Addiction Crisis Among Medical Professionals Leads to Licensing Discipline

Stress, anguish, pain, dread, and being overwhelmed may describe how people sometimes feel when working in the medical profession. Of course, those feelings are not limited to the medical profession and are part of life from time to time. However, medical professionals must endure experiences that are unique to their, and few people know what it is like to bear the awesome responsibility for saving another person’s life or nursing them back to health. Medical professionals, and physicians, in particular, will endure adverse patient outcomes during the span of one’s career. When compounding adverse results with the strain of running a medical practice, worrying about billing, insurance issues, and a host of other issue attendant with the practice of medicine along with all of life’s unexpected twists and turns, medical professionals can turn to unproductive methods of handling the resulting stress, anxiety, and depression.

Medical professionals, just like the rest of us, experience fatigue and exhaustion, but the demands of their jobs are unrelenting. Physicians and nurses can turn to substances stronger than caffeine to help keep them awake and alert. Patient care cannot yield to the physician’s sleep schedule or whether the doctor herself is a little under the weather. A doctor’s or nurse’s duty of care owed to his or her patients cannot acquiesce to the way a caregiver feels on a given day.

If you are a medical professional suffering from the effects of drug or alcohol misuse, you could face professional discipline, which can jeopardize your career, your family life, and your future. The stress and anxiety could turn you deeper into dependence on addictive substances. You need an advocate, someone who is going help you get through this difficult time. Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger can you help keep your license and protect you and your family if you are facing professional discipline due to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. When you have Attorney Sanger by your side, you know you have an attorney who has devoted her practice to defending the rights of professional licensees, including physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who mightily struggle with addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Why Do Medical Professionals Become Addicted?

Paradoxically, medical professionals become addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol with great regularity despite knowing that substance misuse is damaging to their health. Notwithstanding the health risks, medical personal turn to prescription drugs because of the ease of access to medication, especially in hospitals. Fortunately, medical professionals have the education and training to recognize when they need help. Addicted health care providers are often amenable to treatment once they acknowledge that they have a problem. Hopefully, with the right guidance, treatment, and commitment to sobriety, the health care professional can free herself or himself from the potent grasp of addiction.

Seeking Treatment before Facing Disciplinary Hearings Can Minimize Adverse Outcomes

Obtaining treatment for addiction and committing to sobriety before facing professional discipline could help ease the severity of professional punishment. Taking responsibility and decisive action demonstrates to Boards of Medicine and Registration that the medical professional comprehends the seriousness of the problem and evinces the appropriate amount of concern for healing themselves while showing that the medical professional can safely resume treating patients. Every case is different, naturally, however, taking the first steps to sobriety necessarily assists the medical professional personally and professionally.

Urgent help for you when you need it

Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger is available to help you get your career back on track. Your professional is too valuable to allow the clutch of substance abuse to ruin your career and your personal life. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to learn more about your legal options if you are under investigation for or are facing discipline for substance abuse as a medical professional.

Need a Counselor? There’s an App for that

Reaping the benefits of talk therapy is now easier than ever before. All a prospective patient has to do is download a mobile application, or app for short, pay a fee and gain access to thousands of therapists across the globe. Health insurance may also help defray or even pay the bulk of the therapist’s fees subject to the transmittal of a small co-pay.

A relationship between an online therapist and a client comes with similar ethical obligations as a traditional face-to-face relationship might. However, the uniqueness of the online client-therapist interaction creates additional problems to which the therapist must give significant consideration and care. Failing to navigate these relatively unchartered waters carefully may result in facing disciplinary hearings for ethical violations. In short, online counseling presents a way for the therapist to reach clients who might otherwise not have the chance to engage in much-needed therapy; however, the latest innovation in counseling could trap the unwary in a difficult ethical dilemma.

