Category Archives: Professional Licensing

Licensed healthcare professionals can also suffer and recover from opiate abuse and addiction

Opiate addiction is something that can sneak up on good people who might not realize they are becoming dependent on painkillers. People from all walks of life are prescribed an opiate or opioid narcotic for pain management following for injuries and chronic conditions. Like other addictions, an opiate use can turn into abuse and reliance on the drugs. Many people who suffer from opiate abuse and addiction report that they did not think they had a problem and would go for days without using opiates, assuming they were able to stop at any time.

Healthcare professionals may have a unique risk of opiate abuse and addiction

Physicians and healthcare professionals may be particularly likely to manage their own use of opiate narcotics and one day realize they are on the way to or are already hooked. For many, the opiates seem to sneak up on them without the user noticing anything because the neurotransmitters in the brain and the systems affected by opiate drugs are altered; the user is not thinking normally.

The healthcare industry can be notably stressful and physicians and professionals must be disciplined and resilient to that which might be too difficult for others to manage daily. Knowing you may be a tough doctor or nurse might give you the illusion that you may be in a better position to get the use of opiates under control, even though you might not be able to manage the addiction on your own.

The causes of opiate addiction are variable among several factors, some of which might not be within the control of the individual experiencing addiction.[i]

  • Genetic: Some of us are pre-disposed to addiction through our genetic makeup. When immediate family members and close relatives have addictions, those close in relation are often more likely to also suffer from abuse and addiction. This is not always the case, however and within a family some may “have the gene” while others do not.

 

  • Biological: Some of us naturally lack the endorphins necessary to trigger the right responses in our brains and central nervous systems, impacting our physiology. When introduced to our systems, certain people respond very well to opioids to remedy an underlying neurotransmitter deficit.

 

  • Environmental: What we experience as children can significantly influence our likelihood of certain behaviors as adults. The children who grow up with substance abuse and addiction are more likely to use substances and are more prone to addiction themselves.

 

  • Psychological: In the event one may be suffering from a mental illness or disorder, one may not be thinking clearly when using addictive narcotics to self-medicate other symptoms. There is a common correlation between mental health and propensity for addiction.

Opiate abuse and addiction can be cured and underlying causes and symptoms can be addressed.

Licensed professionals with their livelihood on the line may be more likely to cover up the use, abuse or addiction to opiates. The last thing any physician or nurse wants is to be questioned as to their fitness to practice. Individuals with addiction might be under the effects of narcotics to the extent that they are not making otherwise clear decisions, while some others may be better able to catch and cure a problem.

Too often people fear being looked at like a failure or a weak person. It is important to realize that opiate abuse and addiction is a temporary illness which may not have been avoidable based on causes that are not the healthcare professionals’ fault.

Being proactive with opiate abuse and addiction issues can save a healthcare professional’s career.

In many cases there are options for healthcare professionals to self-report a struggle with abuse or addiction. Being the first to notify your professional licensing and regulatory body, and with representation by a professional licensing attorney, physicians and nurses are likely to experience better results and a reduction in the risk of discipline or adverse action taken against them.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law, litigation and licensing firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Mount Regis Center website, Opiate Abuse & Addiction Effects, Signs & Symptoms.

Michael V. Favia speaks at CBA Administrative Law Committee Meeting Monday March 20

Come have lunch with the Chicago Bar Association Administrative Law Committee on Monday, March 20, from 12: 15 to 1:30 p.m. The topic is “Medical Cases Before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.”

There are many nuances of administrative law and professional regulation that apply in the review of cases involving health care professionals. Being a former Chief of Prosecutions at the IDFPR, then IDPR, Michael V. Favia is uniquely positioned in private practice to advise and represent individuals and organizations involving professional regulatory matters.

Also speaking at Monday’s lunch meeting are Ms. Susan Gold, Deputy Director for State Wide Enforcement, IDFPR, Division of Professional Regulation, and Mr. Donald Seasock, Chief Administrative Law Judge, IDFPR.

Monday’s Administrative Law Committee meeting is held at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 South Plymouth Court and lunch is available for purchase.

Earn Illinois MCLE credit based on the presentation length.

Use this link for more information and to learn how to use the webcast option to attend and earn credit.

