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New York OPMC Attorney | NYC OPMC Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | September 7, 2011
(Last Updated On: October 13, 2023)

Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 02:07 am

New York OPMC Attorney – What You Need to Know

If you are a physician, physician assistant, or other medical professional licensed in New York, you may one day find yourself dealing with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). The OPMC is responsible for investigating and prosecuting complaints of professional misconduct against medical professionals in New York. Facing an OPMC investigation can be stressful and frightening, but with the right legal representation you can get through it. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the OPMC, typical investigations, your rights and responsibilities, potential penalties, and why hiring an experienced OPMC defense attorney is so important.

What is the New York OPMC?

The OPMC is a branch of the New York State Department of Health. It is responsible for investigating complaints, conducting hearings, and disciplining physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, and others under its jurisdiction when they are found guilty of professional misconduct.Some key things to know about the OPMC:

  • It has broad authority to investigate alleged professional misconduct and impose discipline on those it regulates.
  • It can initiate investigations based on complaints from patients, colleagues, hospitals, insurers, and others. A single complaint is enough to trigger an investigation.
  • Its investigators have backgrounds in healthcare, law enforcement, and insurance fraud investigation. They take all complaints seriously, even anonymous or seemingly frivolous ones.
  • It is exempt from HIPAA privacy regulations, meaning physicians under investigation must provide patient records when requested. Failure to cooperate is considered misconduct in itself.

Typical OPMC Investigations

If a complaint has been made against you, here is what you can expect in a typical OPMC investigation:

  • You will receive a letter informing you of the complaint and investigation. This may request that you provide written information or records.
  • An investigator may contact you requesting an interview. You are not required to submit to an interview, and it’s usually advisable to consult an attorney before agreeing to one. Anything you say can be used against you.
  • The investigator will interview the complainant and other witnesses, gather pertinent records, and prepare an investigation report.
  • If the findings warrant, the case will be referred to a 3-member Investigation Committee – two physicians and one layperson. They review the evidence and recommend whether formal charges should be filed.
  • If charges are filed, you will have the opportunity to settle the case via a consent agreement or take the matter to a hearing before a committee of the OPMC’s Board for Professional Medical Conduct.
  • After a hearing, the committee will make a determination and recommend potential penalties to the full board.
  • You have the right to administratively appeal any adverse decision to the Administrative Review Board (ARB). After the ARB, you can file an Article 78 proceeding in NY court.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

As the subject of an OPMC investigation, you have important rights, including:

  • The right to legal representation – have an experienced OPMC defense attorney advise and represent you through the process.
  • The right against self-incrimination – you cannot be compelled to make self-incriminating statements.
  • The right to obtain and review evidence – including the complaint, witness statements, investigation report, etc.
  • The right to hearing by committee and appeal.

You also have key responsibilities:

  • Duty to cooperate – you must comply with requests for records, but are not compelled to submit to an interview.
  • Duty not to obstruct – destroying evidence or interfering with the investigation can lead to charges.
  • Duty to report – you may need to report the investigation to hospitals, insurers, etc.

Knowing your rights and responsibilities will help you safely navigate the investigation process.

Potential Penalties in OPMC Cases

If charges are substantiated and you are found guilty of professional misconduct, potential penalties imposed by the OPMC include:

  • Letter of reprimand
  • Probation
  • License suspension
  • License revocation
  • Fines (up to $10,000 per violation)
  • Practice limitations or monitoring
  • Continuing education or training
  • Community service

Penalties will depend on the nature of the violation and mitigating factors. Many cases are resolved via consent agreements, which allow negotiated settlements. However, some violations may result in license revocation.

Why Hire an OPMC Defense Attorney?

Facing an OPMC investigation is serious business. Your medical license and career are on the line. Having an experienced OPMC defense lawyer represent you can make all the difference. Here are some key reasons why:

  • They know OPMC procedures inside-out – The process is complex, having an expert guide is invaluable.
  • They can get charges reduced or dismissed – An attorney knows how to effectively challenge allegations and build a strategic defense.
  • They negotiate favorable settlements – Consent agreements allow negotiated settlements that may avoid harsher penalties.
  • They defend your rights – Ensuring your rights are protected throughout the investigation.
  • They save your license – In worst cases, an attorney can argue for lesser discipline, preserving your ability to practice.
  • They handle communications – Allowing the attorney to interface with OPMC prevents missteps.
  • They have specialized expertise – There are many legal nuances specific to OPMC cases that general lawyers may not know.

Choosing the Right OPMC Defense Attorney

If you are facing an OPMC investigation in New York, the stakes are high. Having the right legal representation on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome. When choosing an OPMC defense attorney, be sure to select one with specific experience handling these types of cases. Look for things like:

  • A proven track record of positive results in OPMC cases.
  • In-depth knowledge of OPMC rules, procedures, and strategies.
  • Experience representing physicians before OPMC committees and appeals.
  • Settlement negotiation skills – ability to secure consent agreements.
  • Litigation skills – ability to mount a strong defense at hearing if needed.
  • Good standing and reputation with OPMC representatives.
  • Strong references from past physician clients.
  • Reasonable fees – avoids overcharging.

Doing your research to find the right OPMC lawyer for your specific situation can give you the best chances of a favorable resolution.

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