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Successfully Defending Licensed Professionals

Fran Cullen has represented countless professionals in licensing matters for more than 25 years. Below are several representative cases.

  • A physician who completed another state’s application for licensure in haste entered an erroneous response regarding the completion of her Continuing Medical Education (CME), prompting that state to impose a public non-disciplinary order. The physician held active licenses in several states. Although the physician corrected the unintentional error, with other states poised to take action, Fran Cullen contacted and negotiated with the Georgia Medical Board and several other State Medical Boards to prevent reciprocal licensing action based upon her erroneous application response.
  • With a strong knowledge of crimes that could prompt exclusionary status by the Office of Inspector General (OIG Exclusion), Fran Cullen has provided sound advice to numerous physicians and other healthcare providers, including physician assistants and nurses, who face criminal charges to thereby avoid the exclusion. In two cases, a letter from Fran Cullen to the Court explaining the potential impact of an OIG Exclusion helped the providers obtain a more favorable criminal plea.
  • When a state university terminated a resident physician from its residency training program based upon an allegation that he failed a pre-employment drug screen, Fran appealed the termination and the client was reinstated. At a hearing, she successfully challenged the collection process of the drug screen specimen at issue and presented overwhelming evidence that the client was not impaired. In a related case, she successfully defended the client in an investigation launched by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Likewise, she represented the client before the medical board, which closed its investigation.
  • In a case filed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board against a psychiatrist for improper prescribing practices, Fran Cullen prevailed at the Initial Hearing, with the Administrative Law Judge finding no fault with the physician’s practice. The Board, on its own motion, reviewed the case and entered a contrary order seeking to discipline the doctor. Fran Cullen appealed to the Superior Court of Fulton County and prevailed, thereby preventing the imposition of any sanctions.
  • Fran has defended numerous dentists who have found themselves before the Georgia Board of Dentistry because of false or misleading patient complaints.
  • She has assisted several dentists who have undergone treatment for alcohol and/or drug addiction and thereby gained sobriety. In cases of drug diversion, Frances Cullen has negotiated a workable solution for the dentist to retain their dental license and DEA registration.
  • For the little-known law that prevents a dentist from working as an employee of a non-dentist, Fran has provided sound legal advice to dental offices.
  • An out of state pharmacist who moved to Georgia had entered a no contest plea to criminal charges in his prior home state and claimed he was innocent of the alleged crime; Fran Cullen assisted him in obtaining an unrestricted license in the State of Georgia.
  • For a pharmacist who entered a criminal plea to Medicaid fraud, Frances Cullen ensured the retention of his pharmacy license.
  • In numerous cases when employers have fired nurses and reported them to the Georgia Board of Nursing for drug diversion, Fran Cullen has helped guide nurses to the appropriate drug treatment program, assisted them with the Georgia Board of Nursing’s investigation process, helped them locate an appropriate nurse advocate to advocate on their behalf before the Georgia Board of Nursing, and was able to negotiate a more favorable outcome to monitor aftercare following completion of treatment. We have worked with many nurses to help them return to work as a Registered Nurse.
  • For a nurse applicant who had been under a Consent Order in another state, Fran Cullen advised her on closing out the order and obtained the paperwork necessary for her to obtain her license from the Georgia Board of Nursing.
  • In a case where a nurse was criminally charged with Violation of the Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) for writing fraudulent prescriptions, Fran Cullen represented the nurse in entering the most favorable plea for the crime charged, and then advised her about entering into a Consent Order with the Georgia Board of Nursing to enable her to return to the practice of nursing.
  • For a nurse arrested and criminally charged with diverting controlled substances from her employer, Fran Cullen negotiated pre-trial drug court diversion of the case, which resulted in a disposition without court adjudication of guilt or a record of conviction.
Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Social Workers
  • Fran Cullen has represented numerous psychologists, licensed professional counselors, and social workers to defend their license against claims of improper practice, often leading to a dismissal of a board complaint or a more favorable negotiated settlement.
  • In an action brought by the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists (The Psychology Board) against a Psychologist alleging insufficient oversight of testing conducted by a supervisee, Fran Cullen negotiated favorable disciplinary far less than that proposed by the Board.
  • Fran Cullen helped negotiate favorable plea terms with no jail time for a Psychologist accused by the State Health Care Fraud Control Unit (SHCFCU) of serious Medicaid Fraud violations involving the improper billing of children who were never seen by a psychologist.
  • In a case wherein the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists (The Georgia Psychology Board) would not terminate a Psychologist’s Consent Order when she had met the terms of the Order, Fran Cullen filed a Mandamus action in Superior Court, at which time the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists (The Georgia Psychology Board) acted properly to terminate the Order.
Physicians National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)
  • In a case where a hospital summarily suspended a physician’s clinical privileges, Frances Cullen worked with the hospital to address what they perceived as alleged deficiencies and helped the physician obtain a “void” to remove the negative National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report that would have had a significantly negative impact on his career.
Health Care Professionals
  • When a state board would not comply with the terms of its own settlement agreement, Fran brought legal action against the board to require its compliance. Specifically, the settlement agreement required the board to terminate the agreement upon completion of certain required tasks. After her intervention, the Board entered an order terminating the licensed professional’s settlement agreement and probation, with the dismissal of the court case.
  • In a contested administrative hearing brought by a state medical board, we successfully defended an innocent physician assistant charged with the inappropriate touching of a patient.
Applicants for Licensure and Renewal/Reinstatement
  • Applicants seeking to become licensed in the State of Georgia may face a difficult challenge, especially if they completed their education and obtained their credentials many years ago. This is especially true for license applicants who were educated in foreign countries. Fran Cullen has represented numerous physicians and other healthcare professionals in obtaining a rule waiver or variance to enable them to become licensed by proving to the professional’s state licensing board that their prior education and experience demonstrates their competence to practice their profession.
  • Each year, a significant number of licensees fail to timely renew their license to practice, thereby permitting their license to lapse. We have assisted numerous professionals to address this issue.
Criminal Defense
  • Upon a showing of rehabilitation, Fran Cullen has secured the reinstatement of medical licenses for several physicians who have been convicted of felony crimes and, in some cases, those still under probation.
  • In a federal criminal case, she represented an impaired physician who distributed a significant number of illegal prescriptions. The U.S. Attorney’s office initially sought to charge him with numerous violations of federal controlled substances laws, including prescribing and conspiracy offenses. We were able to negotiate a plea agreement to a reduced charge applicable to a limited drug amount, thereby bringing the federal sentencing guidelines offense level down and, at sentencing, pled for a further reduction that was granted.
Drug Related Crimes & Addiction
  • In representing a substantial number of professionals who have faced criminal charges related to substance abuse and/or addiction, Fran Cullen has provided legal representation for the complete range of drug diversion crimes and charges related to the ordering and writing of improper prescriptions including, but not limited to, forgery, Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA), and identity fraud.
  • Fran Cullen has successfully negotiated with the Drug Enforcement Agency with regard to the imposition of more favorable terms when a physician is compelled to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in order to keep their DEA prescribing privileges.
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