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8 ways you could lose that professional license

Your license is everything. It's your career. It's your income. It's the support system for your family. It defines everything you've worked for over the last decade.

The last thing you want is to see all of that stripped away. However, this happens far more often than people realize. Below are eight of the top ways that medical professionals like yourself can lose a license.

1. Substance abuse.

Abuse often starts small and builds its way up. It's hard to admit you need help, but things reach a critical level when you start to see concrete evidence -- like a string of DUI convictions.

2. Fraud.

Fraud can take on many forms. It could include charging the insurance company for services that were not rendered, for example. In some cases, people enter the wrong codes and then try to claim it was a simple mistake.

3. Breaches of professional discipline.

These things are sometimes done to make life easier. For instance, it may be a hassle to get a patient to sign a form, so a medical professional will just forge that person's signature. Doing so is illegal, even if it seems like it's not a big deal.

4. Issues with medications.

This could include telling patients to take certain medications when they really shouldn't -- perhaps because they conflict with other medications -- or giving out medications that are not needed. This is sometimes seen when patients have addictions and offer to pay extra if they can just get a little more.

5. Discrimination.

Like an employer, a medical professional can't discriminate against protected classes. This means no discrimination based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity or other such classes. All people must have access to proper care.

6. Practicing without a license.

Do not practice until you get your license. If you move to another state, be sure you're licensed in that state. Some people accidentally work without a license, not realizing it must be updated.

7. Unfair advertising.

Advertising must be honest. Some medical professionals have gotten into trouble by claiming that services rendered would be free just to get more people in the door. They then try to bring up "extra" charges so that the services aren't free. This is illegal in business and in the medical world.

8. Not keeping proper documentation.

You must keep complete and accurate books. Failing to do so may be an oversight, but it may also insinuate that fraud occurred and you're trying to cover it up.

As you can see, there are honest mistakes you can make that put you in danger of losing your license. You know how important that is and how it could derail your career, so make sure you also understand your legal rights.

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