Tag Archive for: Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney

Emergencies and Medical Professional Licenses in Missouri

As COVID-19 runs through the United States, it is presenting a number of complicated issues for the government and the public. One of the biggest problems has been caused by a shortage of healthcare workers and essential professionals. Headlines are now coming out from states around the nation, explaining emergency laws being enacted in order to loosen the licensing guidelines for medical workers. For instance, traveling nurses will likely be able to start working in other states with fewer delays than they have ever seen in the past.*

Licensing procedures take time, but in an emergency such as the current one, there is not enough time to work through the normal channels. As a response, many states are loosening licensing laws to allow more professionals to be engaged in the battle against the virus.

State Reciprocity

One way that some states are working to fill the void of professional is by allowing medical professionals to work in states outside of where they are licensed. This means that nurse practitioners and nurses aids, among other workers, will be able to cross state lines to help in the hardest-hit locations. For instance, Washington, which was one of the first states to be struck by the virus, has activated emergency volunteer health practitioners and is allowing nurses from other states to volunteer without an in-state license. All these practitioners will require is proof of their own good standing in another state.

Nurse Practitioners Expanded Operations

Some states are making changes that will allow nurse practitioners to practice without a doctor present. Nurse practitioners who considered “advanced,” which means they have some graduate course experience and a minimum of 3,000 hours of experience working under a physician’s supervision, will be eligible to work under these looser guidelines.

Another approach to the crisis is the issuance of “emergency” licenses. These temporary and expedited licenses may apply even in states that are not a party to the eNLC. These states are trying to make it easier for these professionals to become active, at least for a limited time.

New York and Colorado are looking at ways to bring former healthcare workers back into the practice. In New York, the governor is asking these professionals to “reconnect” with their former employers to find ways in which they may participate in the response if current workers are too overwhelmed to handle the number of patients made sick by the virus. Similar please were made by the governor in Colorado.

As the virus begins to impact additional states, it is likely that more accommodations will be made to expedite licenses around the nation.

Missouri Response

Missouri legislators proposed a bill titled HB 2046, which would permit healthcare professionals who have out of state licenses to move to the state through a reciprocity program. The professionals would be required to have held a license for a minimum of one year, and be in good standing in order to qualify.

The national health crisis has highlighted the incredible importance of healthcare workers. States are now paving the way to get more professionals where they are needed.

Professional licensing practices can be complicated and challenging to navigate. Professionals also sometimes face challenges to their licenses that can put their careers and livelihoods in jeopardy.  If you are trying to navigate the process for obtaining or reinstating a professional license in Missouri, or if you are facing disciplinary action that threatens your license, the Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law can guide you and protect your rights. Contact Sanger Law today at (785) 979-4353.

Missouri Denied my Professional License; What Can I do?

Many professionals, including teaching, chiropractors, doctors, nurses, and psychologists, require a state-issued license. The licensing board has certain requirements when it comes to acquiring a license. Of course, these professionals undergo years of formal education before they even get to the point where they must apply for their license. If a professional has invested money and years of their lives working towards their professional goals, just to be denied a license, the results can be devastating.

It is important to remember that if your license is denied, this is not the end of the road. There are ways to challenge the decision and to potentially acquire the license despite the Board’s initial determination.

Why would my license be denied?

Of course, there are formal requirements when applying for a license. A person who fails to meet those requirements, for instance, someone who did not pass a particular exam, may not be eligible to obtain a license until they complete all of the necessary steps.

In other situations, a person’s past may cause them trouble, and their license may be denied because of something on their record. A criminal past can be a reason for the Board to deny a license, but the facts of each case will be important to the Board when they make that decision.

Some factors that will be considered include the severity of the crime. Obviously, a sex offender may be denied a teaching license, but there are other less obvious cases. A nurse, for instance, may be denied a license for having a DUI. A DUI may not be an indication of the nurse’s ability to carry out his or her professional duties, but the denial may come after the Board views that conviction as a sign of who that person is and whether he or she could do harm in that profession.

