Indiana Occupational Therapist License Lawyers
As a licensed occupational therapist, you’ve invested a great amount of time and effort attaining the qualifications required to practice your profession. If you face a complaint that you violated the laws or regulations governing occupational therapists, your license and livelihood could be threatened. If faced with that unfortunate circumstance, you cannot afford to be without the services of an Indiana occupational therapist attorney.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP has Indiana occupational therapist license lawyers with the experience and skills to protect your license and livelihood. With a focus on litigation and particular knowledge about professional license defense, we can help you protect your license, reputation, business, and future.
Why Choosing Among Indiana Occupational Therapist License Lawyers Is Important
When it comes to health care professions, the first titles that come to most peoples’ minds are doctors and nurses. But truth be known, there are others who play significant roles in shepherding clients along their road to recovery. For people trying to recover from or cope with health challenges, the services provided by you, the occupational therapist, can be critical to their success.
Because you provide important health care related services, the State of Indiana requires that you be licensed by the Indiana Occupational Therapy Committee (Committee). And, because you must be licensed, you’re subject to state-established rules that can sometimes threaten your goal of becoming a licensed occupational therapist or keeping your license after attainment. Regardless of where you live or work in Indiana, the experienced Indiana occupational therapist license lawyers attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP are on your side when these threats appear.
Occupational therapy touches vulnerable populations. Those who have suffered debilitating injuries, have physical or mental disabilities, or are aging are among the most common clients of therapists. People in these situations are struggling to live independent lives by going back to work or simply being able to care for themselves without the assistance of others.
Perhaps most importantly, occupational therapists help vulnerable people avoid the necessity of relocating from their homes to assisted living facilities. This prospect can be demoralizing to those who have already suffered significantly from their decline in health and independence.
What Occupational Therapists Can Face
For all the good that is done by occupational therapists, the nature of the work is such that customer satisfaction will never be 100 percent. Occupational therapy is not a cure; it is a way to work around or to persevere in spite of the physical or mental challenges the client faces.
Occupational therapists can be subject to complaints that they did not do their job right, effectively, or otherwise to the satisfaction of a client or a client’s family. One very common dynamic of occupational therapy is the role of family members who want very much to see their loved ones continue to be independent members of society. They do not want to see their mother, father, brother, or sister have a diminished quality of life.
The emotional aspect of these situations can lead to complaints against therapists. Physical contact is also part of the job, which can lend itself to complaints as well. For example, a client may complain that a particular activity hurt or did some damage and use that as the basis for a complaint filed with the Committee.
The Indiana occupational therapist license lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand the licensing requirements for working in Indiana, the unique nature of an occupational therapist’s work, and how the work creates vulnerabilities to professional complaints. We use our insight into professional licensure matters and deep experience in litigation to protect our clients’ professional rights.
Factors that Require Defense by Indiana Occupational Therapist License Lawyers
A complaint filed against an occupational therapist could call into question the professional’s qualifications, competence to practice occupational therapy, or conduct in performing services. The Standards of Professional Practice set out at Indiana Code § 25-1-9-4 provide that a therapist may be subject to disciplinary action for being unfit to practice. Being unfit may be the result of one of the following factors:
- Undertaking of professional activities that the occupational therapist is not qualified to undertake
- Failing to keep abreast of current professional theory or practice
- Being physically or mentally disabled
- Being addicted to or abusing drugs or alcohol when it endangers the public by impairing the therapist’s delivery of services.
Under this regulatory scheme, complaints based on unattained results or the manner in which the therapist interacted with a client might be cast as being unfit to practice occupational therapy. This kind of complaint must be countered vigorously by an Indianapolis occupational therapist lawyer to protect your license and professional future.
Other Ways Indiana Occupational Therapist License Lawyers Can Help
Indiana occupational therapist license lawyers also provide counsel on professional limits and requirements to help you avoid threats to your license. For example, if you are an independent contractor, it might be tempting to expand your activity to clients who want services but for whom you have no current referral. But Indiana Code § 25-23.5-3-1.5 prohibits occupational therapists from providing occupational therapy unless referred by certain types of licensed medical practitioners. Providing occupational therapy services without such a referral could result in a complaint being filed against you. Depending on the circumstances, you could also risk an allegation of committing fraud or material deception, both of which are also prohibited by professional licensure laws.
