Kansas and Missouri Medical Licensing Attorney Discusses DEA Role in Curbing Drug Misuse Among Medical Practitioners

The Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, is an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice that investigates drug crimes, as well as endeavors to prevent drug crimes and safeguard the community from the dangers of drug abuse. The DEA’s Diversion Control Division is dedicated to identifying people who are in trouble and assisting drug misusers find the help they need to combat the deadly disease of addiction.

The DEA also performs another important function as overseers of medical professionals licensed to dispense prescription medications.  By virtue of their oversight capacity, the DEA has the jurisdiction to investigate any medical professional for misuse of his or her prescribing authority as well as investigate behavior the DEA called “diversion.” According to the DEA, “diversion” is the unlawful appropriation of narcotics from a medical professional. However, the DEA is not solely interested in pursuing criminal charges. The DEA offers medical practitioners and their colleagues’ advice on how to identify who might be caught in the web of addiction and how colleagues can render aid to doctors, physicians’ assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, in addition to all other medical professionals suffering from addiction.

Danielle Sanger, Esq. is a professional licensing attorney who exclusively practices administrative law in Kansas and Missouri. Attorney Sanger understands the challenges medical professionals face in today’s increasingly stressful workplace. Attorney Sanger knows that the demands of medical professionals’ time have never been greater. Furthermore, Attorney Sanger is well aware of how easy it is to slide down the slippery slope of addiction and wants to help you successfully enter and complete recovery so that you can return to your chosen profession.

Attorney Sanger can identify with professional licensees who run into difficulties with professional discipline based on experiences some of her close family members once endured. Accordingly, Attorney Sanger focuses her law practice strictly on making sure that all of her clients receive due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Identifying a colleague who may need help with a drug addiction can be difficult. Even the most intelligent, well-educated, and highly respected medical professionals can hide their problem for so long. Eventually, behavioral changes, work performance, and personal problems will emerge despite the addict’s best efforts to conceal his or her dark secret.

The DEA compiled an extensive list of behavioral changes that could signal the person is struggling with an addiction. These changes are not exclusive to drug misuse. Notwithstanding, any of these changes signify that the person is in distress because of substance abuse or some other reason. Therefore, action must be taken by fellow medical professionals to protect the safety of the public and the medical practitioner if any or a combination of these following behavioral changes occur:

  • Taking an abnormal number of sick days,
  • Poor attendance,
  • Unexplainable trips out of the work area and into the location where drugs are kept,
  • Poor productivity or a recent and precipitous decline in work performance,
  • Worsening handwriting and charting,
  • Confusion, uncharacteristic memory loss,
  • The abnormal drug “wastage,”
  • Over-prescribing medication,
  • Declining attitude,
  • Inability to maintain interpersonal relationships,
  • Inconsistent moods and mood swings,
  • Declining personal hygiene,
  • Arriving late for work, or

As a medical professional, you have an ethical and moral obligation to confront these issues and informing the individual in charge of your office, or hospital Human Resources department.

Medical Professionals Facing the Threat of Licensing Discipline Must Contact Attorney Sanger Immediately

Call Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation if you are a medical professional who could face professional discipline because of your addiction. Attorney Sanger will educate you about your rights and devise an effective defense strategy to protect you, your profession, your family, and your way of life.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses Due Process Rights in Medical Professional’s DEA Registration

Medical professionals authorized by Kansas, Missouri, or another of state in the Union, to dispense narcotics must further register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA. The DEA’s Diversion Control Division maintains registrant’s records, and according to the authority conferred to it by 21 United States Code (USC) Sections 823 and 824. Medical practitioners cannot prescribe medications unless their DEA registration is active. Therefore, maintaining an active registration with the DEA is vital to conducting a medical practice in Kansas or Missouri. In essence, therefore, the doctor is only as good as the medication he or she can prescribe.

Section 824 grants authority to the Attorney General, or his or her designees, to revoke DEA registrations of medical practitioners according to guidelines set forth in the statute. Furthermore, Article 21 of the Code of Federation Regulations explicate the authority an Attorney General’s designees can assert.