In a case where it is not entirely clear that the earlier conviction is relevant, there will be other factors for the Board to consider. Those include how recent the conviction was and whether the professional has participated in a rehabilitative program. If the conviction is brand new, this may cause the Board member’s concerns, whereas a ten-year-old conviction might not seem as relevant.

Do I have to Report Past Violations?

When it comes to trying to obtain a professional license, do not lie on any of the forms. Criminal histories may come up in later searches, and lying will cause the problems to become much worse. You might have to explain a past transgression, but trying to hide one will only hurt you in the long run.

Can I Challenge the Decision?

Yes. You can challenge the decision, but there are time constraints and a complicated system to navigate in order to do so. The good news is that the decisions are definitely not final, and you can challenge them to overcome the obstacle and acquire the license you have been working to acquire.

Hiring an Attorney

When it comes to a professional license, you should never take the situation lightly. You have worked too hard to have your efforts fail  just before you obtain the license and start your career.

Hiring a Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney will not be taken as an admission that you have done something wrong, but as an indication that you take your career very seriously and are willing to work through the official channels to ensure that you gain your license.

If you have any questions about how to challenge a Missouri license denial, contact Sanger Law at (785) 979-4353 to learn how we can advocate for you.

Sealing Nursing License Complaints

Anyone can file a complaint against a nurse. In some cases, families will blame medical professionals when something goes wrong with a loved one’s medical condition, or workplace disagreements can lead to bad blood between co-workers, and a nurse can learn that a complaint was filed regarding his or her conduct. When your profession is at risk, this can be a disheartening, stressful, and frightening occurrence. The complaint may also seem entirely unwarranted or unjust. Perhaps the nurse even knows who complained and the real reason that the individual is seeking to harm his or her profession.

Of course, every nurse who has a complaint filed against them should address these claims seriously and in a professional manner. It is important to hire an attorney to defend against the allegations, regardless of how ridiculous those claims may seem.

The board may see the complaint for what it is, and the nurse may be cleared from wrongdoing. However, in other cases, the complaint may remain on that person’s record. When it comes to professional reputations, complaints matter, potential employers may find the complaint, and without context, make a judgment call about the professional that is not warranted. The nurse who was complained about may find that they are immediately placed on the defensive, trying to explain away something when they were never in the wrong.

There are ways to Seal the Record

The Board has the power to seal the record, and therefore protect the professional from the unfair implications of the complaint. There are several reasons that the records may be sealed.

First, the Board may choose to seal a record because they have determined that the professional has not acted in violation of the Nursing Practices Act. If there was no violation, the Board might opt to seal the records as there is no reason to keep that information available.

In other cases, the board may not determine definitively that the nurse did not violate the Act but may find that there is not enough evidence to substantiate the claim made against the professional. In this instance, the accusations cannot be proven, and the Board can seal the records.

There are other cases that are more complicated, though. In these instances, the Board may make a disciplinary decision that the nurse believes is incorrect or unfair. The nurse has the right to appeal to the Missouri Court System, and the court can override the decision made by the Board. The judge is responsible for determining the outcome in these cases.

What Happens Once the Record is Sealed?

If the record becomes sealed in any of the above ways, then the nurse can effectively move forward without the complaint haunting his or her career. The effect of sealing will make it as though the complaint had never been filed in the first place. No public records containing the complaint will be maintained.

For these nurses, it is appropriate to answer “no” when they are questioned as to whether they have ever had a complaint filed against them. When a possible new job opportunity presents itself, the employer will not come across that troublesome complaint.

If you are facing disciplinary actions against your professional license, there are ways to fight the allegations and protect your profession, and your reputation. Your livelihood is important, and anything that threatens it should be addressed head-on.

Contact the Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law at (785) 979-4353 to find out how we can help.


Why Do Educators Lose Their Licenses in Missouri?

