Barry Covert, a senior partner at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, wrote a guest column that appeared in the March 27 issue of the Buffalo Law Journal. In “Legally defending a professional license is not just about protecting a career”, Mr. Covert explains several issues related to professional licensing defense, including how nursing licenses are obtained, what could put a professional license in jeopardy, how a professional license can be protected, and what an attorney’s role is in the process.
The full article is available on the Buffalo Law Journal website.
There are several professions in New York State that cannot be performed without a license. These professions include teaching, engineering, accounting, practicing law, and the various medical fields, including nursing. In order to become a nurse, a person must go through years of education and practical training. Once this has happened, they can be officially licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department.
Several circumstances could put a nursing license in jeopardy, including serious allegations of professional misconduct such as:
- Filing false reports
- Administering expired vaccinations
- Diverting drugs and medications for personal use
Professional Assistance Program
In his article, Mr. Covert explained that drug diversion for personal use is part of the substance abuse epidemic that is prevalent both locally and nationally. If attorneys suspect that their clients are struggling with addiction, there are certain programs that attorneys can recommend to protect their clients’ careers and professional licenses. The Professional Assistance Program, or PAP, is one such program, which focuses on licensed professionals struggling with substance abuse. The PAP allows professionals who have not harmed patients or clients to voluntarily surrender their licenses and receive treatment without being subject to professional misconduct charges. Discharge from the PAP requires that the individual present sufficient evidence that they have made progress in recovery and have met the requirements of the program. The individual’s attorney can guide them through these proceedings.
If a complaint of misconduct is filed against a licensed professional, an investigation will take place. If the investigation finds enough evidence, disciplinary action will be taken. The professional’s attorney can navigate their client though this process and ensure their rights are protected. Penalties for misconduct can range anywhere from advisory letters to license revocation, depending on the seriousness of the allegations. If a license is revoked or suspended, the person must wait at least three years before they can have it restored.
About Barry N. Covert
Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.
This post does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.