Kansas and Missouri professional disciplinary defense attorney Danielle Sanger is dedicated to protecting you, your family, and your way of life from the clutches of licensing discipline. Licensing disciplinary actions are dissimilar to most legal controversies in that the decision to render disciplinary action is left to the discretion of a panel of board members or an administrative law judge. The laws and regulations governing the administrative law rules in Kansas and Missouri are equally complicated and confusing, even for highly educated and sophisticated people like therapists. Therefore, hiring an attorney who understands the administrative law procedure is insufficient. To successfully defend your professional license, you need an attorney who has a practice devoted to defending people’s professional licenses like Attorney Danielle Sanger.

In-person talk therapy sessions can strip the client to her or his core and expose the emotional and psychological stressors hampering the client’s wellbeing. Anonymity is not an option, and the client cannot hide from the probing questions a therapist asks to bring emotional baggage to the fore and help the client heal. By contrast, online therapy is not real in the sense that it is not face-to-face in the same room but through the medium of the internet. Online therapy distorts the picture that allows the patient to hide behind a veneer and gives the therapist a sense of distance which could minimize the significance of the client-therapist relationship.

Notwithstanding the artificial feel or appearance online therapy sessions might present, the legal implications of offering online therapy are very real. To protect themselves from allegations of unethical behavior, overreaching, and misconduct, counselors must use a carefully and thoroughly crafted informed consent document that thoroughly describes the nature of the relationship as well as the risks associated with online counseling and the potential cost of the sessions. Toward that end, therapists should explain to their clients:

  • the nature of the therapy services to be provided,
  • the potential benefits and risks associated with the particular treatment,
  • defining how treatment goals are reached,
  • cost of therapy, including fees the therapists receive, and
  • how to discuss or dispute the prices or quality of the services rendered.

Online therapy creates an artificial sense of bonding. Despite the physical distance, therapists must disclose to their online patients under what circumstances a therapist has to warn others about potential self-inflicted harm or the possibility of harming others.

Therapists must be greatly concerned with patient confidentiality and privacy. All therapists must protect their clients’ confidences at all costs. The duty to safeguard client confidences extends to online therapy as well. Therapists must be certain that their technology is up-to-date and protects their clients’ information from hackers and other threats that can undermine the sanctity of the therapist-client privilege.

Learn to Grow Your Business Online Ethically

Online therapy sessions present a wonderful new method of marketing a business while reaching out to people who need help. If you are a therapist who questions the ethical considerations of online therapy sessions or is facing professional discipline because of an allegation of unethical or unprofessional behavior during an online therapy session, call Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney today at 785-979-4353 today.

Physicians Must Fight to Keep Disciplinary Actions Private

Keeping disciplinary actions from public view can help maintain a physician’s practice even if the doctor is on probation. According to Consumer Reports, 66% of subjects polled across the United States, favor a policy in which a physician on probation for any rules infraction may not treat any patients until the doctor successfully completes probation.  Additionally, 82% of people surveyed believe that state licensing boards should enact rules obligating doctors who are on probation to notify their patients that the treating physician is on probation, for how long, and for what infraction or infractions the licensing authority disciplined the medical practitioner. Given the overwhelming public sentiment on the issue, physicians facing disciplinary action must fight to maintain as much privacy as permitted by law so they can continue to practice medicine while serving a probationary term.

Missouri and Kansas professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger understands the difficulties physicians encounter when facing professional discipline. A doctor who is under investigation for a violation of the professional standards must carefully weigh his or her options when contesting or negotiating a resolution so that he or she can obtain the best outcome possible. Attorney Sanger dedicated her law practice to representing professionals such as doctors, nurses, health care professionals, and other professional licensees. Consequently, Attorney Sanger possesses a thorough understanding of the nuances of administrative law in both Kansas and Missouri. A physician who now faces a disciplinary hearing can rely on her expertise to develop a winning legal strategy that protects your medical license so you can continue to earn a living for you and your family while you rectify the alleged problems that bring you before the medical licensing board.

