There are some websites that advertise that they have lawyers specifically trained to help healthcare professionals with substance abuse contracts. Watch out- some of these are HUGE scams. Granted I have absolutely no legal knowledge and neither does anyone I know, and I got roped into one big time. After I got fired I contacted this legal group: (link below)
I told them EVERYTHING. It was $700 for a one hour phone consultation. They told me they would take care of everything and I signed a $5,000 retainer. They were the ones that told me I could still work in Michigan, so I contacted the Michigan monitoring program. They told me that since my monitoring contract in Indiana was canceled because of that text that my out-of-state contract in Michigan would be automatically canceled per policy, but I could file an appeal to get reinstated- but I only had two weeks to do so. They gave me the paperwork for an appeal which included a re-evaluation. I told my lawyer who stated that I should go to the Mayo Clinic to get evaluated because they were the “gold standard” and “would be accepted anywhere”. I called to get an appointment but they didn’t have anything for almost a month, which would put me far out of the two week window. My lawyer said they would “call and talk to them”. I got a phone call from the Mayo Clinic who arranged another phone call a few days later with one of their psychiatrists. I told him the entire story – he of course didn’t believe me. He said someone would call me a few days later to arrange an in person evaluation with a full panel of testing. They called a few days later and gave me a 3 day long schedule of evaluations and testing… 2 weeks later. That cost 10K out of pocket. I told my lawyer again that I would lose my chance with Michigan and straight up couldn’t afford that. My lawyer said that was ok and that I should plan on not working as a doctor for at least 6 months and spend that time “getting healthy” …. which obviously meant get off drugs. I told him I already found a job in Michigan at a place I used to moonlight at and I could really use the money. They said not to take it and just ignore the appeal. I argued…. and they threatened to drop me as a client for “not listening to their legal advice.” I contacted Michigan and got a list of evaluators in Michigan who could evaluate me right away, so I went to one of them. He was actually great. He actually said that he agreed with me that I wasn’t a drug addict and got totally screwed by the system, but that I was basically shit out of luck at this point and my best bet was to get back into my Michigan monitoring contact. He signed my appeal for reinstatement, did a full panel of drug testing (all negative) and my appeal was accepted.
I still had to worry about the fact that Indiana reported me to the board though. I told my lawyer that my appeal was accepted and I was going to take that job in Michigan and not do the Mayo Clinic evaluation. I asked him to help me with my defense to the board, which started with just a simple letter of explanation. He said he could help me with the letter but if it went to a hearing that he couldn’t help because he wasn’t registered to practice in Indiana…. something he never told me prior to that date. He also wasn’t registered in Michigan either, something they never mentioned to me was even an issue. I dropped him as my lawyer.
I then got a bill in my email for $4,000, which was in addition to the $5,000 retainer. I asked for a detailed breakdown…. I was charged almost $1,000 for the time he spent responding to my email. Almost $2,000 for the time spent copying and scanning my healthcare records, and over $2,000 for the time they spent arranging my evaluation at the Mayo Clinic that I didn’t even want. What the actual fuck. They literally did nothing but hinder my career and charged me $9,000. And they weren’t even registered to practice law in either of the states I had issues in. Another horrible human being taking advantage of my suffering. I did the appeal completely on my own, and it worked. Because I KNEW I wasn’t on drugs.
I found a lawyer in Indiana to help me with my appeal who charged a flat fee of $4,500 for the letter and for an informal hearing that would likely happen in response. It was more if it went to a formal hearing. They were an awesome group run by former healthcare professionals turned lawyers dedicated to this exact thing. We sent the letter of explanation with a bunch of documents including my recent test results and evaluation, all my negative tests in Indiana, my self help meeting attendance list, and my accepted appeal to Michigan to get back in the monitoring program there.
I didn’t hear back for 8 months. I got an email with a letter from them that just said that since my limited education license had expired (A month before that) that they would be pursuing no further action but if I ever came back to Indiana then they would reopen the case. (Like that would EVER happen…) That was it. It was over. Not even an informal hearing, and nothing was officially on record at all.
If I would have waited for that letter I would not have been working for eight months and I would have had to start from scratch with Michigan all over again. I did it on my own. per usual, and it worked. Because I knew I wasn’t a drug addict. So if anyone reading this is considering using that law firm, DON’T. Be careful what lawyer you choose, and specifically ask them what states they are registered in.