Tag Archives: Health Law

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 joined panelists speaking at 8th Annual Illinois Administrative Law Conference

The Illinois Bureau of Administrative Hearings recently held its 8th Annual Illinois Administrative Law Conference, focusing on training specifically geared toward the distinct functions of State adjudicators and those involved in the practice of administrative law before State hearings units.

Speaking at the full day conference, Michael V. Favia[i] joined colleagues, Carrie Chapman[ii] and Mary Kathryn Curry[iii] to present as the Practitioner’s Panel, sharing the view from the counsel table, talking about the legal issues and elements of administrative law cases that attorneys address in litigation and defense of individuals at State hearings.

The conference welcoming and introduction was delivered by general counsel for Gov. Rauner, Dennis Murashko, who introduced the keynote speaker, Hon. Rita Garman, Illinois Supreme Court Justice.

Subjects in the conference training included:

  • Cultural Competence in Administrative Law
  • View from Counsel Table: Practitioner’s Panel
  • The Role of the ALJ: Procedural Fairness and the Administrative Process
  • Evidence for ALJs
  • Central Panels in the U.S.
  • Ethical Issues Facing ALJs

Use this conference press link for more information about this conference and names of individual panelists and speakers.

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] Michael V. Favia is the principal attorney at Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C., a health law, litigation and licensing firm.

[ii] Carrie Chapman is the Director of Policy Advocacy and Strategic Innovation for the Legal Council for Health Justice

[iii] Mary Kathryn Curry is an associate attorney at the Polsinelli law firm in the area of labor and employment defense and litigation

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.

 

How do I spot and address nursing home neglect?

Keep in mind and be on the lookout for signs of nursing home neglect.

Keep in mind and be on the lookout for signs of nursing home neglect.

Too often nowadays adult children are busy working and raising families and must rely on senior care and nursing home facilities to care for their aging parents. As costs of care facilities are on the rise and budgets are being cut there are fewer healthcare professionals spending less time with our moms and dads in their care. What is more concerning is the possibility of fraud and abuse against our parents, whether that abuse be financial, emotional or physical. Nursing and senior care operations have a duty to provide care and not abuse and neglect the residents.

When abuse and neglect occurs, it can lead to damages including injury and death. Health law and litigation law firms such as ours advocate and enforce family members’ rights to the level of care and service that should be provided to our loved ones.

It is important to pay close attention to the facility and staff providing care for your loved one. If you know what signs to look for you may be better able to direct your attention and efforts to ensure the best level of care is given. Would you know what to do if your mother or father complained of mistreatment in a nursing home? Do you know if the facility is properly dispensing medications as prescribed? How could you detect a problem if your loved one is not naturally able to identify or report a problem or lack of care?

Keep in mind and be on the lookout for signs of nursing home neglect:

  • Medical: How well is your loved one’s medicine chart maintained and how can you verify that all the medications are being properly consumed? Consider whether enough attention is given to current medical conditions and preventing them from becoming worse. Where physical therapy and exercise is a part of a health plan, make sure the opportunities are present and engaged.
  • Personal Hygiene: You can often tell how well an individual is really being cared for when their hygiene and grooming is considered. Is your loved one being dressed properly and receiving a proper level of dignified care? If the staff does not care how the patients look, you might start asking some questions.
  • Emotional and Social: Make sure the staff has a good relationships with your loved one. Ask questions to see what kind of things are discussed and whether family is brought up or discussed. Does mom or dad ask about their family or when people are coming by? Especially when dementia may be a factor in the socialization of an elderly parent, it is important to always make sure people are treated with respect and proper emotional attention.
  • Basic Needs: Look to see if your loved one has any necessary restrictions to mobility or assisted mobility devices and is everything set up correctly. Find out about meals and how restricted and special diets are managed. Look around at other patients you observe because what may be experienced by one resident could be true for the others.

If you are concerned your loved one is not receiving proper care and treatment in a senior community or nursing home and you fear there might be a neglect problem, you can always ask for our help. You may not need to go so far as to file a lawsuit to achieve a desired result. Often we can work with care facilities to address problems and help find solutions to elder care concerns.

If you are interested in learning more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, serving Chicago and its suburban communities, please visit the Favia Law Firm website for resources and articles of interest. To contact the firm to speak to a lawyer about a healthcare-related concern, you may dial (773) 631-4580. For more information about the firm’s practice areas, you can also visit the firm’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Please “Like” and “Follow” respectively to keep in touch!

Medical overreach: Are doctors forcing medical treatments against the will of patients?

Can a state force you to receive medical treatment?

Can a state force you to receive medical treatment?

Too often, we hear stories about medical neglect cases where patients do not receive enough care or there is an alleged failure of doctors and hospitals to meet their duty to treat patients to the best of their ability. Now consider the other side of the coin where doctors could be liable for over-treating patients and forcing them to undergo unwanted procedures and treatments. In recent news a 17-year-old teenager from Connecticut has been, “forcibly implanted with a port in her chest and has been ordered to accept chemotherapy against her will.[i]” As awareness increases, there may be more allegations of medical overreach with possible medical malpractice claims.

Can a state force you to receive medical treatment?

Cassandra Fortin is seventeen-years-old and she has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system, part of her immune system. “In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system. As Hodgkin’s lymphoma progresses, it compromises your body’s ability to fight infection.[ii]

A combination of chemotherapy drugs are commonly used to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, they call the combinations regimens. The side effects of chemotherapy drugs[iii] are variable and many doctors prescribe medicines to control or reduce side effects like sickness and diarrhea. In addition to being sick the side effects of the regimens can also be a low blood cell count, sore mouth and ulcers, hair loss and thinning and feeling tired and run down. Cancer treatment is not a pleasant process.

Despite her refusal to participate in chemotherapy, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that, “The state did not violate Cassandra’s rights when it forced her to take chemotherapy treatments for her Hodgkin’s lymphoma.[iv]” Cassandra decided to refuse chemo because she “did not want to put poison[v]” in her body.

The decision for the court was whether under the Mature Minor Doctrine, Cassandra could “understand and appreciate” consequences of refusing treatment. The court found that she was not mature enough at age seventeen, and was not a mature minor for the purposes of refusing care in her case.[vi]

The State of Illinois recognizes the Mature Minor Exception.

“The Illinois Supreme Court has recognized a common law “mature minor doctrine,” pursuant to which a trial judge can adjudicate a minor mature enough to consent to or refuse medical treatment where the evidence is clear and convincing that the minor is mature enough to appreciate the consequences of her actions and to exercise the judgment of an adult.[vii]

If you or a family member have questions about treatments and the refusal thereof, or an issue regarding medical treatments arises, our attorneys can answer your questions about healthcare and the law.

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to help and meet for client consultations with offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs so 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 visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[i] Inquisitr: Medical Overreach, Forcing Unwanted Treatments On Unwilling Patients, Jan 10, 2015.

[ii] May Clinic Diseases and Conditions: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

[iii] Cancer Research UK: Chemotherapy drugs for Hodgkin lymphoma.

[iv] Inquisitr: Cassandra Fortin Can’t Say ‘No,’ Connecticut Supreme Court Allows State To Force Teen To Undergo Chemo, Jan 8, 2015.

[v] See HN iv.

[vi] See HN iv.

[vii] In re E.G., 133 Ill.2d 98 (Ill.1990).