Tag Archive for: Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney

Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Advises Medical Professionals: Five Ways to Lose Your License

Whether you are a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, or physical therapist, your license is critical to your livelihood. While it took you years to attain your license, it can be taken from you in an instant because of a simple mistake or lapse of judgment.

As an experienced licensing attorney, clients often ask what are the most common ways that they can lose their professional license. Before I get into those individual ways, I must stress that if you find yourself being investigated, there is no time to waste, contact a professional licensing attorney immediately. The following are the five of the most commonly seen ways that medical professionals lose their licenses:

  1. Abusing Controlled Substances or Alcohol

A number of factors lead to medical professionals abusing medications and alcohol.  Often it is a combination of a high-stress career, access to pharmaceuticals, and a level of comfort with administering them. It is not always drugs, however, as alcohol abuse is also a prevalent way for professionals to deal with stress or problems. All it takes is a DUI or a complaint from coworkers to result in a referral to an administrative board and investigation into your behavior.

  1. Committing Fraud

With the complex billing practices and medical data entry required in the modern medical office, many professionals believe that charging or entering codes for procedures they did not perform will go unchecked. That is a mistake. Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are sophisticated controls built into the billing system.  Professionals may not be investigated the first time they enter a false code, but find themselves under scrutiny after making a serious of fraudulent entries.

  1. Violations of Professional Ethics

Medicine is a profession filled with redundant forms and checklists created to make sure that patients’ wishes are followed and that medical procedures are performed safely. Given the time pressure medical professionals sometimes find themselves under, some unfortunately resort to forging either patients’ or providers’ signatures or filling out checklists falsely.

  1. Improper Dispensing of Medication

Dispensing and prescribing medication is complex. When medications are prescribed or dispensed to patients that should not take them because of an allergy or known reaction to another prescribed medication, there can be dramatic results, including death. Sloppy administration of medications can be caused by overwork, stress, or burnout. Some patients seek out medications they should not have because they have become addicted to them; too often, medical professionals continue to provide medications to addicts who offer extra payment for them. Whether out of sympathy or greed, providing extra medications to drug-seeking patients is illegal and never wise.

  1. Discrimination.

Engaging in discrimination against patients, treating them differently based on their age, sex, race, citizenship or other “protected class” status is illegal. A complaint that you have differentiated in how you provide medical treatment to those individuals can result in an investigation and suspension or loss of your license. Careful documentation of your fair treatment of individuals is your best defense to a claim that you have treated some differently than others.

As this list demonstrates, professionals with good intentions can make honest or inadvertent mistakes. Otherwise good people can also have lapses of judgment due to work or financial pressure.  But these mistakes do not have to cost you your career.

Call attorney Sanger today at (785)-979-4353 to protect your professional license.

Contact Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger to protect your license and career. If you are being investigated for a workplace mistake or misconduct, call her immediately. Attorney Danielle Sanger has the experience to deal with licensing bodies, appear before administrative boards, and provide clients with advice to best position themselves professionally.


APRNs and Disciplinary Actions

Advanced practice registered nurses, APRNs for short, serve a whole host of functions in providing healthcare to patients. The APRN designation encompasses a relatively wide range of healthcare professionals. APRNs can be nurse practitioners, midwives, clinical specialists, and nurse anesthetists. Our healthcare system has turned to more of these specialized professions to assist physicians in the increasingly demanding obligation to deliver medical treatment.

The ethical rules of each profession and the individual states’ rules of the profession govern the professional conduct. Accordingly, all APRNs must be licensed according to the state’s law in which the APRN chooses to practice. The negligent, reckless, or willful failure to comply with the rules of the profession will subject the APRN to professional disciplinary action.

In both Kansas and Missouri, APRNs fall under the purview of each respective state’s Board of Nursing. Each state requires advanced training and education to maintain status as an APRN as compared to an RN or LPN. APRNs are responsible for maintaining the performance standards of the profession in addition to the ethical standards thereof. However, despite the higher standard of care to which APRNs must adhere, they are guaranteed the same rights as RNs and LPNs if they have been accused of a violation of the professional standards governing the profession.