Physicians are human and like the lot of humanity, run into trouble from time to time. Trouble might take the form of a complaint from an employee or patient regarding something very serious like sexual harassment, substance abuse, incorrectly prescribing medication, or criminal charges. The allegations could also be minor in nature as well. Notwithstanding the severity of the claims, a physician should take a complaint very seriously. Although a physician has many valuable rights in Kansas or Missouri disciplinary hearings before their respective boards of medicine, trying to negotiate without counsel or litigating the complaint without counsel could lead to enormous collateral consequences.

Kansas and Missouri medical licensing boards understand the balance that they must strike between public safety and opportunity for the physician to rehabilitate himself or herself. Public reprimands, probationary periods, suspension, and revocation of the doctor’s license to practice are harsh sanctions and are assessed by the licensing boards based on numerous factors including severity of the infraction, the length of time in practice, the severity of the injury if any, the outcome of a criminal prosecution, and the egregiousness of the doctor’s behavior.

When considering the continuum of possible sanctions, public reprimand and probation do not appear to be as harsh on their face as suspension and revocation; however, these sanctions can have unintended collateral consequences. Practicing with either lets the public know that you did something wrong. The specter of wrongdoing can linger over a physician’s practice and cause financial hardship, even if the sanction is a public reprimand. Practicing medicine during a term of probation could have worse effects. The physician could lose his or her partnership in a medical practice depending on the terms of probation or have to limit the time she or he spends practicing, thereby losing patients. Alternatively, having an experienced advocate fight for a private reprimand, convincing the board to dismiss the disciplinary action, or win exoneration after a hearing can help you stay in practice, keep your business afloat, and provide for your family.

Consult Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger as Soon as Possible

Attorney Danielle Sanger is available to consult with you about your disciplinary action proceeding. Call the Law Offices of Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4352 to schedule your initial consultation.  Our Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney looks forward to making a difference for you.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Discusses Physician Disruptive Behavior

There was a time when physicians were kings of the castle; almost all male, they dominated everyone else working in the health care system and could act any way they wished, especially towards female staff working with them. Those times are long gone. The entire health care system has changed dramatically, with more significant gender equity among physicians, nursing staff, and other medical professionals and a much lower tolerance for inappropriate and disruptive behavior. There are also far more independent contractors working in the medical environment who are not beholden to physicians.

“Physician disruptive behavior” is a term that license defense attorneys hear more and more lately. In a nutshell, it is behavior that is so inappropriate and extreme that it causes a performance breakdown in a medical team. I will get into the specifics of physician disruptive behavior below but want to underscore that it can lead to licensure issues, including suspensions and revocations in extreme cases.

If you are a physician in Kansas or Missouri facing an allegation of misconduct or an investigation, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation. Your career, reputation, and livelihood are at risk, and the challenge facing you is one you cannot work your way through alone.

What is Physician Disruptive Behavior?

The medical environment, whether it is an operating room or a busy specialist’s office, is usually stressful. As a result, it is not unusual for people working in that environment to occasionally “blow up” under the stress of the moment, which is uncomfortable for all involved. In the best situations, this sort of event is followed by a sincere apology, and everyone moves on like the professionals they are.  That sort of occasional, situational disruption is not “physician disruptive behavior.”

Physician disruptive behavior is characterized by a pattern of extreme conduct that prevents other members from effectively performing their roles in the medical environment. This sort of behavior is not limited to stressful situations, and often is how the physician treats those working around him or her.  Examples of physician disruptive behavior include intimidating behavior, abusive language, using anger to communicate, and using threats of violence to compel action.  Another hallmark of this sort of behavior is that it is not limited to subordinates, but is often also directed at peers and patients.

