Tag Archive for: Kansas professional license defense lawyer

Kansas Amends The Healing Arts Statute

The Kansas legislature amended the Healing Arts Statute in 2015. The statutory amendments are designed to address certain failings of the previous statutory provisions. Furthermore, the amended sections align statutory regulations with the reality of the practice of medicine today.  The amendments impose more severe criminal punishments for practicing medicine without a license as well as augments the rules governing unprofessional conduct exposing a practitioner to potential licensing discipline.  Kansas professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger counsels practitioners of the healing arts in Kansas to become well versed in the changes in the law and to be wary of conduct potentially subjecting oneself to discipline.

The statutory amendments cover a wide range of conduct. At the outset, the definition of healing arts was expanded to include medical treatment with the purpose of “alteration or enhancement of a condition or appearance.”  Additionally, the criminal penalty for practicing a healing art without a license—be it suspended, revoked, or otherwise—was increased from a Class B misdemeanor to a Level 10, non-person felony. This crime carries the potential for imprisonment of up to 6 months and probation for at least 12 months. The statute also authorized a more severe civil penalty of $1,000 per day for practicing without a license. The costs of prosecution may be included in addition to the daily fine. The Board of Healing Arts is permitted to seek an injunction against any person found to be practicing medicine without a license as well.

Significantly, the statutory amendments introduced new grounds for disciplinary action. The amendments added two criminal dispositions to the list of criminal dispositions presumptively mandating discipline. A conviction by either a special or a general court martial irrespective of a conviction of a Class A misdemeanor or felony or a similar crime in another jurisdiction will now warrant discipline. The amendment created the presumption of revocation following the conviction of a felony or like offense in another jurisdiction and for a conviction at a general court martial. The Board may decline to revoke if the Board determines by 2/3 vote that the practitioner is not a danger to anyone and that the person has been rehabilitated so as to not violate the public trust.

The statutory amendments also reflect the growing need to monitor health care professionals who are suffering an inability to competently practice a healing art. The amendments alter the language of the previous statute. Ostensibly in an effort to maintain the public trust, the previous safeguards afforded to the professions have been omitted. The statute now reads the “licensee’s ability … is impaired” by illness or drugs.  The previous statutory language referred to the licensee’s inability to practice. All documents obtained through an investigation shall remain confidential and will not be released to anyone for any purpose other than by use for the Board.

The amendments expanded upon the definition of professional incompetence. Interfering with a Board investigation is now included within that definition. Acts considered obstructing or interfering are

  1. falsifying or concealing a material fact;
  2. knowingly making or causing to be made any false or misleading statement or writing; or
  3. other acts or conduct likely to deceive or defraud the Board.

Furthermore, the newly passed statute has revised certain aspects of disciplinary procedure for licensees. The amendment expands the professional designations subject to discipline from merely licensees to include registrants, certificate holders, and permit holders. These additional professional designations may receive the benefit of a professional development plan in lieu of discipline. All of these professions are also subject to the Board of Healing Art’s subpoena power. This power was expanded to have the authority to compel production of evidence if the person previously failed to comply with a subpoena. The person subpoenaed may contest the subpoena but must first rely on the administrative remedy of appealing to the Board prior to appealing the ruling to the district court. Importantly, every person practicing a healing art is now obligated to report a violation of the law related to practicing the healing arts to the Board of which they have knowledge.

Consult An Experienced Professional Licensing Attorney For More Information

 Kansas Professional License Defense Lawyer Danielle Sanger is a dedicated advocate for all practitioners of the healing arts. She will vigorously and zealously fight to protect your livelihood. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 for your free consultation.


Kansas Professional License Defense Lawyer Asks: Homicide or Compassionate Care?

In Kansas, a physician can be tried for murder for over-administering painkillers designed to relieve chronic and/or acute pain. From a pure ethical prospective, palliative care must not be denied to a suffering patient. Over-prescribing, with the intent to kill, however, may cross the line of sound medical ethics to murder. This intersection of medical ethics and criminal jurisprudence can result in a conflation of the healthcare professionals’ duties toward their patients. Accordingly, the highest attention and consideration must be given to the decision to administer higher doses of painkilling prescriptions that could cause an overdose, resulting in premature death. Such a decision can adversely affect licensing privileges as well as criminal responsibility. Attorney Danielle Sanger has years of experience defending medical professionals in licensing actions and promises to vigorously defend your license from adverse action by the State Board of Healing Arts.

Healthcare professionals are well versed in the six core values of medical ethics. Palliative care, according to the Indian Journal of Palliative Care, implicates the ethical mandates of patient autonomy, beneficence, or non-malfeasance, and justice.  Thus, healthcare professionals must counsel a patient facing end-of-life decisions resulting from terminal illness to guide them in making informed choices over their care to the extent possible.   This is especially true with regard to pain management.  The author of the article argues that pain management and relief is a basic “human right.”

No one truly wants to see their loved one suffer, especially when the patient is terminal. Since physicians are not trained to end a life, administering a high dose of narcotics to sedate, or even cause a fatal overdose, could lead to licensing sanctions as well as a criminal prosecution depending upon the physician’s intent.  This is a fine line. Kansas’s legislature passed a statute barring so-called “mercy killings” and prohibits any act or omission that ends a life in a manner inconsistent with the “natural process of dying.”

This fine line was tested in the case of State v. Naramore, wherein the Kansas Supreme Court reversed a physician’s conviction for attempted murder of a terminally ill cancer patient. Dr. Naramore administered high doses of pain killers. Dr. Naramore administered these high doses to combat the substantial pain from which his patient was suffering. The doctor, as well as the patient’s family, observed that the patient’s heart rate and respiration slowed subsequent to ingesting the pain medication. The administration of the medication resulted in a “double effect,” that is, the relief of excruciating pain through high doses of drugs, which, by virtue of the high doses, hastened death while primarily relieving pain.

The Kansas Supreme Court reversed the conviction. The Court recognized that the American Medical Association took the position that administering high doses of medication to combat pain was medically appropriate despite the effect of the drug “shortening life.” The Court noted that there is a fine line between a physician offering palliative care and euthanasia. Palliative care is designed to administer medication to relieve pain, which may then cause death. Conversely, euthanasia is the administering of medication to cause death and thereby eliminate suffering. More to the point, the Court cited the Kansas Association on Osteopathic Medicine’s opinion that failure to administer pain medication that causes a patient to suffer unbearable pain is “medical malpractice.” In the final analysis, the Court held that based upon all of the evidence heard at trial, much of which was from competing experts, Dr. Naramore was entitled to an acquittal.

Contact A Medical Licensing Attorney For Guidance

If you are a medical professional facing these difficult decisions, consulting Attorney Danielle Sanger, who has vast experience in licensing matters, can help. Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Lawyer Danielle Sanger has committed her career to vigorously fighting to protect the professional licenses of medical professionals in Kansas and Missouri. Call Attorney Danielle Sanger at 785-979-4353 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

How Kansas Veterinarians Can Avoid Disciplinary Complaints

Becoming a Kansas veterinarian is no easy task, and once you have completed your goal of being able to help animals, you finally feel a sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are doing what you love and helping Kansas pet owners care for the pets they love.  However, as is the case with any profession where clients or patients are involved, you will have some patients who simply are not happy with your services, and there is nothing you can do to satisfy them.

While the customer is always right when it comes to the sale of consumer goods or services, when it comes to veterinary care, there are some times when the patient is simply wrong, whether it be in regards to a medical diagnosis, or whether or not the veterinarian took the proper steps to care for the patient’s pet.  Veterinary patients do have a right to complain to the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners regarding your treatment or conduct, however, such complaints are typically not investigated if there are absolutely no valid grounds for alleging that you have violated your professional duties as a Kansas veterinarian.

Steps to Take When Treating Veterinary Patients

You may be able to avoid facing disciplinary complaints if you take certain steps to make sure all patients have a complete understanding of your role as the veterinarian, what to expect from veterinary care, and all risks that come along with administering medication and performing veterinary procedures, no matter how minor or serious the procedures may be.  Preventative measures that you and your veterinary staff members can take to avoid disciplinary complaints with the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Having all patients sign a very detailed consent form that identifies all possibilities, both good and bad, for how a particular animal’s condition may turn out after receiving treatment;
  • Ensuring that all veterinary staff members are knowledgeable on what conduct may give rise to disciplinary action or the potential loss of your veterinary license;
  • Ensuring that you and/or your staff members provide each patient with the correct prescribed medication, as providing the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication could be harmful to the animal; and
  • Following up with patients frequently after an animal has received veterinary care, as this will both keep the patient informed and let the patient know that you are taking all steps necessary to stay on top of the animal’s condition.

Even if you take all of the above-listed steps in addition to others, you still may find that a patient will be unhappy and complain that you and/or your staff members have not provided adequate care or that you have acted negligently in some way.  This is just a natural byproduct of working in a field where you will come across disagreeable patients from time to time.

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

As a Kansas veterinarian, you take pride in helping Kansas pet owners take proper care of their animals.  Given that pet owners cherish their furry friends so much, they may become angry or frustrated when you, as the veterinarian are not able to save a pet’s life.  As is the case in the practice of medicine, there are simply times when you are left with little or no options to help save a pet’s life.  This can be difficult for pet owners to understand, so it is essential that you take all steps possible to ensure your patients are aware of the scope of your veterinary practice, acknowledging that sometimes the fate of our pets cannot be helped by a veterinarian’s quality care.  As such, if your veterinary license is at risk for any reason at all, you need to speak with a Kansas Professional License Defense Attorney who will fight to help you keep your Kansas veterinary license.  Kansas Professional License Defense Lawyer Daniel Sanger of the Sanger Law Office has the experience and skill to provide you with the best legal representation possible.  As a former Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, Danielle Sanger has seen the other side of the aisle, and knows what to expect from the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners.  To speak with Danielle Sanger, contact the Sanger Law Office today by calling (785) 979-4353 to schedule a free consultation.

