If you are a licensed osteopath in the state of California and are currently facing an investigation or formal accusation conducted/issued by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, your career and your livelihood are on the line. You should waste no time at all in contacting an experienced license defense attorney who can help you defend your osteopathic license and professional reputation.
At California License Attorney, we combine an intricate knowledge of California laws and regulations affecting osteopathic treatment with many years of hands-on experience defending professional osteopaths against a wide range of complaints. We will know how to build a solid defense for your case and how to maximize your chances of a dismissal or a reduced form of discipline.
To learn more or for a free consultation on the details of your case, call us anytime 24/7 at 888-959-0068.
The Role of Osteopathic Practitioners in Modern Healthcare
Gaining an osteopathic license is a long, difficult, expensive process. First, as osteopathic medicine is a specialty practice, you first have to obtain to the status of an ordinary medical doctor before going on to pursue an additional osteopathic license. And the training and knowledge necessary to become an osteopath is in itself quite demanding.
As an osteopath, you provide "alternative" medical treatment to help patients with a wide variety of conditions, affecting the muscular, nervous, circulatory, and digestive systems. You work on the principle that all of our bodies' systems and tissues function as an "interconnected whole." What affects one part, affects the whole person.
Patients come to you with chronic pain and other nagging symptoms, and you treat these conditions with massage therapy, stretching, manipulation of the joints, and other methods. You utilize diagnostic medical equipment, such as ultrasounds and spinal-analysis machines, in your work. And you give out helpful advice on nutrition, exercise, and general health and wellness. When appropriate, you recommend your patients to another physician.
Despite the valuable services osteopaths provide and the great investment of time, effort, and money in obtaining an osteopath license, it is easy to lose your license based on a single complaint.
At California License Attorney, we understand the roles that osteopaths fill, the scope and limitations of their duties, the nature of the complaints often filed against them, and the strategies that are most effective at helping our clients keep their license and continue their career.
The Osteopathic Medical Board Disciplinary Guidelines
The Osteopathic Medical Board of California (OMBC) has issued over 7,000 licenses to practitioners throughout the state. It is their stated mission to regulate who will receive and who will retain an osteopathic license in the interest of protecting the general public.
Thus, the board does not exist to help Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs), but to protect their patients against potential harm and to ensure a high standard of care.
To accomplish its goals, the OMBC enforces a set of official disciplinary guidelines, taking in complaints, conducting investigations, and rendering disciplinary actions as deemed necessary.
Some of the most common allegations for which professional discipline may be administered by the board include the following:
- Excessive prescribing or treatment.
- Sexual misconduct.
- Insurance fraud.
- Mental or physical incapacity.
- Gross negligence or incompetence.
- Drug/alcohol abuse.
- Being intoxicated while treating a patient.
- Misdemeanor or felony convictions.
- Providing drugs to a drug addict.
- Issuing prescriptions without a previous exam.
- Unlawful advertising practices.
- Falsifying records.
- Failing to keep adequate records.
- Administering illegal forms of cancer treatment.
- Allowing an unlicensed assistant to work under you.
- Exceeding the limits of your expertise/license.
- Already being under investigation or discipline by another state.
It is easy for anyone to report a complaint to the Osteopathic Medical Board, either in writing or online, and many times, the board will follow up with an investigation and/or sting operation.
Less serious offenses may lead to a fine and public citation, or perhaps, a letter of reprimand and an order of abatement (to cease to alleged activity). But even this level of discipline is worth fighting with the help of an experienced license attorney since fines can sometimes be heavy and publicly posted disciplinary actions can affect your ability to gain new clients or get hired by a new employer.
If the allegation against you is more serious, it could threaten a license revocation. But in most cases, we can fight for and obtain at least a stay of revocation with probation (sometimes an initial short suspension period and the meeting of various stipulations are also required), if a dismissal is not possible. Probation will allow you to continue your practice, albeit under certain restrictions. We can fight for a shorter probationary term and less restrictive probation conditions if probation is the best possible outcome.
If you have received a notice of citation or formal accusation, do not delay to contact us. You have only 15 days to file a notice of defense, which we can assist you in doing, before your right to fight the charges expires.
In many cases, we can work to get the complaint against you dismissed as "unsubstantiated" or for "lack of evidence" before there ever is an administrative hearing. In other cases, we can negotiate for a favorable stipulated settlement and avoid a hearing.
If a formal accusation is filed and a hearing becomes necessary, we will closely examine the statement of issues of the board and file a notice of defense in your behalf. We will thoroughly investigate all aspects of the alleged incident, work to undermine evidence and testimony against you, and gather evidence in your favor. We will cross-examine witnesses against you and lock them into their story; weak or fake evidence will soon be exposed.
