Defense Attorneys for New York Psychologists
Many years of focus and dedicated effort go into becoming a New York psychologist and building a well regarded practice. Nevertheless, an accusation of professional misconduct can quickly steal away everything these devoted professionals worked so hard to establish. At Joseph Potashnik & Associates, our healthcare law team has successfully defended a goodly number of New York psychologists and social workers who have faced misconduct charges that might have otherwise ended their careers.
Disciplinary Process for Accused Psychologist
Complaints of professional misconduct made by patients are the number one cause of disciplinary cases brought against New York psychologists. New York State Education Law details about 40 different kinds of activities that can be classed as professional misconduct in New York. That said, only a handful are among the most common. These include:
Due to the fact that psychologists serve a vulnerable patient class, they are under a much higher degree of scrutiny by licensing authorities. Indeed, this renders any misconduct allegation against a psychologist particularly punitive in its consequences for that doctor’s career.
Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) in New York
From the time a complaint gets filed, it immediately goes to the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD). The OPD wields the authority to investigate and prosecute New York’s large caseload of professional misconduct. They begin an investigation by sending a letter out by mail to inform the target of the investigation. In the letter, the investigator requests patient records to assist in the investigation, and usually also attempts to get the psychologist to schedule an interview with the OPD investigator.
Indeed, under such circumstances, New York psychologists are obligated to submit their patient records as requested, although it is not mandatory to honor the interview request. The attorneys here at Joseph Potashnik & Associates caution clients against voluntarily interviewing with an investigator, because any and all remarks the client makes to the investigator can be used against him or her.
Submitting to an interview with an investigator before speaking with an attorney can be particularly ruinous for psychologists, since the nature of their practice means that much of the evidence is likely to be based on what took place in one-on-one therapy sessions. Even when the allegations of misconduct are not completely accurate compared to what actually occurred, they can cause extensive damage. The role of the investigator is to gather evidence against the accused target, and they are highly adept at accomplishing exactly that.
Why Your License Defense Lawyer Is So Important
In actual fact, it’s paramount for a New York psychologist who finds himself the subject of an investigation to meet with an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible, before he attempts to respond to an investigation letter at all. When selecting your lawyer for professional license defense, you should have one that has a proven track record in the highly specific field of OPD license.
It is worth noting that if an attorney offers to accompany you to an interview with the OPD investigators, the simple presence of a lawyer is not enough to protect you from making statements that could render a severe effect on the results of your case.
As opposed to offering to go with you to the interview, a knowledgeable OPD attorney will take a very different approach. After discussing your case with you in detail, your attorney can speak directly to the investigator herself, and then lay out a game plan for the most effective strategy for your defense.
Disciplinary Charges Psychologists Could Face
At the end of the investigation, the OPD determines whether or not it has enough evidence to file formal disciplinary charges. The prosecuting attorney assigned to your case will contact the psychologist’s attorney with a proposal.
From that point, the psychologist has the choice of either negotiating a consent agreement with the state or going ahead with a disciplinary hearing. Resolving a case by a consent agreement is akin to taking a plea agreement in criminal cases. The defendant cops to misconduct for a lower penalty, which could include some form of disciplinary action and could very well become public record.
Potential disciplinary charges a psychologist can face vary from reprimand and censure to fines and probation, right up to license suspension or even revocation. The outcome relies upon the details of the overall case, and also the quality of proof the prosecutor presents. In light of the fact that there is so much at stake, and so much of it relying upon what the investigation is able to reveal, the reason it’s so important to hire an experienced lawyer as early in the investigative process as you can becomes abundantly clear.
Our license defense team at Joseph Potashnik & Associates are at your beck and call. Over the years, we have assisted numerous psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals in license defense cases that represent nearly every potential legal problem licensed healthcare professionals could face in the State of New York.
We have racked up an impressive track record defending psychologists before the OPD and other law enforcement agencies. Also, we have handled multiple cases representing psychologists in Medicaid and insurance billing problems.
Whatever legal issue you might be facing at the moment as a New York licensed psychologist, your move is to come to the lawyers at Joseph Potashnik & Associates to stand by you. Make an appointment for your initial consultation today.