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What happens if a patient accuses a NY doctor of misconduct?

Regulating boards hold physicians to high standards. State law requires these medical professionals to provide quality care to their patients while staying abreast of changes within the medical profession. Patients who are unhappy with their care may file a complaint against the physician. In many cases, this involves a filing with New York’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC).

What is medical “misconduct” for these purposes?

The OPMC defines misconduct to include anything from the fraudulent practice of medicine to practicing while impaired by alcohol or drugs to claims of refusing to treat a patient due to the patient’s race or ethnicity. Misconduct for these purposes generally does not include complaints about the fees for medical services or the medical professional’s overall demeanor.

What happens if a patient files a misconduct complaint with the OPMC?

Here is a general timeline after the OPMC receives a complaint of misconduct:

  • Investigation. The organization requires evidence to support the claim. As such, they will send out investigative and medical staff to look into the complaint and see if evidence is present to substantiate the claim.
  • Hearing. If the staff is able to gather enough evidence to support the claim, they will hold a hearing. The hearing generally includes a presentation of the evidence to an investigation committee. The committee will then determine the next course of action.
  • Committee recommendation. This could include closing the case, an additional investigation or filing charges against the physician.

The process can take a couple of months or years for completion. Those who are the subject of such an investigation can seek legal counsel to represent their interests throughout the process.

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