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Seven Things To Know When You Receive A Notice Of Investigation From The Department Of Health

Board Certification

Board Certification Representation, ABIM Representation, Board Certification Exam Challenges, Medical Exam Cheating Defense, Representation Before the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Representation, and United States Medical Licensing Examination (U.S.M.L.E.) Challenges and Representation

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys have represented many physicians in applying for and becoming admitted to various medical specialties. Often being called upon to provide advice or hearing representation when an application is denied, we have been of assistance to many physicians.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm have represented physicians and dentists in challenging and appealing the results of medical board, dental board and board certification examinations. Often this may be as simple as requesting a rescoring or regarding of the examination or a certain part of it. Sometimes because of problems at a test site or because of technical problems, retesting is an option. Most recently we have received numerous consultations by and requests for representation of physicians accused of cheating or obtaining an unfair advantage on certification examinations, STEP 1 or STEP 2 exams. We have recently been consulted on issues related to ABIM certification and ECFMG USMLE prep courses and allegations that physicians had access to actual test questions in advance or provided exam questions to others after taking the exam.

For an article on students whose Step 1 and Step 2 scores were invalidated because of association with the Optima University, LLC, review course and a copy of the federal law suit against Optima University, LLC, click here.

For a copy of the federal court complaint filed in NBME & FSMB v. Optima University, LLC, Case No. 1:09-cv-01043, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tenn, click here. (pdf)

For a copy of the federal court complaint filed in American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) v. Arora, Case No. 2:09-cv-05707, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, click here. (pdf)

For a copy of the Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and its supporting Memorandum of Law in the same case, click here. (pdf)

If a physician is accused of cheating, is accused of obtaining an unfair advantage on an exam, or has his or her certification suspended or revoked, it is crucial to take immediate action to appeal this and to request a hearing on it. Every certifying organization has a detailed hearing process to ensure the applicant has due process of law and a fair hearing. Failure to act promptly will result in permanent action being imposed that will most probably affect future your ability to obtain a license in a another state, to obtain clinical privileges at a hospital, to be a participating physician on health insurance panels and to be a participating physician in Medicare and Medicaid programs. It will obviously affect future employment opportunities.

Proper representation in such matters may clear up any alleged improprieties that are thought to have existed. Often it can be proven to a hearing committee’s satisfaction that the physician did not participate in the misconduct alleged, did not have access to the materials involved, or did not take advantage of an opportunity to cheat. Sometimes, where it is a matter of proving the existence of qualifications to be certified, we have been able to offer substitute information or documentation to show this. We have successfully used polygraph examination (lie detector test) reports and experts as well as foreign education specialists as experts in such cases.

The Health Law Firm has represented or consulted with physicians or other health professionals appearing before or challenging actions taken against them by the ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) concerning the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination), ABOto (American Board of Otolaryngology), the ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine), the AAPS (American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.), the NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy), the NBCRNA (National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists) and other national certifying organizations.

The Health Law Firm also represents physicians and other health providers in administrative hearings, administrative licensing cases and in appeals of adverse actions by state licensing boards and state and federal administrative agencies.

The Health Law Firm also represents parties in civil litigation, in state and federal courts. Please see Commercial Litigation for more information.

For more information on The Health Law Firm’s attorneys’ representation of physicians in fair hearings, credentials hearings, peer review hearings and clinical privileges hearings, please see Fair Hearings for more information.

The Health Law Firm also represents medical school students, residents, interns and fellows in academic disputes, graduate medical education (GME) disputes. Please see Education Law for more information.

Additionally, we have represented physicians in investigations and hearings by their medical specialty college or organization in matters involving complaints, peer review, questions regarding false applications, and other matters. Familiar with the goals and concerns of medical specialty boards and colleges, we bring to bear our legal experience in producing experts and documentary evidence which addresses the concerns of the members who may be called by a hearing panel or credentials committee.

Our attorneys have also presented lectures and seminars to many medical specialty groups, associations and colleges, including The American College of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons, the Florida Society of Rheumatology, The American Society of Radiology, and, most recently, the American College of Surgeons at its annual meeting in October in San Francisco. To view a slide show (power point) of the portion of Mr. Indest’s presentation on “Peer Review: the physician’s perspective” from the seminar entitled “Peer Review: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”presented at The American College of Surgeons annual meeting, October, 2005, click here.