Pennsylvania License Defense Blog

Criminal convictions are likely to be reported

As has been discussed on this blog, our law firm devotes itself to representing members of the medical profession who are facing DUIs or other criminal charges.

The reason doctors and other medical professionals need a vigorous defense is that many different types of criminal convictions, even first offenses, can lead to action against the professional's license to practice. Losing one's license to practice in turn means that a medical professional will no longer be able to earn a living doing what he or she spent years of time, and thousands of dollars, training to do.

Former university doctor arrested for sex crimes

A doctor, who for many years held a prominent position in a major medical university's gynecology department, has been arrested in connection with allegations that he had engaged in unlawful sexual conduct with 16 women in their late teens and twenties.

The alleged incidents happened over a number of years and apparently happened within the context of medical examinations. If convicted on all charges currently pending, the doctor could wind up in prison for 53 years, which will effectively be a life term.

4 ways your social media posts can get you fired

Social media can be a great way to connect with your friends and to meet new people. You can learn about things that interest you. It can make you feel more connected to the world around you, but if you’re a nurse, you need to be careful how you use your social media accounts.

It’s important to remember that social media posts are always public, even if you only share access with a limited number of people. Those people can copy and share your posts, and your posts may live in the public record even after you remove them. As a result, we’ve seen an increasing number of nurses disciplined or fired due to posts they shared, even when those posts seemed relatively harmless.

Fighting against fraud allegations after billing errors

A previous post on this blog talked about how doctors and other medical professionals in Pennsylvania can easily find themselves at the center of a federal fraud investigation. After all, as this post mentioned, authorities can look at careless billing practices or even honest mistakes as evidence of a scheme to game the healthcare system.

Should a doctor learn that she is the target of a fraud or investigation, she should take prompt steps to defend herself. After all, the criminal penalties for these offenses can be severe and include substantial prison time, not to mention hefty fines and restitution orders that can leave a doctor in financial straits.

Billing issues can lead to fraud charges

Many people in the greater Philadelphia area rely on federal healthcare programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, to cover all or part of their needs for medical care. Many if not most other Pennsylvanians get their insurance through private companies who also front the money for medical care in exchange for premiums.

What this means is that, in the vast majority of cases, doctors and other medical professionals are billing public or private health plans in order to get their bills paid.

CHRIA -- Criminal Convictions, Expungments, License Applications

The Pennsylvania's Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9124 controls how public and private entities use Pennsylvania criminal arrest and conviction records. CHRIA controls how potential employers and Pennsylvania's licensing boards may use prior criminal convictions in application and disciplinary matters. CHRIA also governs Pennsylvania's expungement process. CHRIA allows private lawsuits for illegal dissemination of expunged criminal histories. Two recent developments involving CHRIA are noteworthy.

7 lifestyle choices that can help you protect your livelihood

Nursing can be rewarding, but it can also be hard, draining work. Nurses who work overnights or long, 12-hour shifts often struggle to maintain their energy, and they risk real trouble if they start making drowsy mistakes or fall asleep on the job.

Nurses and hospitals have known about the dangers associated with long shifts and overnights for ages. They have been well-documented, and the fatigue that nurses suffer on these shifts can lead to lapses in memory and attention, poor problem-solving, poor judgment and the types of mistakes that may lead to a “letter of concern” from the PHMP.

Crackdown on opioid crisis may reach medical professionals

In some respect, doctors, pharmacists, and certain other medical professionals have the legal authority to do what ordinary Philadelphia residents do not. That is, they may legally prescribe and help dispense federally controlled substances. When people outside the medical industry engage in this behavior, they may face allegations of federal or state drug crimes, which could land them in prison for years if not decades. However, in the wake of the opioid crisis, authorities are paying closer attention to how doctors and others are using, or abusing, their special privileges.

For instance, federal authorities can charge a doctor with a violation of the drug trafficking laws of the United States if they believe the doctor was prescribing controlled substances, like opioids, to patients without a legitimate medical reason for doing so. Oftentimes, prosecutors will accuse doctors of conspiring to provide these drugs to patients knowing full well that the patients intend to collect them and then sell them on the streets. Some doctors and medical professionals in the area, including at least one nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania, have found themselves facing federal charges of late that are similar to the ones described above.

DUI defense for licensed professionals

A DUI arrest can be a big problem for a licensed professional in Pennsylvania. Not only can their arrest threaten certain rights and privileges that they enjoy under the laws of the state, but it can also threaten their capacity to retain their license to do their job. Defending a DUI charge can cost more than money: if it is not successfully done, it can cost a person their career.

Certain criminal offenses and charges must be reported to licensing boards in Pennsylvania and can cause individuals' practicing rights to come under review. A DUI charge may force a person to not only appear in court to challenge their legal charges but also to defend their right to retain their medical license, nursing credentials, or other professional qualifications. Working through the defense of a DUI and the preservation of one's license can take time and legal knowledge that not all licensed professionals possess.

Crimes of moral turpitude threaten professional licenses

Pennsylvania-based medical professionals can face a variety of penalties for their alleged involvement in criminal conduct. As readers of this Philadelphia professional license defense firm's blog know, doctors, nurses, and others who need licenses to work in the medical field can have their professional credentials revoked if they are found to be involved in different criminal ventures. A recent article that identified some Pennsylvania medical professionals who have suffered suspensions and other consequences to their professional licenses notes that some had pleaded guilty to crimes of moral turpitude.

Moral turpitude is a general criminal concept. It can mean engaging in activity that is outside of the standards expected for a particular community. In the context of a licensed profession, engaging in criminal activity may be considered an activity that is far outside of the accepted standard.

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