If the situation is such, however, that a complete dismissal is not obtainable, we also know how to negotiate for a plea that will let you keep your license and be acceptable both to the prosecution and the ALJ (administrative law judge).
Criminal Charges and Convictions
Under Business and Professions Code Section 490, the Osteopathic Medical Board and other California licensing boards and agencies can take disciplinary actions against you if you have been convicted of a crime (be it misdemeanor or felony). However, Sections 2236a and 2237 of the same code require that the criminal conviction be "substantially related to" your duties and qualifications as an osteopathic doctor (DO).
Even if you plead "guilty" or "no contest" in a plea bargain deal in your criminal case, and will ultimately have the charge dropped if/when you successfully finish your court-ordered probation, it still counts as a conviction as far as the Osteopathic Medical Board of California is concerned.
Examples of classes of convictions that will or may (depending on the details of the case) be considered to substantially related to your osteopathic practice include:
- Domestic violence (PC 243, PC 273.5)
- Sexual battery (PC 243)
- DUI (VC 23152)
- Simple possession of a controlled substance (HS 11350)
- Possession for sale of a controlled substance (HS 11351)
- Grand theft (PC 487) or petty theft (PC 484)
- Insurance fraud (PC 550)
We can be of service in testifying both before the board and as a witness in your criminal case (when appropriate and necessary), presenting exculpatory and mitigating evidence in your favor that can win an acquittal or a reduced punishment/disciplinary action.
If the board feels the criminal allegations against you are egregious enough, the A.G. or prosecutor can request your practice be restricted during the trial. We can argue against this and fight it, but if a restriction is placed on your license, it would be one of three types:
- Those that would impose a restriction in order for you to qualify for bail.
- Those that would impose certain restrictions as being a part of the court sentence, especially if a plea agreement is being negotiated.
- A suspension that begins immediately and continues until the resolution of your criminal case. This is a kind of "interim suspension."
We can oppose all such restrictions via a written response to the board, and the ALJ may hold a special hearing to determine if the restriction requested by the prosecution will hold or not. Winning this hearing will be very important, especially if an interim suspension is involved, since criminal cases can sometimes drag on for months or even years.
Petition for Reinstatement of License
You may wonder if, after a license revocation, all hope is lost to continue your career as an osteopathic doctor. The answer is a resounding "no!" We have helped many others in such a situation to get their professional license reinstated in as little time as legally possible.
The process of petitioning the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to reinstate a revoked license, however, is complex and difficult. The burden of proof is placed on the applicant to show why he or she should be allowed a reinstatement. And the petition must include specific elements, such as an admission of responsibility for the violation that led to the revocation, evidence of rehabilitation and that you will not likely repeat the offense, and other reasons showing why you ought be granted the reinstatement.
Handling the paperwork must be done very carefully, and in some cases, a special administrative hearing will be held to determine the decision. If so, we can present evidence, arguments, and testimony in your favor before the presiding administrative law judge to maximize your chances of getting your osteopathic license reinstated.
Getting Your License Application Approved
Another area where we offer our expertise and assistance to doctors of osteopathic medicine is in getting a license application approved. Sometimes, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California will drag their feet or outright initially deny a license application.
Yet, there is usually a way to work through these problems and get the license finally approved.
We can assist you in clearly identifying the issues that are holding you back, communicating effectively with the Osteopathic Medical Board about the issue, and gathering the required documentation for a re-submission.
If there is a problem with a past criminal conviction on your record, with an incident that took place while you were in training to be an osteopath, with a drug/alcohol addiction, or anything else (whether or not the allegation be valid), we know how to work with the board for a resolution that lets you get your license.
Sometimes, a license will be issued with an initial probationary term. This is not ideal, but if it is the best possible outcome, it will at least let you get started with your career and, provided you abide by your probation conditions, ultimately obtain the unrestricted ability to perform your practice and calling.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
At California License Attorney, we stand ready to rush to your assistance at a moment's notice. We understand how important it is to act as early as possible in license defense cases in order to obtain a favorable outcome. And we know how to talk to or negotiate with the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.
Our in-depth knowledge of the special rules of evidence and procedural requirements involved in the administrative hearing and of the legal technicalities involved in the whole process puts us in an ideal position to defend your license against any and all challenges it may face.
To learn more or to avail yourself of a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced osteopathic license defense lawyer, call us anytime 24/7/365 at 888-959-0068.