Physician disruptive behavior is a problem because of the ill effects it has on the medical staff.  If a physician so terrorizes staff that they do not bring questions regarding patients’ care to his or her attention or avoid questioning the physician’s mistakes, then patient care is suffering. When a state medical board becomes aware that a physician’s behavior is resulting in a diminishment in patient care, licensure issues may ensue. While allegations can be triggered for several reasons—some legitimate, some not—they all must be taken seriously and addressed immediately.

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now

You have worked too hard to attain your medical license to lose it because of allegations regarding physician disruptive behavior.  Contacting an experienced licensing attorney to help you through the misconduct hearing process, explain the implications of any claims against you, and can mean the difference between getting back to helping your patients and losing your career forever. As you know, medicine is a rewarding career—don’t let allegations of misconduct end it prematurely.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend you. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with licensing issues.

Allegations of Misconduct have Wide-Ranging Consequences

Physicians and other medical licensees who are the subject of misconduct complaints at a hospital may face licensing discipline based on the outcome of the complaint. Physicians must appreciate that their way of life depends on their commitment to acting appropriately in all circumstances, including when practicing medicine under the privileges at a hospital. Even one small and seemingly insignificant misstep could result in disciplinary action from the medical facility and at the licensing board. Therefore, physicians who are under suspicion or investigation for a violation of hospital by-laws must retain a professional licensing attorney.

Danielle Sanger, Esq. is a professional licensing attorney who practices administrative law in Kansas and Missouri. Attorney Sanger is well-versed in the nuances of the laws invoked during disciplinary hearings in both states through her vast experience representing physicians, nurses, and other medical licensees, in addition to representing licensees from a variety of other professions. Attorney Sanger does not dabble in this area of the law. Instead, she dedicated her entire law practice to representing professional licensees facing professional discipline.

Based on her family members’ travails with regulatory boards and boards of professional registration, Attorney Sanger understands all-too-well how people can get lost in the administrative process, which deprives them of their capacity to earn a living, care for their family, or have a career in the profession they selected. Consequently, Attorney Sanger embarked upon her career as a private attorney to help people fight through the administrative law process in Kansas and Missouri.

Hospitals have a legal obligation to prevent immediate harm to their employees. Typically, physicians are not employees of a hospital, with the notable exception of hospitalists.  Concomitant with the duty prevent immediate injury is the hospital’s duty to investigate claims of wrongdoing, such as sexual harassment for example, and then work diligently to prevent future harm to its employees upon learning of the alleged transgression.

The remedial actions taken by the hospital must be limited to remediate the harm. However, corrective actions taken by hospitals can conflict with a physician’s due process rights and rights conveyed under the hospital’s by-laws. A physician suspected of misconduct has a constitutional due process right in his or her medical license as well as the privilege to practice in a hospital before the doctor’s rights, and privileges can be lawfully terminated. Additionally, the federal civil rights act grants physicians a statutory right to relief in court if a hospital interferes with the physician’s rights provided that the hospital is a public medical facility. Also, the U.S. Constitution guarantees that physicians have rights to due process before a public hospital revokes the doctor’s privileges.

The due process rights enjoyed by physicians as license holders guarantees the physician the opportunity for a fair hearing on the allegations, a right to be heard, a right to confront the physician’s accusers and cross-examine them along with the right to present evidence in support of the physician’s case. The due process rights of a physician are not as extensive as a criminal defendant’s rights to a trial by jury, but there is substantial congruency between the two.

Relatedly, there is a conflict between the hospital’s duty to prevent harm when the hospital employs a summary suspension process and the doctor’s rights to be heard in opposition. A summary suspension could lead to the impression that the doctor is not fully competent as a medical professional and irreparably damage the doctor’s right to earn a living. Additionally, a suspension or revocation of hospital privileges will result in an investigation conducted by the Board of Registration of Medicine and which could trigger attempts at disciplinary action.

Contact Attorney Sanger Immediately if You are Threatened with Discipline

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation if you are a physician threatened with losing your privileges to practice in a hospital due to allegations of misconduct to learn about your rights and how Attorney Sanger will fight to protect them.