April 30, 2024
Dear Jennifer,

Without giving too many details, I wish to apply for my New York medical license, but I have concerns over the “good moral character” portion of the application. Please provide me with information regarding this.

Dr. K



Attorney Clorissa Winters of our healthcare department has penned the below response - 

The moral character portion of a medical license application is critical to obtaining or renewing a medical license.   Concerns over moral character are a key reason for rejection of an application or renewal, including concerns over veracity, fitness or past crimes. Instances of professional misconduct, including unethical behavior, negligence or violations of medical regulations, can also raise doubts about an applicant's moral character. Additionally, a history of substance abuse or addiction issues, especially if they impacted professional conduct or patient care, may lead to a denial of licensure. Overall, most medical boards (and hospitals) evaluate each case individually, considering the nature and severity of the issues raised and the applicant's efforts at rehabilitation and remediation.  

In New York specifically, if the application is rejected due to concerns about moral character, the applicant will typically receive a formal notification outlining the reasons for the denial. This notification may include specific details regarding the issues identified during the review process. The applicant has 30 days to request a hearing regarding their moral character. During this hearing, the applicant has the option to be represented by an attorney, cross-examine witnesses, produce witnesses and present evidence in support of the applicant's good moral character.  The members conducting the hearing will submit their final report and determination to the director of the Division of Professional Licensing Services and to the applicant.

Either the director of the Division of Professional Licensing Services or the applicant may appeal the determination to the Committee within 30 days of service and submit a brief stating their position. The Committee will then affirm, reserve or modify the determination and such determination shall be final.  If the denial is upheld, the applicant will be required to wait 18 months before reapplying, during which time they may need to demonstrate efforts toward rehabilitation or addressing the underlying issues. 

As you may have already inferred, if you have to go through the hearing process, it is somewhat akin to a trial, with administrative rules and rigor.   We strenuously recommend you do not represent yourself.    This is one of those circumstances where "a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client".   Of course, best to head off any concerns over an application process as soon as possible.  Call us with any questions you have on the initial application.