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

Indian Health Service (IHS) Physician Representation, Public Health Service (PHS) Physician Representation, Veterans Administration (VA) Physician Representation and Military Physician Representation

Indian Health Service (IHS) Physician Representation, Public Health Service (PHS) Physician Representation, Veterans Administration (VA) Physician Representation and Military Physician Representation

The The Health Law Firm attorneys represent and consult with physicians employed by the Indian Health Service (IHS), including the Alaskan Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Public Health Service (PHS), the Veterans Administration (VA) and the military services (Army, Navy and Air Force).

We have represented Indian Health Service physicians, Public Health Service physicians, VA physicians, military physicians and other professionals working in VA medical centers and clinics throughout the United States. Representation has included defending depositions, consultations regarding Federal Tort Claims, National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) actions and appeals, peer review investigations, clinical privileges actions, fair hearings, disciplinary actions and personnel and employment issues.

If a complaint involving allegations of lack of clinical competence or skill is made, it is extremely important for the physician or nurse practitioner to retain the services of an experienced health lawyer to represent him or her immediately.  This is not the time to seek the cheapest attorney you can find.  You need skilled representation by an advocate who knows medical terminology, understands medical issues and procedures, knows physicians, and has experience with fair hearings.

VA Physician Representation

VA Handbook 1100.19, Credentialing and Privileging, requires that the VA hospital afford you due process of law and fundamental fairness at every step of the process in any clinical privileges action.  This includes timely advance notice of the specific allegations made against you, the evidence that is to be used against you, legal representation, advance notice of witnesses and documents that may be introduced against you, the opportunity to prepare a defense to the allegations, the right to cross examine witnesses, the right to introduce evidence (documents and witnesses, including expert witnesses) in your defense, a neutral and unbiased hearing panel, and other such rights.  Attorneys who are not familiar with such hearings may be unaware of your rights or how to properly exercise and safeguard them.

Don’t seek legal advice from your colleagues, from your accountant or from an attorney who does not specialize in such matters. We don’t recommend shopping around for the cheapest attorney you can find.  Please do not hire a personal injury attorney, a civil litigation attorney, and employment law attorney or any other attorney without health law experience.  Your professional life, career and medical license are at stake.  You are in the fight of your life.  Treat it as such.

If you were diagnosed with a brain tumor, would you attempt to perform your own brain surgery?  Would you shop around to find the cheapest neurosurgeon to perform the surgery?  Or would you look for the best?  Yet, physicians routinely believe they can represent themselves in such matters.  In our experience, this simply is not the case.

Far too frequently we are contacted by physicians after the investigation has been completed, after the hearing has been held and after the physician’s clinical privileges have been revoked.  Except for an appeal on narrow grounds, little can be done.

If the VA revokes your clinical privileges, by regulation, this will be reported to the NPDB and to every state in which you have a license.  The NPDB report remains on your file for 50 years.  Any time in the future you apply for clinical privileges, for a medical license or for medical malpractice insurance, this report will come up and cause you serious problems.  It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain employment or to obtain clinical privileges in any hospital or institution with such a NPDB report on your file.  Additionally, any state in which you hold a license will also open an investigation against your medical license.

NPDB reports can be mitigated by filing an explanatory rebuttal (as is your right) or by filing a request for a Secretarial Review (appeal).  We can do this for you.  However, it is best to prevent a NPDB report from being filed to begin with.

If you want to pursue action in any of these matters, do not wait. You may only have a short period of time in which to bring a claim or file documents to protect your rights to do so. After a certain period of time, you will lose your right to bring any sort of action.

For additional information on our representation of VA physicians, nurses, advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) and employees, click here.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call (407) 331-6620 for a consultation now or complete the contact form on our website.