In Pennsylvania, a simple workplace complaint can often lead to a license disciplinary action for a physician. This is especially true if the incident involved drugs in some way. However, it is less likely that you will face serious discipline if you avoid incriminating yourself and bring in a licensing attorney right away.
If you do not cooperate with an initial drug testing request, there is no immediate chemical proof of a drug violation. That means that any job action taken against you, including termination, would be based on workplace policy, not direct evidence of drug use.
This is the time when it is most useful to bring in an attorney. After declining a drug test, you may be facing a probable cause petition from the licensing board, and this could require a Mental and Physical evaluation to determine whether you are impaired or unable to practice safely.
Unfortunately, you won’t find out whether such a petition has been filed until a board committee orders the evaluation. If the committee does order an evaluation, the first step is dealing with the investigator collecting evidence for the prosecution. The second step is to meet with a prosecution expert who is brought in to determine whether a drug or medical impairment exists in your case.
That expert may find no safety or impairment concerns. At that point, your case could be closed with a “no action” letter. How well you prepare and present yourself at the evaluation is essential to increasing your chances of a “no action” result.
Specious drug and alcohol accusations are rampant in Pennsylvania
We are experiencing a heightened reporting environment in Pennsylvania, meaning that many people are reporting their suspicions, not facts. Moreover, while most drug activity is illegal, not all drug activity should result in the loss of your medical license.
You may have experimented with an illegal drug just a couple of times. Or, you might be using marijuana for legitimate medical reasons but have not reported it out of concern for your license. You don’t deserve to be considered an impairment risk.
Of course, you may also be completely innocent of wrongdoing. In any event, panic won’t help. Preparation will.
Preparing for a Mental and Physical evaluation requires more than gathering your medical records and other documentation. You may not do well if you don’t know what to expect. Failing to adequately present your side of the story could leave the prosecution’s side the only one that truly gets heard.
You need to develop an honest, accurate, compelling theory of your case and communicate that theory clearly to the expert doing the evaluation. A lawyer can help you prepare thoroughly to answer questions, present your medical history and counter the allegations brought forth by the prosecution.