For many teachers, their profession is not only their livelihood but also a part of their identity. The loss of a teaching license is devastating for these professionals. While teachers are fairly-well protected in their position, some do lose their ability to teach or have their licenses suspended. Educators who believe that their licenses are at risk should immediately contact an attorney to discuss the best way to protect themselves.

Causes for Suspension in Missouri   

In Missouri, it can be difficult to gauge why teachers in the state lost their licenses. While there are strict and in-depth background checks for teaching candidates who are seeking their licenses, the information about teachers who lost theirs is limited. The state recently received a “D” in a report carried out by USA Today on state’s procedures for looking into teacher’s backgrounds. When looking at Missouri’s database for teachers who were under disciplinary action, the reason for the discipline is not included.

The details are so slim that even one suspected rapist and murder’s license status only indicates that it expired, not that he is suspected of heinous crimes. When digging deeper into the issue, including looking at court documents and records recovered through the state’s Sunshine Act, reporters were able to discover the main reasons that teachers in the state faced suspension.

In analyzing records collected since the 1980s, investigators found 687 educators who had lost their licenses in Missouri, or who voluntarily gave up their licenses. The majority of the individuals were teachers. The leading cause of license suspension was sexual misconduct with a child, which accounted for 211 of the lost licenses. Another 108 also involved sexual misconduct. Fifty-five of the cases were misconduct of a non-sexual manner that involved a child.

Other reasons for suspensions included theft, breach of contract, assault, battery, and alcohol abuse. In twelve cases, teachers lost their licenses for murder or manslaughter.

What can an Educator do to Fight a Suspension?

When an educator finds his or her professional license is in jeopardy, it is important to address the accusations proactively. It is vital to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to avoid making any mistakes that will only make matters worse.

In many cases, the accusations are false or may be the result of a misunderstanding. The accused may feel that it will be easy to clear things up by speaking on his or her own behalf. However, no matter how certain you are that you are innocent, you must make sure that you protect yourself. In addition to finding an experienced advocate, keep all relevant documentation. Having any evidence that helps your case is important, so put all of it in a safe place so that you are able to provide it to your attorney.

Do not discuss the issues with your colleagues, friends, or anyone other than your attorney. Never speak to the investigators without having your attorney present, and do not turn anything over to investigators without consulting your lawyer. While you might feel that you have nothing to hide, misinterpretation can occur, and you might do further damage to your case.

Contacting an attorney is not an admission that you have something to hide. Hiring a professional to handle your case indicates that you take the situation and your career seriously.

If you feel that your professional license is in jeopardy, contact the seasoned Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law today at (785)-979-4353.

Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger Discusses How You Can Appeal an Adverse Licensing Decision to a Judge

You have a right as a party aggrieved by a decision rendered by the Missouri Administrative Hearings Commission, or AHC, to a judge sitting in a Missouri Circuit Court. Appealing to a judge is not done automatically. You must preserve your right to appeal, and you will lose out entirely if you fail to take all necessary actions to protect your appellate rights. Appealing the decision from the AHC to a judge in the Circuit Court is a highly technical procedure replete with potential pitfalls. Consequently, it is vital to the success of your claim, practicing your chosen profession or occupation to protect your right of appeal, and the preservation of your way of life to align yourself with a highly motivated, well-respected, and knowledgeable Missouri professional licensing attorney or you could lose out on your only opportunity to have a judge rule on your professional licensing appeal.

Appeals to a judge from the AHC are governed by statute. Missouri Revisor of Statutes or RSMo for short, sections 536.100 to 536.160 delineate the procedural and substantive rights afforded to a person who wishes to appeal an adverse decision of the AHC to a judge sitting in the Circuit Court. The statute confers jurisdiction of all AHC appeals in the Circuit Courts of Missouri. The statute requires the person appealing the decision of the AHC to the Circuit Court to file a complaint in the court within 30 days from the mailing by the agency to the appellant of the final order. Missing that deadline will terminate the appellant’s ability to have his or her case decided by a judge.

