If you are a practicing physician or surgeon in the state of California and have received notice from the Department of Consumer Affairs' Medical Board of California of an investigation against you or a formal accusation having been filed, you should waste no time in securing the best possible license defense attorney to handle your case.
The possible repercussions of ignoring a California Medical Board investigation can be very damaging to your career. Even a mere citation and fine will put a "black spot" on your record (viewable online to potential clients), but more severe board disciplinary actions like license suspension, revocation, or probation could interrupt your practice for years or even end it.
At California License Attorney, we possess intricate knowledge of the California statutes, Medical Board rules and regulations, and legal processes involved in a board-initiated investigation. We know every step and every potential situation and how best to respond to it, because we have experience in defending against all manner of complaints against California physicians and surgeons licenses.
To learn more about our services and to avail yourself of a free, no-obligation consultation on the details of your case, contact us anytime 24/7 at 888-959-0068.
The Difficult Job of a Modern Medical Professional
As a state-licensed physician or surgeon, you have invested years of training, diligent effort, and large sums of money into getting where you are today in your career.
What's more, you are personally committed to serving each and every one of your patients in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath. Your career is more than just a career, it is a "calling" to serve humanity, to deliver the benefits of modern medical science to hurting people who need them most.
But the unpleasant truth is that even one mistake, or just the mere allegation of a mistake or some form of misconduct, can put all you have worked for and believe in so strongly in jeopardy. A malpractice suit, a criminal charge (whether misdemeanor or felony level), or any complaint related to your job that is submitted to the California Medical Board can quickly threaten you with the loss of your license.
And consumers can easily file a complaint at the Medical Board of California website or check there to see if any disciplinary actions have been taken against you.
Clearly, the very nature of medical professionals' jobs exposes them to these sorts of allegations. Whether a physician, surgeon, physician's assistant, medical assistant, midwife, research psychoanalyst, paramedic, EMT, or other medical worker, your odds of facing a challenge to your license are quite high. But as such a great degree of trust and high level of expectation is placed on physicians and surgeons, they often bear the brunt of consumer complaints and Medical Board formal accusations.
We at California License Attorney understand your role and your exposure to lawsuits, criminal charges, and formal complaints. We know how the system works and the specialized rules of evidence and procedural nuances relevant to a board-initiated investigation and/or administrative hearing. We stand ready to defend you against any and all allegations.
The Mission of the California Medical Board
Many doctors wrongly assume that the California Medical Board is looking out for them, but in reality, its mission is focused on patients and consumers. Their first purpose is to rigorously screen license applicants to ensure only qualified physicians and surgeons receive a license. Next, they concern themselves with taking in consumer complaints and investigating them to see if they have any merit.
At that point, the board acts with the idea of protecting consumers and ensuring the highest level of professionalism and safety within the medical world.
At California License Attorney, we understand the goals of the CMB, but we also understand how easy it is for false or exaggerated accusations to be filed against a physician or surgeon. Patients may have unrealistic expectations, wrongly blame the doctor based on outcomes but not on the doctor's actual performance, or confuse the roles of different classes of medical professionals.
On the other hand, not even doctors are perfect. Everyone can make an honest mistake or struggle with substance abuse or another problem. At California License Attorney, we are not here to judge you. We are here to help you get you license application approved, defend your license against a citation or suspension/revocation, or get your license reinstated as soon as possible.
Possible Complaints and Possible End-Results of a Board Investigation
The list of possible complaints that can be reported to the CMB and become the basis of an investigation is long indeed. But here are some of the most common complaints issued against physicians and surgeons:
- Negligence or gross negligence in administering (of failing to administer) care.
- Incompetent care, either within you practice area or due to working outside the boundaries of your expertise.
- Drug or alcohol abuse. Sometimes, accusations include use of drugs/alcohol while on the job.
- Health insurance fraud, often involving double billing, over-billing, or billing for a service never provided.
- Prescribing drugs to those who should not be using them or over-prescribing.
- Allowing an unlicensed assistant to work under you.
- Poor or dishonest record keeping practices.
- Past criminal arrests and/or convictions "substantially" related to your ability to deliver quality care.
- Sexual or other professional misconduct.
Once the MBC begins its investigation, you will receive a notification of the same. That is the ideal time to contact us for help. The earlier you act, the less likely it is you will be subjected to professional discipline and the less severe such discipline will likely be if it cannot be avoided entirely.