 

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

Relaxed restrictions: Health care licenses and criminal convictions

On January 1, 2017, new laws on the books in Illinois took effect. Among the new laws passed was a bill to protect applicants for professional licenses who may also have a record of a criminal offense and conviction. Prior to the new law, applicants for health care licenses[i] were barred from applying for a professional health care license if they had been convicted of criminal offenses.

In fact, a 2011 law, now rescinded, had automatically and permanently revoked or denied licenses to certain health care professionals with certain past felony convictions. Imagine working in a health care career for years and being stripped of your license to work and earn a living. Those affected by the 2011 law may now move forward in applying for the reissue of their health care license.

Those previously stripped of licenses may seek relief:

New health care license applicants who may have been precluded from receiving a license prior to January 1 may now request the issuance of a health care license by the State of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Financial Regulation (IDFPR), who issues and regulates health care licenses and professionals, may no longer deny a request for a professional license solely on an applicant’s criminal record unless the conviction is directly related to the occupation for which the individual seeks a license.

“The new measure is part of ongoing efforts by Governor Rauner and legislators to remove unnecessary barriers to the professional licensure while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the public.[ii]

New opportunities for independent review:

Under the law, if an individual applies for a license to work in regulated health care position, and they have a criminal conviction, the individual may qualify for special review under the new law. The Petition for Review, timely filed, can be used to affirmatively establish that the individual has been rehabilitated from their conviction.

There are several factors to be considered by the IDFPR in reviewing Petitions for Review, such as the seriousness of the underlying criminal conviction, any prior disciplinary history associated with the applicant, and notably, the individual’s voluntary remedial actions. Remedial actions can help establish an individual accepting responsibility for an error, and when coupled with rehabilitation, the decreased chances of future errant actions.

Child support obligations:

The new rule also gives the IDFPR more discretion in disciplining a license holder who falls behind in child support obligation. While it may be true that some child support obligors knowingly fail to pay child support, others may fall behind unintentionally. When the health care worker is denied their license to earn a living, and they want to be current on their support obligation, taking their income away can further complicate the problem.

If you believe the new law applies to your health care career and opportunity to hold the proper license, whether you were previously denied, suspended or revoked, you should know that every situation is fact-specific and what applies to some may not apply to others. Call Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. for a comprehensive review of your professional licensing matter to learn if the new law may change your health care career outlook.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

 

[i] Note: Health care workers include doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and more.

[ii] IDFPR Press Release Dated 12/29/2016, A Pathway to Licensure: Changes to Law for Health Care Workers with Criminal Convictions.

Experience matters: Hiring the best healthcare licensing lawyer

How much did it cost you to become a licensed and practicing healthcare professional? While doing the math, in addition to the hard cost of tuition for many years of school, remember to include the opportunity cost of all else you may have done to earn money while you dedicated your life and career path to healthcare practice. In addition to money, the time and other resources invested in a healthcare practice are significant. It is safe to say that healthcare professionals have too much to lose to gamble with a licensing dispute or discipline.

There appears to be an increase in the coverage of healthcare discipline and regulation.

Doctors, dentists and nurses all understand that frivolous complaints are filed from time to time and the regulatory agency charged with oversight has a duty to follow up on any and all reported incidents. Even if you assume you are in the clear and can handle everything on your own, it is possible to stumble on an unknown regulatory or legal issue and it is never good to be caught off guard when defending your practice.

There are incentives for people to report the alleged misconduct of others, particularly in healthcare practice. Consider the amount of coverage given to cases of Medicare billing fraud. People who report Medicare fraud can receive compensation for being the whistleblower. A less than ethical individual may target practitioners with high volume practices if they think there is a chance an error may lie somewhere in the billing files, and they might get lucky.

When winning and defending your practice matters, so does experience.

The increase in demand for healthcare professionals leads to an increase in all the industries supporting healthcare practice, including the legal industry. As increased manpower and technology allows for more opportunities to regulate and oversee healthcare practices, there is an increased need for skilled and experienced attorneys to advise and represent licensed healthcare practitioners.

Chicago healthcare law and licensing attorney, Michael V. Favia humbly finds himself among the best healthcare attorneys in the State of Illinois. Favia’s career has afforded him the opportunity to work for the State as well as in private practice, on both sides of the fence. As a former chief prosecutor for the IDFPR, then the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, Favia is intimately familiar with the outlook and position of the Department, when it investigates and makes discretionary decisions whether to proceed with the investigations that can lead to discipline and serious consequences.

