Well Experienced and Knowledgeable
Investigations conducted by medical boards into complaints regarding medical professionals are an extremely serious matter. The most concerning element of these cases is that they pose disastrous threats to a physician’s professional career, personal well-being and financial stability. Any action filed by the medical board should not be tackled by a physician alone. These situations call for an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can help you prepare for a hearing or review and develop effective medical board defense plans that will help you successfully defend yourself, your rights and your future.
The Texas Medical Board publishes statistics about complaints regarding a variety of medical professionals. First and foremost, it becomes apparent that the number of complaints has significantly risen in recent years, nearly doubling from the year 2000 to the year 2011. A new conception of personal responsibility and blame in American society may account for some of this increase, but it is more realistic to view the statistics as indicative of increased efforts to combat medical professionals who violate regulations and laws.
A more important statistic to consider involves the basis of medical board complaints, which consists primarily of issues concerning quality of care, unprofessional conduct, and criminal allegations.
Quality of Care
These complaints can consist of any number of standard-of-care issues, which can be broken down into cases of medical malpractice and violations of specific board regulations. Having defended numerous physicians and medical professionals in medical malpractice cases and in hearing and peer reviews, I can effectively handle allegations and complaints concerning quality of care matters.
Complaints of unprofessional conduct can also encompass a wide range of violations or offenses. This can include sexual misconduct, financial misconduct involving patients, perceived boundary violations, and substance abuse issues. Many complaints of this nature can be fatal to a medical license and almost always require a strong defense.
Most criminal investigations concern pain management and prescription violations. Crime allegations can also involve some unprofessional conduct cases with patients, as well as Medicare fraud. These allegations are extremely serious, aggressively prosecuted and harshly penalized. They can also involve large government agencies such as the DEA and FBI.
The consequences and disciplinary actions imposed by any formal hearing or criminal proceeding can be detrimental to your career as a medical professional. In addition to the threat of fines and losing medical staff privileges, you also run the risk of having your medical license restricted, suspended or revoked.
Medical boards can also issue remedial non-disciplinary orders that are not intended to cause insurance companies to cancel a physician’s contract. This, unfortunately, is often what happens. Any license restriction on how you can treat and prescribe is generally devastating to a practice. It is not uncommon for medical professionals to see their practice decline by 50% or more. Over time, restrictions can be removed and insurance companies will put physicians on an approved list, but while the order is in effect, maintaining a stable practice can be incredibly difficult.
Do you need an attorney?
When facing medical board investigations, one of the most important things to remember is that medical board investigators and attorneys are not a physician’s ally or friend. Their goal is to prosecute, implicate, and convict. In an administrative setting, more convictions and tough enforcement contribute to a public image that they are doing their jobs well. While healthcare providers are entitled to equal protection and due process under the state and federal Constitution, the requirements of medical boards on an administrative level are somewhat less. This means that you will have a difficult time taking on these actions alone.
To put things simply, you need to consult with an attorney who has experience representing physicians before a medical board. When medical board investigations begin, it is typically because they have received a complaint from a patient or health care provider. In some cases, the complaint may originate from a law enforcement agency. If there is reason to believe that the complaint will likely be dropped, the firm will tell you so. If there is reason to believe that the investigation will lead to an appearance before the board, the firm will begin preparation early. There are times when a well prepared response to the board inquiry will stop further proceedings.
Contact the Firm Today
As a licensed physician for more than 30 years and an attorney for 20, I understand the detrimental impact medical board investigations can create. I always remain professional, nonjudgmental and supportive of my clients, while working diligently to compose and craft the best defense possible. The practice of medicine is a difficult art and involves many different layers of knowledge, which is why having an attorney who has practiced medicine and who understands technical concepts can be an invaluable asset to your case. To learn more about the firm’s legal services, contact the Tew Law Firm today.