Under the statute, the DEA recognizes a medical practitioner as one who must be licensed under the state law to practice medicine and dispense medications. If the practitioner loses the authority to dispense drugs because of state action, then the medical practitioner’s registration to under the DEA is essentially automatically revoked.

The DEA will investigate to determine if the medical practitioner has current authority conferred by state law. The DEA ruled earlier in 2019 that it has the authority to revoke a doctor’s registration even though the state in which the doctor is admitted to practice revoked his authority to dispense medication by a summary procedure rather than after a full hearing.

The Attorney General reserved authority in itself to revoke a registration under Section 824(d) in an emergency situation. The Attorney General must find that the medical practitioner is an immediate danger to the safety or health of the public. The immediate threat of death, serious bodily harm, or abuse of any controlled substance. A suspension for an immediate danger can be reversed by the Attorney General or a court having jurisdiction over the case.

Under Section 824, the Attorney General has the obligation to give notice to the medical practitioner under suspicion of misconduct that a hearing will be held for the medical practitioner to show good cause why his or her registration should not be revoked or suspended.  The physician has the burden to present evidence to rebut the presumption that the DEA registration must be revoked.

The government must give actual notice to the doctor facing discipline by the DEA. Section 824 requires the Attorney General to include in the documents served upon the medical practitioner a statement of facts substantiating the Attorney General’s position that denial, revocation, or suspicion of the DEA registration is appropriate, along with a statement of applicable laws and regulations governing the hearing. The notice must also include a summons to appear before the Attorney General to attend a hearing on the merits of the Attorney General’s petition. The medical practitioner will be directed to appear before the Attorney General 30 days after receipt of the notice.

Section 824 grants the doctor the opportunity to submit a corrective action plan to the Attorney General before the hearing on the merits of the case. The Attorney General must review the corrective action plan and take it into consideration before rendering a decision on the case. The Attorney General can take appropriate action on the corrective action plan filed by the petitioner.

Medical Professionals Facing the Threat of Licensing Discipline Must Contact Attorney Sanger Immediately

Contact Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule an immediate consultation if you are a medical profession notified by the Drug Enforcement Administration that you are facing revocation of your registration.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses the Benefit of Taking a Sabbatical

Sabbaticals were once a perk of college professors who might take time to travel or to write. More companies are considering allowing their professionals to take sabbaticals, either paid or unpaid and have reported amazing results. It turns out that sabbaticals benefit the professional who gets extended time away from his or her employer or work environment and well as the organization itself. The organization has a chance to see how its succession plan will work after the more-senior person leaves the group by instilling initiative in less experienced or junior employees how to step up and make decisions. The people returning from sabbatical and those who filled in during the extended leave feel a sense of perspective and have renewed energy once the sabbatical is over. In short, sabbaticals are one method of handling mental health issues in the workplace.

The question that follows naturally is why do many professions not offer a sabbatical time when there are so many benefits to taking a sabbatical? Many professional licensees work in industries that customarily do not allow employees to take large chunks of time off. Convincing an employer to grant leave of one month or more, either with or without pay, and return to the same position is a tall task. The natural response from an employer to a request for sabbatical leave is immediate recoil; the topic is taboo and the idea controversial. On the other hand, an employee might have a hard time even asking for a sabbatical while employed an industry in which sabbaticals are not the norm. They rightly fear rejection of the idea out-of-hand but also the thought of being demoted or fired because they want to take such a long time off.

A sabbatical is entirely different than a vacation. Professional licensees take vacations as needed to get away from the demands of the job just for a break where you cram family time or housework into a week or two out of the office. Dedicated professional licensees might even continue to check emails and phone messages in anticipation of returning to the workplace after a short respite. In other words, you never put the job out of your head and forget about it for a while.

Those who take sabbaticals set out on their journey with an entirely different frame of mind than when simply heading on vacation.  The person taking a sabbatical is not merely taking time off to do other things. The person on sabbatical wants to immerse himself or herself in something not only as a distraction from ever-present stressors of daily life but out of a genuine interest in the subject matter. A true sabbatical is meant to do a “deep dive” into a hobby, to study, to write, to learn a new language, or pursue another passion project. Thus, the idea behind a true sabbatical, rather than a vacation, stems from a desire to renew one’s spirit, emotions, and mid, as well as refresh the body.

