A 59 year-old cardiologist faces larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance charges in New York. Local police and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the physician and accuse him of stealing hydrocodone pills and other medications from patients.
New York’s Attorney General’s Office has not stated whether or not the physician will face prosecution for these alleged crimes.
What are the repercussions of these types of allegations?
Repercussions for allegations of criminal activity can cause serious harm to a physician’s career. In addition to damage to the doctor’s professional reputation, the physician’s medical license could be at risk.
A review by the Medical Board is likely. This can lead to suspension of the physician’s medical license.
What will happen in this case?
The physician in question does not have history of medical malpractice or criminal convictions. There were previous administrative incidents when the physician practiced in North Carolina.
Two separate incidents occurred while the physician practiced in North Carolina. The first involved an incident while on call. The physician admitted to consuming some wine before called in to complete a procedure. When asked to provide a blood sample, he provided the sample of a patient’s instead of his own. The board suspended his license for two months.
The second incident involved a positive test for the presence of cocaine and hydrocodone. As a result, the doctor’s medical license was indefinitely suspended in 2004. He was required to submit to drug testing and received a temporary license two years after the incident in 2006. His license was completely reinstated in 2006.
The physician has no record of disciplinary actions in New York. The board will likely take this into account when making its determination. It remains unclear whether or not criminal prosecution will follow.
Physicians in this or similar situations are wise to build a strong defense to the allegations as soon as possible. A proactive approach can better ensure their professional reputation and medical license are protected throughout the process.