As with any administrative ruling, the licensee must exhaust all of his or her opportunities to obtain the requested relief before the AHC. Failing to exhaust all available avenues of administrative review is grounds for a dismissal of the appeal to a judge. The licensee need not ask for a rehearing or reconsideration of the AHC’s final decision before appealing to a Circuit Court judge unless the specific circumstances of the case warrant such a motion.

The venue of the appeal is an important consideration for a licensee who wants to appeal the AHC’s decision to a judge. All appeals from an adverse decision rendered by the AHC must be heard in Circuit Court. The presumptive venue for AHC appeals is the Cole County Circuit Court. However, a licensee can file an appeal in any Circuit Court sitting in the county in which the licensee resides. The licensee has the option of opting to file in the Cole County Circuit Court or in the Circuit Court of the county in which the licensee resides.

Understanding what a judge has the authority to review and decide on appeal is helpful. The judge does not hear the entire case all over again. The judge receives a copy of the proceedings that transpired before the AHC, called the “record.” The judge next analyzes the record, bearing in mind the judge has limited scope for review. The judge will examine the record for any failures of the AHC’s decision and procedure employed during the hearing for abuse of discretion, arbitrary and capricious rulings, the findings are unsupported by the facts established by the record, unconstitutional action by the AHC, the AHC exceeded its statutory authority, or the entire process was unfair to the appellant.

Missouri law leaves a slight window open for a judge to hear the entire case again, which is called de novo review. The judge has the authority to hear an AHC appeal de novo only when the appeal centers around the AHC’s application of the law to the facts of the case. The judge does not have the authority to conduct additional fact-finding.

Any person aggrieved by a Circuit Court judge’s decision has the same appellate rights as any civil litigant in Missouri.

Complicated Rules Require Expert-Level Representation

Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger is ready to protect your rights if you are facing professional discipline in Missouri. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to rely upon for expert legal advice.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger: Dedicated Advocate for Pharmacists Facing Professional Discipline

Pharmacists are dedicated professionals who make significant contributions to our healthcare and our quality of life. Our pharmacists become trusted members of the team who watches over our well-being. We entrust pharmacists with tremendous responsibility, and most discharge their duties professionally and competently. The public confidence in pharmacists and the service they perform is significant. However, pharmacists, like all other licensed professionals, are human and can make mistakes. Consequently, pharmacists face the specter of professional discipline for failing to protect the safety of the public and the integrity of the profession.

In Kansas and Missouri, pharmacists who are facing professional discipline have an ardent advocate in Danielle Sanger, Esq. Attorney Sanger has dedicated her career to defending professional licensees from disciplinary actions. Attorney Sanger’s substantial experience representing clients before disciplinary boards and administrative agencies gives her clients the advantage they need to protect their livelihood and their family from financial ruin.

Pharmacists are under a significant amount of stress and pressure these days. Pharmacists dispense and guard, for that matter, substances that are of great value on the streets. Drugs like Oxycontin and other opiate derivatives are in high demand as a consequence of the opioid epidemic facing our country today. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff, over which the head pharmacists has supervisory responsibility, could be tempted by significant financial incentives to misappropriate painkillers. Pharmacists must exercise caution and adhere to all of the regulations pertaining to opioid medications.

A pharmacist must contact a highly experienced and knowledgeable professional licensing attorney immediately upon learning they are under investigation. Pharmacists might be tempted to attempt to talk their way out of a complaint if they cooperate with their licensing authority’s investigation into their wrongdoing. A pharmacist, and all other holders of occupational licenses, should not contact their investigatory agency until speaking with competent professional licensing counsel. The investigating agency might not inform the pharmacist that he or she has the right to counsel before they speak. Just like in criminal court, anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law. Unlike a criminal defendant facing interrogation, there is no requirement that the pharmacist receives the equivalent of the Miranda warnings. Thus, no statement is “off the record.”