Providing occupational therapy services to clients on Medicare or Medicaid also requires compliance with Medicare and Medicaid requirements. Many people in need of occupational therapy are elderly or disabled and covered by one of these federal programs. If you perform services as an independent contractor, you may not have support staff upon whom you can rely on to know the ins and outs of federal program billing. Yet errors in billing could be cast as fraudulent, an allegation that could also put your license at risk. An occupational therapist may be subject to discipline if convicted of a crime or assessed a civil penalty for fraudulent billing practices involving Medicare or Medicaid.
The Standards of Professional Practice for health professionals also provide that conviction of a crime that has a direct bearing on your ability to continue to practice competently or is harmful to the public could be a basis for discipline by the Committee. That can cover a lot of territory and is subject to interpretation. If you find yourself in that situation, you need a capable Indiana occupational therapist attorney to vigorously defend you.
Perhaps the most encompassing standard in the law is that you can be disciplined for knowingly violating any state statute or rule or federal statute or regulations regulating the practice of occupational therapy. This casts a rather wide net in which you could be entangled. The catchphrase here is “knowingly violated.” Whether an occupational therapist knowingly violation a relevant state of federal law or regulation is a legal inquiry that occupational therapist attorneys in Indianapolis—such as those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP—can accurately evaluate on your behalf.
What Can Happen If You Are the Subject of a Complaint
Indiana law regulating professional occupations, including occupational therapists, provides a system for investigating complaints against licensed professionals and determining their validity. Specifically, all complaints must be filed initially with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (Division), which is responsible for the initial review and investigation of the allegations in the complaint.
Every complaint must be filed in writing and signed by the complainant. Once a written complaint is filed, the director of the Division must make an initial determination whether it appears to have merit. If so, the Committee is formally notified. Complaints come from any person or entity, including the Committee itself, with standing to raise issues regarding the occupational therapist’s qualifications or professional conduct.
Upon receiving a complaint against an occupational therapist, the Consumer Protection Division notifies the named occupational therapist of the allegations. However, the Division delays investigating the allegations for 30 days. During this time, the occupational therapist may attempt to reach a settlement with the person or entity that filed the complaint. Indiana occupational therapist license lawyers can play an important role and help increase the chance of reaching a settlement in many cases.
If no settlement is reached within that 30-day period, the Division then investigates the allegations. Once an investigation is complete, the director of the Consumer Protection Division evaluates the evidence to determine whether it supports disciplinary action against the occupational therapist. If the director believes that the evidence supports imposing disciplinary action against the occupational therapist, the director reports that conclusion to the attorney general. The attorney general then decides whether to prosecute the complaint. However, if the complaint was filed by unanimous vote of the Committee members, the attorney general has no choice but to prosecute the complaint.
Prosecution of a complaint against an occupational therapist involves a hearing before the Indiana Occupational Therapy Committee or an administrative law judge. In the hearing, the occupational therapist is entitled to due process and can be represented by counsel. If you reach this point in the process without the benefit of counsel, it is imperative that you engage in an attorney experienced in Indiana occupational therapist complaint defense to protect your rights.
If the Board finds that the evidence supports the allegations in the complaint and that those facts support disciplinary action, the Committee may impose one of the following forms of discipline under Indiana Code § 25-1-9-9:
- License revocation
- License suspension
- Written reprimand
- Civil penalty of not more than $1,000
Hiring defense counsel experienced in professional license defense for occupational therapists provides you representation in the adjudicative process and counsel critical to prevailing in your case.
Get a Free Consultation with our Indiana Occupational Therapist License Lawyers
Whether you are anticipating an investigation, defending your license against a complaint, or fighting for initial or renewal licensure, working with the Indiana occupational therapist license lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can make all the difference in your case. With years of litigation experience and a meticulous understanding of professional license defense in Indiana, we are ready and eager to help. For a free consultation to learn more, contact us at (317) 857-0160 or complete our contact page. Don’t delay—contact us today!