The Rights of an APRN Facing Professional Discipline

Every person who holds a professional license, including APRNs, receives the protection of Due Process rights if the licensee faces disciplinary action. Their Due Process rights are guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Kansas and Missouri’s state constitutions offer similar protections, respectively. The APRN facing professional discipline enjoys the right to:

  • Representation of counsel of their choosing, even at the investigation stage;
  • A fair hearing presided over by a detached and neutral magistrate;
  • See the government’s evidence that purports to substantiate their claim of wrongdoing;
  • Confront and cross-examine witnesses;
  • Call witnesses who will testify on behalf of the APRN;
  • Present evidence in their own defense;
  • Negotiate a resolution of the offenses short of hearing, and
  • Judicial review after exhausting all administrative law review alternatives for relief.

Potential Penalties

The sanction an APRN receives depends upon an analysis of several factors. The disciplinary body will consider the APRN’s professional and personal history, their record of previous disciplinary action if any, and the severity of the allegations proved after hearing. The disciplinary body could also consider the effect the infraction had upon a patient as well. The disciplinary board can consider other factors such as the APRN’s initiative to get help on their own for a substance-abuse problem or attend additional educational programs to reduce the chance of recidivism.

The APRN has the right to representation by counsel during the sanction phase of the proceedings as well. A knowledgeable and skillful professional licensing attorney will zealously argue for reduced sanctions. The possible sanctions are:

  • Censure,
  • Reprimand,
  • Probation for a specified time with conditions or restrictions on the APRN’s license to practice,
  • Suspension, and
  • Revocation.

Revocation is obviously the most severe sanction. Disciplinary boards do not callously revoke a person’s license. However, they will if it is necessary to protect the public safety and maintain the integrity of the profession. Even if the licensing authority hands down such a severe punishment, the APRN may have the opportunity to apply for reinstatement after a specified time elapses.

Do Not Take On The Government Alone

You have the right to be represented by counsel at every stage of the proceedings. That includes the investigation phase. Before you contact your licensing authority after learning of a complaint lodged against you, you should contact professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger. Attorney Sanger is an aggressive and zealous advocate for professional licensees in Kansas and Missouri. Call Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule your free consultation.

Kansas Dental Assistants – Ensuring a Sterile Environment

Kansas dental assistants must ensure patients are being treated in a sterile environment.  Even the smallest mistakes, such as forgetting to throw something away after a patient has been seen, can result in the spread of infections to subsequent patients.  When this occurs, both dental assistants and the dentists supervising them may be at risk for either disciplinary action or the loss of their professional licenses or certificates.  If you are a Kansas dental assistant, you should take all necessary steps to ensure there is very little or no chance of spreading bacteria and other germs to patients that may result in serious illness.

Common Mistakes That Create an Unsterile Environment

When dental offices get busy, it is inevitable that mistakes will be made.  Most mistakes are not uncommon and curable, meaning that they do not cause any harm to patients or the dental staff.  However, some common mistakes are capable of causing patients to suffer injury or illness.  Such mistakes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Failing to put biomedical waste in the designated biohazard container;
  • Failing to put dental instruments into sterilizing machine after they are used on a patient;
  • Failing to clean the examination room with sterilizing cleaner after treating a patient;
  • Failing to use new, sterilized dental equipment;
  • Failing to change gloves, masks, plastic coverings, and paper bibs after treating a patient;
  • Failing to discard the above-mentioned items before leaving the examination room; and
  • Failing to wash hands and use sterilizing gel or lotion.

It is understandable that some of the above-mentioned mistakes happen occasionally in all dental offices.  After such mistakes occur, dental offices typically avoid the same mistakes in the future by ensuring all dentists, dental assistants and other dental employees are properly trained on sanitation practices.  Germs spread much easier than many people believe.  The transmission of bacterial and viral infections can cause numerous patients to become ill, and those patients may spread the infection to others.  If the illness is severe, the dentist and his or her dental staff may be held responsible and could face disciplinary action of the potential loss of their professional licenses or certificates pursuant to the Kansas Dental Board’s decision.