Read Michael V. Favia’s LinkedIn profile for a full list of career accolades and experience.

Working in private practice, counseling and representing Illinois-licensed healthcare practitioners, defending their licenses and careers, Favia has also had the opportunity to share experience and wisdom with other attorneys learning healthcare law. Only through many years of experience in the trenches does a professional develop the right intuition and knowledge base to be the senior practitioner to mentor others. In building his career, Favia has worked with other leading healthcare lawyers, associating and collaborating on cases; he is the one they turn to when they need additional counsel.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

Advising and representing resident physicians facing discipline and program termination

Physicians must complete residency training, practicing medicine in a hospital or clinic under the supervision of an attending physician before being allowed to practice alone without direct or indirect immediate oversight. Many remember the television show, House M.D., staring Hugh Laurie, the attending physician who challenged resident doctors, some of whom, were terminated or simply quit under pressure. Without completing a residency program, these doctors are limited to supervised medical practice. Depending on the program, residency can last three to seven years. When a resident physician is terminated from their residency program, it can stop their career path in its tracks; a resident cannot easily jump into a new program like students can retake classes. Options can include packing up and walking away, or taking prudent steps to save their career in medicine. There are legal considerations for terminated residency program participants.

The best time to talk to an attorney is before you are removed from a hospital residency program.

There are many potential reasons a resident physician could be facing termination from their residency program. In most cases, the procedures involved in terminating a resident involve a hearing before the hospital disciplinary board. Preparing for that hearing and being represented by a healthcare attorney is absolutely necessary when your medical career is on the line. When there are options to appeal a negative hospital disciplinary board decision, the window of team for filing an appeal is usually very short.

Your attorney will likely ask you for a copy of any and all relevant hospital procedures manuals as well as your evaluations, personnel files, and credentialing information. If you are in a position where there will be a hearing with a disciplinary board and you do not have an attorney present, it is best not to sign anything. When answering questions, it can be detrimental to offer more information than necessary to answer simple questions. If you can, talk to an attorney before a hearing before a disciplinary board so you can be prepared. The information you provide at a disciplinary hearing becomes part of the record, something to consider if you plan to appeal an adverse decision.

The results of a disciplinary board investigation and hearing can include suspension, resignation or termination.

While a temporary suspension may be undesirable and inconvenient, your residency is in less jeopardy than being affected by other forms of discipline. The board may weigh allegations of infractions against overall performance and likelihood of future errant practice. The tone of a resident in their response to board inquiry is significant. In the event of a decision to terminate the resident from their program can be followed by an appeal. Winning an appeal of a board finding and decision can be challenging.

The board may offer the resident an option to voluntarily resign from the residency program. A voluntary withdrawal or resignation can be less detrimental when applying to a new residency program in another health system.

Contractual duties and obligations affecting hospital residents.

Most resident programs require participants to sign an agreement containing the terms and conditions of the residency program. Some may want to file a lawsuit against the hospital in connection with an adverse residency program decision. Within most agreements there are provisions for dispute resolution and it is likely there is a mandatory binding arbitration provision. The results of arbitration and the decision of the arbitrator is binding and can be very difficult to overturn with an appeal. Therefore, unless there is clear errant action by the hospital or board, a complaint against them may not only fail to lead you to your requested relief, it may be a negative experience you may have to explain in the future.

The advice and counsel of an experienced health care law and professional licensing attorney is important to any resident physician who may be called to defend their conduct and practice.

For various reasons stated in this article, there are appropriate times to prepare for a hospital residency investigation or review before an administrative or disciplinary board. With the benefit of many years’ experience in working with discipline, public and private organizations overseeing medical practice, Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. can advise and represent any resident physician or similar healthcare professional facing review or discipline by administrative agencies and hospital boards. The earlier a potential problem is addressed, the more likely it is that a positive resolution can be obtained through the proper navigation and participation in the administrative process.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

Illinois Licensing: New law prevents denial of occupational licenses for certain criminal convictions

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law on August 22, 2016, opening the door to applicants for professional licenses who may have previously been rejected by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) for having certain past criminal convictions. The law only applies to a limited number of regulated professions in Illinois, a few of which are in the nature of cosmetic health care. The test as to whether the prior criminal conviction is excusable, for purposes of applying for an occupational license, is whether the nature of the underlying crime is directly related to the occupational practice for which the license is being sought. As the law is applied there may be applicants with questions about how this new law could affect them and what they can do if they were denied the opportunity to apply for an occupational license in the past. At Michael V. Favia & Associates, we represent Illinois professionals with all types of licensing matters.

