Physical Therapy Malpractice Defense For You
Attorney for New York Physical Therapists
If you are a New York licensed physical therapist facing government investigation or disciplinary and criminal charges, we are here to help you! New York attorneys with Norman Spencer Law Group have years of experience representing physical therapists in just about any spectrum of legal field from insurance audits to the Office of Professional Discipline and state board of physical therapy investigations to federal criminal cases. Let’s discuss the common legal problems faced by New York physical therapists and how we can help.
New York Physical Therapy License Defense
One of the most common issues faced by physical therapists is dealing with allegations of professional misconduct. Physical therapists in New York are regulated by the state board of physical therapy. If a complaint is made against the licensee, the State Education Department Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) together with the state board of physical therapy will start an investigation.
First, let’s see what is considered professional misconduct in New York. The list of all types of professional misconduct is contained in state Education Law and is quite long. The most common and generic allegations of misconduct against New York physical therapists which we encounter in our practice include the following:
- Being convicted of any crime in any jurisdiction, not only in New York.
- Professional discipline by another state
- Fraudulent practice. This includes allegations of insurance and Medicaid fraudulent billing
- Poor record keeping practices
- Breach of boundaries situations, which include not only sexual contact with patients but also any other relationship which would go outside the scope of professional relationship.
When it comes to allegations of negligence, there are many different situation that can for basis for discipline. For example, we have seen many of the following:
- Failing to perform a sufficient evaluation of a patient
- Not providing adequate supervision of a patient during aqua therapy
- Allowing unlicensed person to provide treatment
- Using wrong modalities or causing harm to patients
Most disciplinary complaints against physical therapists originate from patients but some come from insurance companies, Medicaid, other states’ boards and law enforcement.
When an investigation begins, the physical therapist will be contacted by the Office of Professional Discipline by a letter. The OPD will almost always request patient records as well as for the physical therapist to come in for the interview with the investigator. A word of advice here. If you are faced with a disciplinary investigation in New York, you are obligated to cooperate with the investigators by turning over the patient records or other documents to them. However, you are not obligated to speak with them. In fact, we always recommend that you speak with a qualified lawyer before making any statements to the investigators. What most people don’t realize is that the investigator’s only job is to build a case against the target and it is done by collecting evidence. Any statement made to them is evidence and will be used against the target. While some cases are quite defensible and no harm will come to the physical therapist by speaking with the investigator, in most situations this is not the case. Always seek legal advice when confronted with legal problems.
When the investigation is over, the investigative committee will recommend filing charges against the physical therapist or dismissing the case. If there is sufficient evidence that the licensee has committed professional misconduct, it will be recommended that charges are brought against them as well as the proposed penalty.
Penalties in PT professional misconduct cases can range from fines and probation to license suspension to license revocation. Our physical therapy defense attorneys can help at every step of the way either by fighting to have the charges dismissed or by negotiating an acceptable settlement with the state in order to resolve the case. If necessary, we defend our client throughout the process all the way to the full hearing before the board.
When choosing a lawyer to represent you before the board and the OPD, you need to understand that this is a highly specialized field and most attorneys are inexperienced in handling PT disciplinary cases. Always check the lawyer’s credentials first and beware of claims made on attorney websites or hiring a lawyer based on those claims. Also, you should be cautious when a lawyer offers to accompany you to the OPD interview. If you make damaging statements to the investigators, it doesn’t matter if your lawyer sits right next to you. We invite you to call our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your case directly with Norman Spencer before you make your decision.
Criminal Defense of Physical Therapists in New York
Another serious issue faced by New York physical therapists is criminal prosecution. Most criminal cases against NY physical therapists involve the following:
- No Fault Insurance Fraud
- Medicaid and Medicare Fraud
- Sexual misconduct
We have been defending physical therapists in state and federal courts for over a decade at all stages of the criminal process from the initial investigation to trials. If you face criminal charges, call us today to discuss your case. Before you do, though, we strongly recommend not discussing anything with law enforcement as you may be seriously jeopardizing your chances of a successful outcome.
If you are a physical therapist in need of the best legal representation in New York, contact our office today to set up an immediate consultation.