Contacting a professional licensing attorney in the initial stages of an investigation will help you mount a defense immediately. Time is of the essence. The pharmacist has a chance to negotiate a resolution to the matter before a complaint issues through your attorney. If, however, that is not possible, then getting an experienced occupational licensing attorney involved in the preliminary stages of an investigation will benefit the pharmacist greatly. The attorney will have time to investigate the facts, examine potential defenses, find witnesses, and review the government’s evidence. There is also ample time to create a compelling narrative as part of the pharmacist’s case that demonstrates the lack of culpability on the pharmacist’s part. Likewise, the attorney has the chance to mitigate any wrongdoing by gathering evidence that will help make a case for a reduced penalty.

A professional disciplinary action is no joke. Although the hearing does not occur in a traditional courtroom, the pharmacist has rights similar to that of a criminal defendant, except that there is no right to a trial by jury. However, the pharmacist has the due process right to confront and cross-examine witnesses appearing in support of the complaint and to present a case in the pharmacist’s defense. The pharmacist also has the right to a fair hearing before a neutral and impartial magistrate.

Call today if you are a pharmacist from Kansas or Missouri, and you are facing professional discipline.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger is ready, willing, and able to mount a vigorous defense for you. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and aggressive attorney for pharmacists facing occupational discipline.

Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Talks About Complying With OSHA Standards Can Help Clinicians Avoid Professional Discipline

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated guidelines for safety in clinical offices. OSHA operates on the simple premise that employers have an obligation to provide their employees with a safe work environment. Issues about workplace safety can arise during the course of treatment of a patient. It is important to recognize the potential occupational pitfalls a doctor, dentist, or another clinician must avoid maintaining the safety of their employees and patients as well. You could face professional licensing discipline if you fail to satisfy OSHA’s standards for clinical practice if the violation compromises patient safety. Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger zealously advocates for healthcare professionals and other professional licensees facing professional discipline.

While compliance with OSHA regulations appears on its face to be onerous, the regulations purport to provide a valuable service for healthcare practitioners. Following OSHA guidelines permits employers to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Doing so keeps overhead down while promoting quality patient care by maintaining continuity of employees. Reducing workplace injuries and illness enhances employee morale because employees know that their employer wants them to be physically safe in their work environment.  Every employee is owed the right to work in a safe environment. That means the temporary medical assistant to the longest tenured physician enjoys the right to a safe work environment.

OSHA recommends establishing an office or clinic protocols that employers and employees must follow to ensure a safe work environment. OSHA’s regulations apply to every employer, no matter the number. There are no exceptions. To maintain a safe workplace, OSHA recommends:

  • establishing office protocols, policies, and procedures that comply with OSHA regulations;
  • identifying safety hazards such as biohazards, radiation hazards, chemical, physical, ergonomic, and psychological hazards as well;
  • taking steps to protect workers from infection from various sources;
  • being certain to store medicines securely and protect workers from medical waste contamination;
  • hanging required OSHA posters and required notices, and
  • providing training to employees regarding clinical safety measures.

OSHA requires employers to make sure labels are appropriately affixed when necessary. Additionally, fire exits must be designated and map provided to the nearest exit. Furthermore, steps must be taken to protect staff members from radiation exposure from X-ray machines, MRI’s, and CT-scan machines.

One issue clinicians must not overlook is the electrical requirements OSHA promulgated. OSHA has strict guidelines for electrical safety. If the office uses gasses, for instance, “laughing gas” in a dentist’s office, then the office must contain the necessary wiring to prevent fire and explosions.

