An investigation by the New York State Department's Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) and state Board for Professional Medical Conduct can result in serious ramifications. The investigation can negatively impact a professional's reputation and put his or her career at risk.
Those who find themselves the subject of such an investigation likely have a number of questions, including:
- What initiates an investigation? These investigations are often the result of a complaint filed with the OPMC. The complaint can come from members of the public or from other health care professionals. The OPMC notes that it investigates "thousands of complaints" annually.
- What is the process? Generally, the first step is to review the complaints and remove anything that is frivolous or without standing. Examples include complaints based in misunderstandings about a diagnosis or allegations of general rudeness. If a complaint moves forward, the agency will conduct interviews with those involved in the incident and gather evidence to support the claims of misconduct.
- What kinds of cases does the OPMC pursue? The agency often follows through on cases of alleged incompetence, negligence or unfitness as well as use of illegal substances, performing services with a lack of informed consent or ordering excessive testing.
- What types of penalties are possible? Penalties can include revocation of one's professional license, limitations on the license and monetary fines of up to $10,000 for "each finding of guilt."
Although the agency claims that it works to provide the accused with "due process" it is wise to take proactive steps to ensure all legal rights are protected.
Those facing these accusations are wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced medical malpractice defense lawyer can guide the accused through this process, working to better ensure a favorable outcome.