Proper Training Goes a Long Way

Because most people believe it is common sense to wash your hands and ensure an examination room is clean after each patient is seen, many dental offices do not train dental assistants about proper sanitation practices.  While dental assistants learn about sanitation practices while going to school to obtain their certificates, it is never a bad idea to ensure dental assistants are absolutely clear on the importance of proper sanitation practices.  Dental offices that require new hire training that covers sanitation practices are less likely to experience the common mistakes that could lead to potentially harmful consequences for patients.

Contact Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

As a Kansas dental assistant, you already know how important it is to operate in a sterile environment.  However, mistakes do happen, and you do not deserve to lose your professional license or certificate over one mistake.  If you are facing disciplinary action by the Kansas Dental Board, or potentially the loss of your license or certificate, either temporarily or permanently, it is important that you speak with an experienced Kansas Professional License Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  Kansas Professional License Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office devotes her law practice to helping professionals like you fight to keep their Kansas professional licenses and certificates.  As a former Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, Danielle Sanger has the experience and skill necessary to provide you with the representation you deserve.  To speak with Danielle Sanger about your case, contact the Sanger Law Office today by calling (785) 979-4353 to schedule your free consultation.

Kansas Veterinarians – Providing Accurate Instructions to Pet Owners is Key

Veterinarians are very busy professionals in Kansas.  Many Kansas citizens own at least one pet, and there are hundreds of veterinarians across this state.  Therefore, this means that most veterinarians will have a large workload each day.  Because veterinarians are often so busy, many general tasks are left to support staff.  While support staff may have the requisite knowledge to accurately communicate instructions to pet owners, if that staff member provides the wrong information, or fails to provide sufficient information, a veterinarian may be held responsible if a support staff member’s mistake causes the pet any harm.

For example, if a pet has recently had a procedure (such as being spayed or neutered), the veterinarian him or herself should be the person providing specific instructions for post-operative care to the pet owner.  Allowing a staff member to communicate specific instructions leaves room for error that, as mentioned, could fall squarely on the veterinarian.  If the pet becomes ill, and the pet owner did not have instructions for how to help the pet (such as cleaning the wound and administering antibiotics, for example), a veterinarian may be forced to face a disciplinary action by the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners, if the pet owner files a complaint.

What You Should Do to Avoid Disciplinary Action

 In order to ensure your patients/pet owners are receiving accurate instructions following a procedure or other care, you should be the person to provide those instructions, no matter how busy your office may get.  While you may have very competent staff members, it is simply too risky to allow others to communicate your instructions.

For example, if you have just performed a spay or neuter operation, and the pet owner has arrived to pick his or her pet up, you should clearly explain post-operative instructions both verbally and in writing, and if there is any medication the pet needs to take, information about such medication must be clearly communicated.  Oftentimes, pet owners come to pick up their pets and leave without any instructions at all.  When this happens, the pet owner may not know what to do if something goes wrong and the pet’s condition worsens after going home.  The pet owner may be back at your clinic the following day, asking for advice, and this could cost you time and money.

To avoid potential communication errors with a pet owner, and to avoid resulting disciplinary action (or even a lawsuit), you, as the veterinarian, should always be the person to consult with a pet owner regarding post-operative care.  While some support staff members (such as high level veterinary technicians) may be allowed to offer post-operative instructions, it is still in your best interest as a Kansas veterinarian, to handle all communications with pet owners regarding post-operative care and instructions.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a Kansas veterinarian and you are facing disciplinary action, or believe you may be facing such an action in the future, it is extremely important that you contact a Kansas Professional License Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  You have spent time and money reaching your goal of caring for animals, and you should not lose your professional license because of one mistake a support staff member made while in your veterinary clinic.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office helps a variety of Kansas professionals fight to keep their licenses when they are facing disciplinary action.  With her prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, Danielle Sanger has a unique perspective from the disciplinary side that many other attorneys do not possess.  To speak with Danielle Sanger, contact the Sanger Law Office today at (785) 979-4353 to schedule your free consultation.

Kansas Dentists and Sedation Dentistry

There are a multitude of dental procedures that require patients to be sedated, whether it be full general anesthesia, or minimal sedation that leaves a patient in a “twilight” state.  Some patients may simply want to be sedated for simple fears that make it difficult for them to receive standard dental care.  Whatever the reason may be for sedation, it is important that dentists protect themselves when offering sedation services to patients.

Dentists can protect themselves by ensuring that their patients are good candidates for sedation prior to administering any sedative medication. However, not every patient should be sedated, due to the nature of their medical condition or other important factors.  Some patients may have underlying health problems that make sedation particularly dangerous, such as chronic high blood pressure, a history of heart attacks or strokes, or any other chronic and/or serious health condition.  If it turns out a patient cannot safely be sedated, then a dentist should inform the patient of this information and refuse to sedate that patient.

There have been situations across the United States where dentists have performed sedation dentistry without first ensuring the patients are healthy and stable enough to handle the sedative medications.  Many dental practices advertise that they offer “sedation dentistry,” and this catches the attention of many patients who have trouble sitting still or simply are afraid to receive certain dental care.  Such dental practices can be beneficial for many patients who qualify as good candidates, but there are many people who simply should not be subject to sedation if they are not healthy enough.

 What You Should Do to Avoid Disciplinary Action

If you offer sedation dentistry at your Kansas dental practice, you should make sure your current protocols protect both you and your patients from the potential hazards of sedation dentistry.  You should thoroughly evaluate every patient, and request a patient’s primary medical records (with the patient’s consent), to confirm whether or not there are any current health concerns that may pose a risk of harm to the patient if sedation is given.  Further, as a Kansas dentist offering sedation dentistry, you should require that your patients undergo general testing with another physician to ensure they are healthy enough to be sedated.

As long as you document your efforts to ensure your patients are healthy enough to receive sedative medications while undergoing dental procedures, you should be protected in the future if a patient claims he or she suffered harm as a result of undergoing sedation in your dental office.  By reviewing a patient’s medical records and ensuring the patient has undergone the requisite testing, you are being a responsible Kansas dentist and looking out for the health and well-being of your patients.  While problems with sedation dentistry are not prevalent, they do happen, and you should always be prepared in the event a patient becomes ill or alleges to suffer harm as a result of being sedated while at your dental office.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a Kansas dentist and your license is at risk, it is essential that you consider speaking with a Kansas professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office defends her clients to the fullest extent possible, helping them keep their professional licenses.  With her prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, Danielle Sanger knows what to expect from all Kansas professional licensing boards. Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger also has the skill and dedication necessary to provide the best representation possible when fighting the potential loss of your professional license.  To schedule your free consultation with Danielle Sanger, contact the Sanger Law Office by calling (785) 979-4353.

Kansas Physicians and Informed Consent

As a Kansas physician, you already know just how important it is to obtain your patients’ informed consent prior to treating those patients, whether in the clinical setting or in the operating room.  Hospitals and providers generally have a broad informed consent page that patients will sign.  While this certainly is helpful in documenting a patient’s permission to undergo a certain treatment or procedure, these boilerplate forms are not always sufficient to avoid potential litigation or disciplinary matters in the future.

For example, if a patient consented to have a procedure done by signing a boilerplate consent form that indicated the name of the procedure, but no further details were outlined on the form, that patient may complain down the line that he or she was not aware of the potential complications or side-effects of undergoing that particular procedure.  For this reason, it is imperative that Kansas physicians make further attempts to document a patient’s informed consent.  This can be documented by doing the following:

  • Ensure that your clinic and appointment notes leading up to a procedure document a patient’s informed consent, after you clearly explain the pros, cons, and potential complications or side-effects of the procedure;
  • Document your patient’s informed consent not only with a boilerplate consent form, but also in any operative report after you have again, explained the pros, cons, and potential complications and side-effects of the procedure; and
  • Make sure a nurse or assistant is present prior to the procedure to witness the patient’s informed consent

Issues with informed consent were not that prevalent until the past couple of decades.  A general consent to particular treatment or to a procedure used to be sufficient to prevent a complaint being filed in the future by an unhappy patient (whether the complaint be in the form of a lawsuit, or against the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, or perhaps both).

