Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
September 17, 2020
DDS gets 12 years for extraction on hoverboard
Reminder that professionalism matters! A true story I regularly use for training on exposure - medical note from a resident reflected the following sidebar - "little old lady fell out of her bed, a few inches left and she would have been dead." This resident was denied licensure. OPMC cares about your level of professionalism. Your colleagues care. Your patients care. You should care because if you do not you risk exposing yourself. Sometimes the lines can seem blurry in our new normal/more casual environment. Friendly reminder not to confuse perhaps a more relaxed dress code or formality with more zoom and less in person with less professionalism.
OPMC Requesting Prescribing Patterns Information
I previously received a letter from the NYS Department of Health Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) requesting information about my prescribing patterns for a patient I treated. Is there anything I should be doing to protect myself from these inquiries?
Very timely question! An initial letter requesting information on a patient is not necessarily cause for concern. By law, the New York State Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) must investigate all complaints filed, regardless of whether they are frivolous or not. OPMC’s purpose is to investigate claims made against a medical practitioners regarding misconduct.
We have seen complaints regarding prescribing patterns from a number questionably legitimate sources, and some very legitimate, varying from a patient who is annoyed that you won’t refills are cut off, pharmacists raising a flag, overbearing parents, or NYS investigating an overdose. Full gambit. Regardless of the precipitating reason for the inquiry, upon receipt you will not find yourself on the defensive justifying your prescribing pattern and practices. Thankfully the recipient of the complaint at OPMC (the investigator) is usually a licensed healthcare professional with experience in patient care, someone familiar and able to identify if you are adhering to best practices. Your best defense in many OPMC reviews is a good offense; highlighting your background and what you are doing "right". With prescribing, many of our clients rely on the following factors - (i) documenting all prescriptions and medical necessity in the patient’s record; (ii) religiously, for each Schedule II prescription, reviewing and verifying New York State’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP); (iii) noting in the medical record that the PMP is checked every time a prescription for a controlled substance is filled; (iv) deploying a narcotics agreement; (v) drug testing; and (vi) documenting documenting documenting face to face visits, et al.
It is important to remember that OPMC has absolute discretion in its review and complete power of your licensure. Any inquiry should be treated as a serious inquiry. If an OPMC investigator shows up at your practice or you receive an inquiry letter, DO NOT RESPOND, and contact counsel (which for many of you is our office). If you can't reach Jennifer by email or phone (516-747-6700 x. 302) and someone is requesting access to your practice (for any reason outside of a patient for care), call our general number (516-747-6700 x. 0) and ask for Michael, Taryn, Kieran or Ken, in that order.