Kansas Health Care Professionals: Know the “Rules” of Social Media

For many people, Facebook and other social media networking sites have become as much a part of their daily routine as walking the dog, checking e-mail, and kissing their spouse goodbye. Some people even find a way to check Facebook while doing other tasks! Regardless of whether you are an occasional user or “regular” of Facebook and other similar sites, you need to use social media wisely. As a health care professional in particular, social media can quickly turn from a friend into an enemy. Each year, health care professionals find themselves facing discipline for mistakes made on Facebook and other social media sites. The following are a few tips to follow so that you can use Facebook without the fear that you are putting your professional license in jeopardy:

  • DO – have a response ready in case a patient asks if you are on a particular social media site. Sometimes patients can mistake the care that you are providing to them for friendship and want to continue that relationship on a social media site. This may be a case where honesty is not the best policy.
  • DO NOT – set your Facebook settings to “public”. Employers and prospective employers frequently comb through social media sites. Photos and other postings on your social media site may paint you in a different light than the dedicated health care professional that you are.
  • DO – visit Facebook or your other social media site’s privacy settings frequently. Facebook and other social media sites are constantly altering website privacy controls. Users who are not vigilant risk sharing information that was previously private with the world.
  • DO NOT – share photos of your workplace or of patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects patient information from being improperly shared. Posting a photo or a description of a patient or your workplace may raise eyebrows and come across in the wrong way.
  • DO – filter your posts. One rule of thumb is that if you do not want everyone in the entire world to know the information you are considering posting, then it is probably a good idea not to post it. People who you have allowed to see your information can easily share your posts and photographs with those you have not authorized to see your information. It is best to regard Facebook and other social media sites as public spaces and the information you place there as public and no longer under your control.
  • DO NOT – speak badly of your employer, co-workers or your position on any social media site. Regardless of whether or not you are “friends” with any of your co-workers, it is too easy for that information to land in the wrong hands.
  • DO – find other avenues to vent about your job frustrations. Health care professionals have demanding jobs that often require them to work long hours. Although it may be tempting to communicate your frustrations to your “friends” on social media, it is often better to communicate in person.

If you are a licensee who has received notice of a pending investigation, contact the Sanger Law Office today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. Before you talk with an investigator or communicate with your applicable licensing board, you need to consult with an experienced Kansas professional license defense attorney. The Sanger Law Office prides itself on providing licensees with exceptional legal services. Trust our team of professionals to protect your license.

Kansas Health Care Professionals Safeguard Your License: Understand Your Obligations Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA” or “Act”) was signed into law almost 25 years ago. The Act prohibits Americans with disabilities from being discriminated against in certain circumstances.  A “disability” is defined by the Act as referring to any physical or mental impairment that markedly limits at least one major life activity. A major life activity can include, breathing, walking, speaking, learning, and hearing, just to name a few.

Title III of the ADA requires all health care providers to provide effective communication to all patients who are deaf or hard of hearing. The term “health care providers” includes not only hospitals and clinics, but also applies to private physician and dentists, regardless of the size of the practice or the number of employees each employs.

In July of 2013, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against a Florida doctor and his medical practice for alleged violations of the ADA. According to the complaint, the doctor was the primary physician for a deaf couple for a number of years. Upon learning that the couple had filed a lawsuit against a local hospital, which was also affiliated with the doctor’s practice, the doctor terminated the couple as patients. The basis of the lawsuit against the hospital was that the hospital had allegedly failed to provide a sign language interpreter to the couple while in the emergency room. Such acts constitute discrimination and are in violation of the Act. The doctor’s actions were a violation of the ADA because, according to the language of the ADA, a person cannot be terminated as a patient for exercising his or her rights under the ADA and the doctor’s actions were in retaliation of the couple’s lawsuit.

In statements made by the doctor, he admitted to terminating the couple as patients upon learning that the couple had filed suit against the hospital. In his defense, the doctor stated that he had never had any problems communicating with the couple in his past encounters and felt that the couple was dishonest in pursuing the lawsuit against the hospital.

Health care professionals need to understand what does and does not qualify as “effective communication” since what may be considered effective communication in one situation may not be effective in another situation, even with the same patient. For example, providing written communication such as forms or information sheets may be considered effective communication with respect to learning a patient’s billing information. However, when discussing a patient’s symptoms or the physician’s diagnosis, a qualified interpreter may be necessary.

If you are a health care professional and have learned from your licensing board that a complaint has been filed against you, contact the Sanger Law Office today at today at 785-979-4353 to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation. At the Sanger Law Office we understand what your professional license means to you and will work with you to develop the best strategy to protect your livelihood. You can trust the experienced team of professionals at the Sanger Law Office to provide you with excellent legal services.