The New Law opens the door to applicants for several licensed occupational positions in Illinois.

House Bill 5973 amends several Illinois statutes and changes references among laws, to reform occupational licensing to prevent the IDPFR, “from using irrelevant criminal convictions as a basis for denying licenses to applicants seeking to work as barbers, cosmetologists, hair braiders, estheticians, nail technicians, roofing business owners or funeral directors.[i]

Applying for jobs is difficult for individuals with prior criminal convictions. An occupational career may be a significantly better option to earn income.

There are thousands of various misdemeanor and felony laws in the Illinois statutes. Felony convictions make it challenging for ex-offenders applying for jobs, whether they served considerable time incarcerated or on probation. Particularly in the corporate job sector, a conviction can almost certainly prevent an applicant from being considered for a position. Under the new law, an individual with a criminal conviction can go to work in an occupational position and apply for a license to practice a craft in which they already have some valuable experience.

In several states, the laws regulating licensing for certain occupations and professionals are different. Roofing business owners, for example, may not be required to be state-licensed in a neighboring state. Consider an individual who owned and operated a roofing business who then moved to Illinois and learned that he or she would not be allowed to operate their business here due to a past criminal conviction for an offense that has nothing to do with the business of roofing. This individual would have likely been denied a license in Illinois until the passage of this new licensing reform law.

Small business owners and operators are important to the Illinois economy and this new reform law opens the door to new opportunities to hang an occupational shingle.

Individuals with valuable occupational skills can earn a significant income practicing their craft. From cosmetology to nail technicians and from funeral directors to roofers, there are a significant number of potential business owners who can now apply for an occupational license without fear of being denied for an irrelevant prior criminal conviction.

So long as the prior criminal conviction is not directly related to the licensed occupation, there should be no problem with the background requirements of an application to practice a licensed occupation, as required by the IDFPR. There can always be questions, however, how directly related a past conviction might be to the current occupation. In the event an applicant for an occupational license needs assistance with an application or believes they are wrongly being denied access to a license, the professional licensing attorneys and staff at Michael V. Favia & Associates are able to help.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Illinois Policy, Rauner Signs Occupational Licensing Reform Into Law, by Bryant Jackson-Green, Aug. 24, 2016.

PODCAST: The expanding role of nurses in the community with Elizabeth Carlson, PhD, RN

Today’s podcast interview with Doctor Elizabeth Carlson focuses on current trends and topics in the area of careers in nursing. In the next 30 minutes Doctor Carlson will talk to us about her career in nursing and healthcare and offer examples of opportunities in several nursing professions in demand today and in the years to come. Click/tap here to listen to the podcast interview.

Topics covered in this 30-minute interview:

  • Introducing Elizabeth Carlson, PhD, RN – tell us about your career path
  • Current trends in health care and the nursing profession specifically
  • Identifying various nursing professions; what they can and cannot do
  • Pathways from one degree level to the next; planning a nursing career path

Dr. Elizabeth A. Carlson has held a variety of clinical and academic positions of leadership at Rush University Medical Center since 1976. Beginning as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in critical care, she served as Interim Chairperson of Medical Nursing, which is a joint clinical and academic leadership position, and is currently Professor and Chairperson, Department of Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing, Rush College of Nursing. Dr. Carlson was recognized as a 2014 Pinnacle Leader by the Power of Nursing Leadership. She served as Program Director for Systems Leadership Doctor of Nursing Practice from 2012 to 2014. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree from the University of Michigan in 1973, her master of science in nursing degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1977, and her PhD from Rush University in 1988.

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Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to advise and represent health care professionals and the general Chicagoland community with a variety of legal issues. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion.

For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please call (773) 631-4580, visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You may also connect with Attorney Michael V. Favia on LinkedIn and on Avvo.com where you may also read client endorsements and reviews.