Physician Misconduct Attorneys
Physicians can get accused of a wide variety of misconduct, from sexual assault to healthcare fraud to medical malpractice. When they do, though, they can face consequences that are above and beyond what other defendants face. These repercussions mean that physicians who have been accused of wrongdoing need to take extra precautions in the course of their defense. If they are not careful, they can take a line of defense that needlessly imperils their professional future.
Regardless of what type of misconduct you are being accused of committing, you need a defense lawyer and legal representative who has the experience necessary to guide you to the outcome that is acceptable to you and that will not unduly interfere with your professional goals.
The physician misconduct lawyers at the national healthcare defense law firm Oberheiden P.C. have assisted numerous physicians in the past who have been accused of one form of misconduct or another. They understand what the risks are, what is at stake, and how you can best avoid the worst outcomes.
Healthcare Professionals That We Represent
First off, there are many different kinds of healthcare professionals who can face these allegations of misconduct – not just physicians. A few types of healthcare professionals who have to take extra precautions against allegations of wrongdoing include:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Healthcare administrative staff
- Medical billers or medical coders
Some of the following forms of misconduct are far more likely to be lodged against some of these professionals rather than others. Additionally, some of these professions are held to a higher standard of behavior than others. Those that are held to a higher standard are more likely to suffer for falling short of those expectations. For example, a surgeon who gets charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is more likely to face professional consequences than a medical coder because surgeons generally have to comply with ethical rules and codes of behavior that forbid criminal activity.
Nevertheless, it is important to know that issues related to physician misconduct are not confined to physicians – other healthcare professionals can suffer them, as well.
The Many Forms of Physician Misconduct
Physician misconduct can come in a wide variety of forms. However, they can generally be broken down into four broad types:
- Medical malpractice
- Sexual assault
- Healthcare fraud
- Other forms of misconduct
The last of these is a catch-all category for non-criminal activities or actions outside and independent of the workplace that could run afoul of an applicable code of behavior.
Medical malpractice is an act or a failure to act that falls short of accepted medical standards and causes an injury to the patient. Medical malpractice is something that can happen to any healthcare professional or practitioner, even the most careful. Everyone acts negligently at some point in their life, and doctors and physicians are no exception.
Unfortunately, when physicians act negligently and commit medical malpractice, the consequences are dire. They are frequently fatal.
The consequences of committing medical malpractice often depends on how wrongful it was. Doctors that were simply negligent – they missed a symptom or did not clearly write a prescription – can get sued and their malpractice insurance provider can be made to pay the costs from the incident. In these cases, the doctor may face higher malpractice insurance premium costs, some negative publicity, and find themselves under more scrutiny than normal.
However, physicians who commit malpractice in ways that are more egregious are more likely to face more severe repercussions, up to and including losing their job, getting sanctioned by the medical board, or even criminal charges.
Physicians have intimate access to their patient’s bodies. Unfortunately, some physicians take advantage of this access and commit sexual assault. To make matters worse, some physicians are put in positions where their profession requires them to touch and examine their patients in ways that could be misconstrued as sexual assault.
In either case, the allegations alone can severely harm a physician’s career and reputation. If you have your own office or clinic, the accusation can make patients think twice before coming to you for care. If you work at a hospital or some other healthcare provider, your employer may take action against you, up to and including termination, out of fear of a perception of doing too little to protect patients.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals, including those who never actually interact with patients, can also be accused of committing healthcare fraud. There are a wide variety of ways for healthcare professionals, administrators, and physicians to commit fraud, including:
- Double billing for services
- Unbundling packages of services in order to bill them each separately
These, as well as numerous other, courses of conduct can lead to overcharging for healthcare services provided.
When the party paying for the inflated costs is a private insurer, it can lead to an audit. If the fraud is discovered, the physician and his or her employer can be made to pay the overcharges back with interest and sometimes with penalties and can be excluded from the insurance provider’s coverage.
When the payor is a government-funded program, like Medicare or Medicaid or Tricare, it will be a law enforcement agency conducting the audit. Because the fraudulent billing will be paid by taxpayers, the False Claims Act will cover the incident and the healthcare provider can be on the hook for treble damages, or three times the overcharges.
Violations of Code of Conduct
Physicians, however, are not solely regulated by criminal laws and the threat of civil lawsuits. They also have to comply with ethical standards of behavior and a code of conduct. Many physicians have to comply with more than one – the code of conduct at their workplace and the standards of behavior set out by their state’s medical board.
This code of conduct is rarely limited to the hospital or the physician’s workplace; it often includes rules for how physicians act in their own free time.
Misconduct away from the workplace, then, can run afoul of the applicable code of conduct and lead to workplace repercussions. Many physicians do not foresee this possibility and are surprised to hear that they are being reprimanded or even terminated because of something that has little to do with their work.
Just a few examples of these violations that can lead to professional sanctions are:
- Criminal charges for conduct away from the workplace, like drunk driving, drug possession, or domestic violence
- Substance abuse
- Allegations of child abuse
- Gambling problems
Penalties and Collateral Consequences of a Finding of Misconduct
While physicians are susceptible to a wider variety of allegations of misconduct, they are also vulnerable to a multitude of different sanctions.
Like other people, physicians can face jail time for criminal convictions and costly civil judgments for lawsuits filed against them for injuries caused by their negligence.
However, physicians are more likely to face penalties for their conduct that are independent of the court system. These are known as collateral consequences. For physicians, the most important of these collateral consequences are professional sanctions. These can take the form of:
- A suspension
- Termination from your job
- Difficulties in getting hired somewhere else because of your record of misconduct
- A medical board hearing
- Revocation of your medical license
Frequently Asked Questions About Physician Misconduct and Oberheiden P.C.
What States Does Oberheiden P.C. Operate In?
Oberheiden P.C. is a national law firm. This means that we provide strong legal defense to physicians who have been accused of misconduct across the country. While our main law offices are in Dallas and Houston, we have satellite offices in most major cities and local counsel in nearly every locale.
Why Should I Hire Oberheiden P.C. to Defend Me?
Because our team of senior attorneys have are highly experienced in defending healthcare providers and professionals of all sorts against serious allegations of fraud and misconduct. Over that time, we have successfully defended numerous physicians or have mitigated the damage from their case to something that they could live with.
Why Don’t the Lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. Call Themselves the Best Physician Misconduct Attorneys?
Because we prefer to let the experience of our lawyers, our track record of successes, and the testimonials and review from our clients do the talking for us.
The Experienced Physician Misconduct Attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. Know How to Protect Physicians
Given the wider range of conduct that can lead to legal and professional problems for physicians and the serious sanctions that they can face, it is essential for physicians who have been accused of misconduct to take their defense seriously. The physician misconduct lawyers at the national law firm Oberheiden P.C. can help. With their defense, physicians can invoke their rights and protect their future from a serious blemish on their record. Contact us online or call our law office at (888) 680-1745.