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Social media posts land two NY doctors in hot water

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Physicians & Physicians Groups |

It is no surprise that state medical boards hold physicians to high standards. Doctors must be more than just good at their profession; they must also be “good” people. The board frowns upon licensing those who are not in good moral standing. This can mean that anyone with a criminal conviction may find themselves subject to an official investigation and possibly face suspension or revocation of their professional license.

But criminal activity is not the only thing that can get a doctor in trouble with the board.

Bad choices on social media can be just as dangerous.

In a recent example, healthcare facilities removed two physicians after they made social media posts about the Israel-Hamas war. One was officially fired, the other reinstated to his position shortly after removal. Healthcare professionals can learn two important lessons from these vastly different responses to similar actions:

  1. Reaction matters. More than 100,000 individuals signed a petition in support of the physician who was reinstated. This outpouring of community support may have played a role in his reinstatement.
  2. Expertise matters. When your license is on the line, it is important to gather a team to help fight back against this type of unfair treatment. An attorney specialized in this niche form of healthcare law can help to defend your license so you can focus on your patients.

It is also important to keep in mind that professional bodies often update their guidelines regarding social media use. Keep updated of any new policies from the New York State Medical Board and other relevant organizations that may impact your practice. It can also help to increase your awareness of the appropriate use of social media by attending workshops or seminars on digital professionalism.

By following these best practices, doctors can leverage social media to enhance their professional standing while upholding their ethical obligations. As the cases highlight above, it is important to remember that online actions can have real-world consequences. If you chose to engage with social media, do so mindfully and professionally.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.

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