If you receive a call from a board investigator, do not speak with him/her and risk incriminating yourself or limiting your future defense options. Speak with us first, and we will help you to protect yourself in any dealings with the board and its investigators.
We will be with you every step of the way and can intervene for you at any point in the process, but the earlier you call us the better.
Some of the services we provide you with during an investigative process against your professional license include the following:
- Arranging for a meeting with the investigator or Deputy A.G. where we can challenge the evidence presented against you and present other evidence in your favor.
- Obtaining expert witnesses to testify in your behalf if necessary.
- Obtaining an investigator of our own who will interview key witnesses, subpoena critical documents for evidence, inspect the scene of the alleged crime/incident, and more.
- Reviewing the board's Statement of Issues and preparing to challenge them at the administrative hearing, if there is one.
- Working for a plea deal that will let you keep you license if the charges cannot be totally defeated, due to the nature of the case.
- In cases where substance abuse is involved, helping you secure a state-approved rehab plan. Or, arranging a psychological and chemical test to prove no chemical dependency is, in fact, involved.
- If grief or depression is involved, arranging for a board-approved therapist or counselor so you can attend therapy sessions instead of losing your license. A probation period may be imposed until you complete the therapy, but this can vary.
- Gathering mitigating evidence to help you win a favorable plea where a dismissal is unrealistic.
- If your license has already been revoked, we can help you get it reinstated.
- If you are facing separate criminal charges, we can work to help prevent loss of your license in the final sentence.
What are the possible end-results of a California Medical Board Investigation and/or administrative hearing? First, the case could simply be dismissed without any action being taken, due to lack of evidence. In that case, everything will remain confidential and not be published on the board's public website.
Otherwise, here are the possible outcomes of a board investigation:
- Violation but no action taken. Sometimes, although the board finds a complaint is valid (at least in part), the charge is small enough or sufficiently unrelated to your ability to practice your profession that no disciplinary action will be taken against you.
- Board-mediated resolution. Another way in which a case can be closed without board disciplinary action is if, in the case of say a billing dispute or request-for-records issue, the board mediates a resolution acceptable to both parties. Nothing would then be published against you on the CMB website.
- Letter of warning issued. With certain minor violations, it may be possible to obtain only a letter of warning but no formal disciplinary action. The letter will warn that the board will take action if the violation is repeated and will remain fully confidential.
- Enforcement Review. If a serious "departure from the standard of care" is thought by the board to have occurred, but they lack enough evidence to file a formal accusation, you may be requested to speak to the board face to face in an "enforcement review." Do not do this without speaking first to a skilled license attorney, however.
- Letter of Public Reprimand. In this case, the board publishes its findings against you on their public website, but no further form of discipline is enacted. A Letter of Public Reprimand will stand as the board's discipline only if no actual harm has been suffered by a patient or the public. This letter can hurt your ability to gain clients and should be fought if at all possible.
- Must conform to specific stipulation. The board may sometimes require you abide by a specific stipulation, such as monitoring for a period of time. If the stipulation is met, the board will withdraw its formal accusation. It is also possible to receive a "stipulation to surrender license," but please do not agree to this without first consulting us as it can make it very difficult to reinstate your license later on.
- A citation and fine. With certain minor violations, the board may opt to issue a citation with accompanying fine. The citation will be on the public record for 3 years.
- Interim suspension. If the board determines a physician or surgeon with a complaint against him/her is likely to be an imminent threat to the public safety, they may suspend your license even before the investigation is complete. We can fight back against an interim suspension to try to get it reversed so you can continue your practice during the process, which can last months or even years.
- License probation. In some cases, your license can be saved but must be put on "probation" for a period of time. We can help you secure better probation terms and work to shorten the period to the minimum. We can also help you understand the terms and what the results of any probation violations would be.
- License Suspension. This is a severe form of professional discipline that prevents you from continuing your practice during the suspension period. We can still fight for a shorter suspension where one cannot be avoided.
- License Revocation. This is the most severe form of board disciplinary action. It requires you to cease your practice and not apply for reinstatement for at least three years.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
At California License Attorney, we understand the ins and outs of the process of defending your California physicians or surgeons license against all possible allegations and board actions.
Our expert staff of license attorneys will fight tenaciously in your behalf to defeat any and all charges brought against you. When necessary, we will also negotiate to secure you a favorable plea agreement that will reduce the impact of any professional discipline on your career. We know how to secure the best possible outcome for each and every one of our clients.
For a free consultation, call us anytime 24/7/365 at 888-959-0068.