Professional licensees returning to work after a sabbatical return refreshed, anxiety-fee, renewed and rejuvenated. They are able to resume their work with vigor and a renewed sense of ambition because the sabbatical allowed them to clear their heads. Alternatively, a sabbatical could convince the professional that his or her chosen profession is the wrong one and that it is time to leave to do smoothing else. A sabbatical can provide a sense of clarity that vacation simply cannot.

Declining Mental Health can Lead to Licensing Discipline

Call Kansas and Missouri Professional Discipline Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation if you are a professional licensee facing discipline stemming from mental fatigue, anxiety, or other mental health problems. You can rely on Attorney Sanger’s knowledge, experience, and most importantly, compassion to protect you, your profession, your family, and your way of life.


Professional Discipline Defense Attorney in Kansas and Missouri Advises Medical Professionals to Avoid Burnout and Fatigue to Reduce Potential Licensing Discipline

Medical care should revolve around the patient, and at one time, it did. Increased regulation, additional demands on time, mounting documentation, and other administrative obligations can distract medical professionals from performing their duties competently. Consequently, medical professionals have experienced burnout. Doctors must conquer increased demands for documentation, declining wages while workloads increase, and the quality of life, along with job satisfaction and fulfillment, decline readily.

Burnout, or the state of mental and physical exhaustion coupled with the belief that there is no end in sight, is not singular to the healing arts. Many professional licensees experience burnout because of demands on the professional’s time compounded by performing ancillary tasks associated with their profession. Most professionals will be stressed out or one time in their professional lives.

Few people ever recognize the bureaucratic demands of their chosen profession until they join the ranks. Once young professionals experience bureaucratic requirements, and burnout begins to creep into their minds, the professional starts to feel unappreciated, disillusioned, dispirited, and depressed. These feelings can lead to depression, quitting the profession, and thoughts of committing suicide. To be sure, about 400 doctors take their lives each year. Moreover, well over one-half of all medical professionals participating in a survey admitted that they experienced at least one known symptom of burnout within the previous year.

Malpractice lawsuits and complaints to medical licensing boards significantly increase the stress a medical practitioner experiences. The constant threat of being sued over a mistake requires doctors to increase the amount of documentation they must complete to protect themselves, and more specifically their malpractice insurers. Doctors also complain that patient care is faceless because medical practitioners are held hostage by insurance companies and for-profit medical companies who are exclusively concerned with revenues. Accordingly, medical licensees must devote more time to other matters besides patient care, which was the inspiration to enter the profession in the first place.

Experts say that burnout is the primary cause of medical mistakes. The mistakes doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and other medical licensees come with a human cost. Patients of burned-out doctors can feel unsafe and lose trust in the practitioner. Patients who advocate for the standard of healthcare they deserve may need to report a physician who is making errors, falling behind, becoming aggravated, displaying a lack of empathy, or committing malpractice.

Hospitals and corporate providers pay lip service to the growing burnout problem. Some facilities try to tackle the problem by imploring their caretakers to forge on and be persistent even in the face of excruciating mental and emotional exhaustion. Other facilities have turned to alternative therapies like yoga to encourage their professionals to relax. The paradox is inescapable: medical facilities are content treating symptoms rather than the underlying cause of the problem. Medical schools and training programs have increased their attention to burnout in their curricula and during internships and residencies. The success of early burnout intervention has not been evaluated. Anecdotally, doctors have said that their time is better spent addressing patient needs or taking a full day away from the office instead of compulsory attendance at a program designed to reduce stress. Compelled attendance only serves to increase tension.

Burnout among medical practitioners cannot be eliminated or even reduced with one tactic. Given the declining number of physicians in practice and the anticipated need for healthcare workers in the future stakeholders must take a holistic approach to repair a broken system so that the healthcare providers can focus on complete care for their patients.

For Help With Your Medical Licensing Issues

Call Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation if you are a medical professional licensee facing discipline attributed to burnout. You can rely on Attorney Sanger’s vast experience to protect you, your profession, your family, and your way of life.

Source: Cited and I have a friend who is a physician in his second intern year at Ohio State University. He told me about compelled attendance at stress reduction conferences and said that all they do is increase stress.