Throughout the United States, it is a criminal offense to practice medicine without a professional license. Like other professions require specific job training and preparation, a medical practitioner must undergo several years of education and practical experience to prepare them for treating their patients safely. Without this safeguard in place, unlicensed doctors could endanger the lives of those they are entrusted to protect. Yet, defining what it means to practice medicine is not always straightforward. This gray area leaves some health care providers at risk for unauthorized practice of medicine claims.
What Does it Mean to Practice Medicine in Pennsylvania?
Every state has its own criteria for what it means to practice medicine. Generally, this encompasses the attempt to diagnose a patient, treat a medical condition, prescribe treatment, and perform surgery when clinically recommended. Because of the inherent risk to patients, performing any of these actions without the proper certification or license comes with very severe penalties, including possible:
- Fines: Fines differ from state to state depending on if the charge is a felony or misdemeanor but can range from hundreds of dollars to $10,000 or more.
- Probation: An individual convicted of practicing medicine without a license might serve their punishment out of jail on probation. Probation generally lasts a year or more and comes with significant restrictions, such as at-will searches of your property and regular meetings with a probation officer.
- Restitution: Restitution is a financial penalty paid out to victims of unlicensed medical treatment.
- Incarceration: Misdemeanor unauthorized practice of medicine comes with a minimum jail sentence of up to a year. You may be facing eight years or more in prison for a felony offense.
It should be noted that penalties vary from state to state, depending on the specific nature of the charges. If a patient was harmed while you were deemed to be practicing without a license, additional penalties are possible.
What to Do If You are Accused of Practicing Medicine Without a License
The charge of unauthorized practice of medicine is a serious one. If the victim suffered health complications because of your actions, they can bring a malpractice claim against you to seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. If your actions are warranted to be criminal, you can be detained until your case reaches the courts and end up facing jail time.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Health Care Professionals with Licensing Issues
There is so much to lose when facing charges of practicing medicine without a license. Our Philadelphia physician lawyers are dedicated to resolving the complex issues facing today’s healthcare providers. At Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C., we will work tirelessly on your behalf to protect your rights at every step of the legal process. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery Country, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.