Because lawsuits are filed on a regular basis in Kansas for a patient claiming his or her injuries are related to a lack of informed consent, and because disciplinary complaints are also filed quite frequently with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, it is essential to take extra steps to protect yourself as a Kansas physician.  Many claims filed by patients could be perfectly legitimate, but many are not.  By documenting your efforts to obtain informed consent, and confirmation that the patient did in fact give informed consent, as described above, you are preserving evidence that you acted in accordance with the law and professional standards of this state.

If an upset patient does file a complaint with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts and/or in the form of a lawsuit, you will have all of the documentation you need to dispute the patient’s allegations. In order to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, you should consider speaking with a Kansas professional license defense attorney who can help you prepare for what the Kansas Board of Healing Arts may ask of you should you face disciplinary proceedings in the future.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Facing the Kansas Board of Healing Arts can be stressful and frightening.  If you are a Kansas physician and are facing potential disciplinary action, you should speak with a Kansas professional licensing defense attorney as soon as possible.  Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office dedicates her law practice to helping professionals overcome the hurdles that disciplinary proceedings often present.  Danielle Sanger’s prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas allows her to provide her clients with outstanding service, as she knows what to expect from all professional licensing boards.  To speak with Danielle Sanger regarding your professional licensing matter, contact the Sanger Law Office today to schedule a free consultation by calling (785) 979-4353.

Kansas Attorneys – How to Avoid Malpractice Complaints for Missed Deadlines

One of the biggest mistakes Kansas attorneys and law firms make is missing a client’s deadline, especially with failing to comply with the statutes of limitations in Kansas.  While attorneys try their best to ensure important deadlines are not missed, mistakes can happen and this can lead to a client filing a complaint with the Kansas Office of Disciplinary Administrator, or filing a complaint against your for legal malpractice.  Missing a client’s deadline is more prevalent in personal injury and tort law generally.  As an individual only has a certain period of time to file a lawsuit, it is imperative that plaintiff’s attorneys calendar when the deadline is for filing a lawsuit.

Most attorneys have an internal calendaring system that alerts them to particular deadlines.  If a client’s filing deadline is missed and the statute of limitations has run, a client may seek to file either a disciplinary complaint with the Kansas Office of Disciplinary Administrator, or seek to file a legal malpractice complaint against you.  If you have found yourself in this situation, you know just how devastating one small mistake can be.  More often than not, if you have made one calendaring mistake (or even just a few), your law license may not be at risk.  However, if you repeatedly miss client deadlines, your license may be at risk.

 What You Should Do to Avoid Missing Important Deadlines

In order to ensure your internal calendaring system is adequate to alert you to key deadlines, you should consider doing the following:

  • Have your calendaring system in both electronic form and paper form;
  • Designate one employee in your law practice to stay on top of client deadlines, reminding you well in advance to ensure you don’t miss a deadline (for example, if the statute of limitations for a potential personal injury lawsuit is coming up, your calendaring system should alert you to this deadline at least one month beforehand, with weekly reminders);
  • Keep your clients informed as to each deadline, so that your clients can also maintain a calendaring system; and
  • If you find your case load is too large to manage multiple client deadlines, consider referring some cases out, or rejecting some cases entirely.

As to the last point above, many attorneys (more often plaintiff’s attorneys), tend to take on more cases than they are able to handle.  This often occurs in small or solo law firms.  The more manageable your case load is, the more likely it is that you will be able to avoid missed deadlines.  Further, if you realize you have missed a deadline, you should alert your legal malpractice insurance carrier to ensure you have taken all steps necessary to document your error, and seek to remedy the situation.  Your insurance carrier will then know that there’s a slight chance action may be taken against you by your client.

 Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a Kansas attorney and you are facing disciplinary action that may put your law license at risk, you should speak with a Kansas professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. Kansas Attorney Malpractice Defense Lawyer Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office dedicates her practice to defending professionals who are facing disciplinary action and/or the potential revocation of their professional licenses.  Danielle Sanger’s prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas helps her protect and advocate for her clients in a way that distinguishes her from other professional license defense attorneys.  To schedule a free consultation with Danielle Sanger to discuss your professional licensing matters, contact the Sanger Law Office today by calling (785) 979-4353.