Pennsylvania License Defense Blog

Pennsylvania doctor’s license revoked after federal conviction

The State Board of Medicine recently announced disciplinary actions against a number of people in the medical profession here in Pennsylvania. The Board regulates not only medical doctors, but also physician assistants, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists and others.

Among those disciplined recently were a doctor in Philadelphia County and a Blair County physician whose medical license was revoked based on “his numerous felony convictions,” the Board noted in a statement.

Another Appeals Court Reverses a Pennsylvania Licensing Board Disciplinary Decision

In April 2018 a Pennsylvania appellate court issued a decision in Abruzzese v BPOA, --- A.3d --- (2018). This case is one of three Spring 2018 cases reversing a Pennsylvania licensing board arbitrary disciplinary decision. I've written about the other two cases,  .

Criminal Conduct and Pennsylvania's Licensing Board Disciplinary Review

I routinely write about the overbearing criminal conduct and disciplinary environment that currently exists for Pennsylvania licensees. On May 10, 2018 Commonwealth Court decided Levengood v. BPOA. This cases involves a car salesperson's license and the excessive discipline this Board handed down. In this case, along with several other recent Commonwealth Court decision, the court rejects as excessive and manafestly unreasonable discipline that goes too far - such as revoking licenses and imposing civil penalties - when the facts do not warrant it.

Nurse Statements to Employer -- Basis for Manslaughter Charges

Headline reads "Nurse to be Criminally Charged with 3rd Degree Manslaughter." This byline characterizes the extreme enforcement environment in which all medical practitioners are currently practicing.

The danger of license inactivation documents

Occasionally, medical professionals receive what’s called a voluntary license inactive document. This is a form sent out by the Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) when the program claims you are suspected of substance addiction.

The document has “voluntary” in its name for a reason. You are not required to sign it. So what is this document and what do you need to know about it?

Act 6 of 2018 -- All Licensees Must Report Criminal or Disciplinary Charges with in 30 Days

Act 6 of 2018 is a new law in 2018. It represents a fundamental shift in Pennsylvania licensees' duty to report criminal charges and disciplinary actions filed against them in any jurisdiction in the entire country. The General Assembly passed the new law in anticipation of medical marijuana. The enforcement environment is getting much stricter in Pennsylvania. Every Pennsylvania professional licensee must report the misdemeanor and felony criminal charges to their respective board within 30 days receipt of criminal charges. It is a disciplinary offense for any licensee to not report within 30 days of receipt of criminal charges.

Act 6 of 2018 specifically authorizes the The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs ("BPOA") to subscribe to JNET. My prior blogs discuss JNET, the criminal reporting database network to which the Nursing Board began subscribing. JNET now levels the reporting responsibility and Boards learning of its licensees' criminal conduct. There was a significant difference between nurses and doctors, pharmacist, realtors, cosmetologists, and funeral directors (and all others) in their criminal charge reporting responsibilities. All licensees are now treated equal. Licensees can not wait to report - thinking at a preliminary hearing charges will be reduced to a summary offense, for which there is a guilty plea. The charging is the reportable event, not the end result.

VRP - Letter of Concern - What It Really Means

Licensees call me asking what is the VRP "Letter of Concern." "Do I have to do all these things the packet asks me to do?" Do I have to answer these questions. This blog is a refresher of two prior blogs I wrote: VRP Letter of Concern and What is VRP Cooperation. Let's go through the first four items the Letter of Concern packet asks of each licensee.

1) Contact Livengrin (or your local) drug and alcohol treatment center for an assessment.

2) Complete the Participation Cooperation Form and Personal Data Sheet;

3) Sign releases;

4) If you successfully complete the VRP evaluation and you do not meet the criteria for a mental and physical valuation, the VRP will close its file but will still notify the Department of State legal divisions of the findings.

Criminal Conviction - Professional License Suspensions and Mitigation Evidence

The Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa. C.S. § 9124(c)(1) (CHIRA), requires Pennsylvania's licensing boards consider criminal convictions disclosed on license applications or which take place after licensure as a reason to discipline active licensees. Different licensing boards apply CHIRA’s rules differently.

On February 28, 2018 Commonwealth Court decided Bentley vs. BPOA, --- A.3d ---- (2018).  This cases expounds on how a licensing board abuses its discretion when it disciplines a licensee for criminal conduct not related to their license. In 2013 and 2014, Cosmetologist Bentley was convicted in two separate cases of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, forgery, aggravated assault, escape, and attempting to allude the police. Wow.

PNAP Case workers -- Do Not Trust Them

Medical professionals or their employers call PNAP case workers and intake administrators for numerous reasons.  The initial complaint call against the licensee  generates the “Letter of Concern.”  It is the response call from the licensee to PHMP/PNAP/SARPH/PAP that starts the proverbial ball rolling.  Here are several important facts each licensee should be aware of before calling PNAP.
PNAP/PAP/PHMP caseworkers are told to not tell inquiring licensees the truth. PNAP and PHMP caseworkers are instructed to emphasize the worst possible legal and licensing consequences if there is no cooperation.  PNAP/PHMP caseworkers are instructed to intimidate and scare licensees into the program. PNAP caseworkers are instructed to tell licensees about the costs of the Mental and Physical Evaluation and court fees.  PNAP caseworkers are instructed provide the minimum legal information possible.
PNAP caseworkers do not know the law.  PNAP/PHMP/PAP case workers are not trained in the several health care boards' regulations.  PHMP/PNAP/PAP case workers do not understand the legal implications of the wrong advice they give. PNAP case workers do not know how to tell the truth.  Some PNAP caseworkers may be in the program too.
 

For every medical professional, agreeing to the initial PNAP assessment is the worst thing you can do. Current conflicts between the DSM-IV and DSM V alcohol use disorder - mild, moderate, or severe - are creating significant issues in determinations of impairment for PNAP assessors.  I have learned that the PNAP assessors could be  calling the PNAP caseworker and managers, who help the assessor diagnosis an impairment. This is improper.

Notice of A Disciplinary Proceeding

Pennsylvania's licensing boards officially communicate with their licensees only through regular mail or certified mail, return receipt requested.  Licensing boards are not legally authorized to communicate via email any disciplinary correspondence.   This is why every disciplinary board requires licensees, not the board staff,  to update their own mailing address.

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