Employers should not take these requirements lightly. Following OSHA’s mandates can save money in the long run. OSHA recommends that employers communicate with their subordinates a desire to have a safe workplace. Additionally, employers should establish clear goals and objectives. The goals should be measurable, realistic, and attainable. One way to accomplish that mission is to assign tasks to particular employees and put them in charge of a particular aspect of the clinic’s safety plan. Employers should allow time for employees to familiarize themselves with the safety plans issued by the clinic. Not allowing the necessary time for employees to become familiar with the safety requirements of their office will be counterproductive and provide a disincentive for employees to follow the safety protocols of the medical office. Finally, the employer should demand compliance with the safety programs define by their employer.

Professional Licensing Attorney Available To Assist

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger is an aggressive advocate for the professional licensee. If you are facing the prospect of losing your professional license, call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule an appointment.


The United States Surgeon General Addresses Healthcare Professionals’ Obligation To Combat Opioid Abuse

In August of 2016, Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., the United States Surgeon General, circulated an impassioned letter to physicians and other healthcare providers in the United States imploring practitioners to work diligently to combat the opioid epidemic endangering our nation. There can be little debate something must be done to stem the tide of overdoses and deaths in our neighborhoods. This problem affects us all because socio-economic status does not limit opioid abuse. Consequently, practitioners must be acutely aware of over-prescribing painkillers and remain vigilant about detecting drug seeking behavior. Failure to do so may lead to claims of unethical prescribing of medication and malpractice allegations. Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is dedicated to fighting claims made against health care providers for unethical behavior.

Dr. Murthy’s letter succinctly lays out the recent history of the progression of opioid abuse in our country.  In the 1990s, physicians received encouragement to treat patients’ pain with prescription medication aggressively. While the source of information is unclear, Dr. Murthy criticizes drug companies for an extensive and misleading marketing campaign claiming that prescription opioid-based narcotics were not habit forming.  Data reveals that physicians’ efforts to treat their patients’ pain with prescriptions were unsuccessful. Since 1999, opioid-related deaths have quadrupled, and the number of prescriptions for painkillers has risen concurrently. Regrettably, physicians’ attempts to reduce or eliminate pain have failed. Americans statistically report the same amount of chronic pain today as twenty years ago. Dr. Murthy states that 2 million people in the United States suffer from opioid addiction disorder. The rise in this number causes an attendant increase in heroin abuse, HIV, and hepatitis C infections among intravenous drug users.

Dr. Murthy writes that solving the problem is not easy but argues that physicians and healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to reverse opium’s grip on our society. Combating the problem, Dr. Murthy opines, begins with clinicians balancing treatment for the patients’ pain with the prospect that any patient can become addicted.  Dr. Murthy divined a three-part plan to treat pain effectively while preventing or deterring addiction.  First, healthcare providers must educate themselves on opiate addiction as it relates to prescription narcotics and methodologies for treating pain. Secondly, medical practitioners must screen their patients for opiate addiction and refer them to appropriate treatment plans. Lastly, Dr. Murthy advocates treating opiate addiction as a medical problem like a chronic illness rather than a moral failing on behalf of the affected individual.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a pamphlet designed to educate practitioners as to the best practices for treating pain, detecting drug-seeking behavior, and options for patients exhibiting symptoms of opioid use disorder. Dr. Murthy suggested that healthcare professionals avail themselves of the CDC’s reference materials to assist clinicians with prescription issues, both long and short term, and treatment options. The CDC recommends treating acute pain with opioid-based medicine for a course of three days, but no longer than seven days. The real balancing act enters the equation when patients are claiming they suffer from chronic rather than acute pain. Physicians must counsel their patients that long-term painkilling medication is not effective to treat the symptoms and can lead to addiction. Dosing also requires the physician to analyze the patient’s prognosis carefully. The doctor should prescribe the lowest dose and avoid contemporaneous prescriptions of benzodiazepines while a patient is taking opiates for pain.

For More Information, Contact the Sanger Law Office today

If you are a healthcare professional in Kansas or Missouri and are facing professional discipline, rely on Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger to vigorously and aggressively defend you. Attorney Sanger possesses the skill and experience to defend your license to practice medicine. Contact Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation.