In an alarming trend, representatives of the DEA, investigators who bring matters before the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, and local police have been combining their efforts together to make unscheduled, surprise visits to several New Jersey medical practices. The purpose of the visits ostensibly has been to conduct an inspection or execute a search warrant. However, during the visit there has been extensive questioning, even interrogation, that may include a request for the licensee to surrender a medical license, DEA Registration, and/or NJ CDS Registration. There can even be an intimation that the matter does not have to be a criminal investigation if the licensee consents to the surrender.
This disturbing practice raises several legal concerns regarding the propriety of combining criminal and administrative investigations, using an intimidating show of force while asking for a surrender of licenses and registrations, and whether non-prosecutors have the authority to express or imply there will be no criminal case if there is a surrender of license and/or registrations. Obviously, once such a surrender takes place it has immediate and dire adverse consequences for a medical practice and for a physician’s remaining career.
The surrender of a medical license, DEA Registration, NJ CDS Registration, or any privilege or credential, should never be undertaken without advice from health care counsel. Keep in mind that one cannot be forced to make these decisions without the benefit of legal counsel and during any incident of this type, you or your practice cannot be prevented from reaching out to counsel. Should you be on the receiving end of a surprise visit or any request to surrender a license, registration, or privilege, you may contact Frier Levitt IMMEDIATELY to speak to an attorney regarding your rights and whether it is in your best interest to speak with investigators or negotiate a surrender of license or registration.