Knipe's treatment of licensees is a major topic of my blogs and website. I routinely field inquiries regarding false positive drug tests, chain of custody issues, and other PHMP claimed violations. How do I get out of the PHMP is the most consistent PHMP question.

Should I report a crime if the statute of limitations expired?

Individuals who are subject to professional licensing are often required to self-report the criminal charges that are issued against them. Certain crimes and convictions may be weighed against them and can threaten one's ability to attain and retain his or her license to practice in the medical field. Those who fear that criminal legal matters may derail their medical careers and threaten their medical licenses may wish to consult with attorneys who provide medical licensing and criminal defense in their communities.

An interesting issue arises, however, when individuals consider the topic of statutes of limitation and self-reporting in the medical licensing field. A statute of limitations is a law that indicates how long a party has to bring a case against someone who they believe has committed a crime or caused damages in the civil realm of the law. The question that may come up with regard to licensing is therefore whether an alleged crime must be reported if the statute of limitations that applies to it has run.

Finishing the PHMP Term -- Returning to an Unrestricted Health Care Practice

How do you get out of Pennsylvania's Professional Health Monitoring Program ("PHMP"). The PHMP administers both the Voluntary Recovery Program "VRP" and the Disciplinary Monitoring Program ("DMU"). As a licensed professional voluntarily enrolled in the PHMP - VRP - or forced into the DMU, you agreed to PHMP terms to keep working. You have been compliant for over three years. Now you think the program time is up!

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