Revoking License Of Health Professionals

Most health professions have some form of regulation to ensure the competence of their members. A license is a legal document that allows an individual to offer a set of services to the public for compensation (payment). Licensure is obtained by passing an oral and a written examination.To be eligible to take a medical physician licensing examination, an individual must:
● complete education requirements through an approved medical school.
● complete an approved residency program.
● attain an age of majority, which is a legal recognition of adulthood as defined by an individual state so that a person can enter legally binding contracts with others (something a child is not legally allowed to do).
When a person passes the licensure examination in a given state, she can obtain a license to practice medicine in another state by a process of reciprocity. Simply stated, reciprocity is one state accepting the current license of a practitioner from another state. When a physician obtains a license to practice medicine, she is able to practice within the scope of her specialty for compensation. Licenses must be renewed every two years and state dues must be paid each year. Proof of continuing education as well as proof of 5 hours of risk management training is required in all states. If the license is not renewed by the deadline, it becomes invalid, medical malpractice insurance becomes inactive, and the individual cannot practice medicine. Practicing medicine without a license by failing to renew a license but continuing to treat patients is a felony, a serious crime that usually carries a stiff penalty, such as imprisonment. The law makes no distinction between a physician who lets her license expire and a person who never went to medical school and represents herself as a physician. Each individual is committing a felony and can be punished in a court of law under the guidelines for a felony conviction.

Revoking a License

A state may revoke a physician’s license for just cause, including:
1) conviction of a crime
2) felony—murder, rape, practicing without a license, selling prescription drugs or signed prescription pads
3) fraud—billing for treatments never provided, changing dates of service, falsifying medical records.
4) unprofessional conduct
5) addiction to drugs or alcohol
6) breach of confidentiality
7) false advertising
8) unethical behaviors toward patients
9) inability to perform duties
10 fee splitting or other inappropriate billing practices.
In addition to maintaining her own licensure and continuing education, a physician is legally responsible for the actions of her employees while on the job. Because a physician is directly responsible for the actions of her medical assistant employee, a physician employer depends on credentialing of medical assistants to ensure proper training. Medical assistants can become certified through the AAMA or the AMT. Certification of a medical assistant can be a deciding factor in a physician’s choice of which candidate to hire as an employee and patient care agent.

Scope of Practice

Whether the health care provider is licensed (such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, osteopath, or registered nurse) or certified (such as a medical assistant), that professional must practice within her scope of practice, or the range of services a professional can offer, based on training, ability, and licensure. For example, a pediatrician may not fill cavities in a patient’s teeth. A dentist is not licensed to give immunizations to a patient. The medical assistant who performs medical procedures that she is untrained or unlicensed to do is putting the practice at risk for a lawsuit, or litigation. In such a suit, a patient can seek legal action against the practice or medical assistant. Such action may result in monetary compensation to the patient for harm done by the unlawful actions of the medical assistant or the physician’s failure to oversee her actions appropriately. Even if injury to the patient does not occur, the consequences may still be significant, including legal expenses, damage to the reputation of the practice, and even loss of licensure. For example, medical assistants can be trained to assist in minor office surgery but cannot perform the surgery itself. If a physician were to allow an unlicensed employee to perform an office surgery, the physician’s license would be revoked or suspended.