You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The Board is not your friend. The investigator is not your friend and is essentially a plain clothes police officer who will use anything you say against you. Your interview will be recorded and anything you say could potentially be used against you. The letter you receive will likely tell you that an attorney is not necessary and the investigator will usually be very congenial inviting you to the interview. Most professionals believe that by being cooperative and going along with the investigator and attending without an attorney, that the Board will not take any action. So often professionals go into these situations unprepared for the questioning that takes place at a Board interview. The interview is very confrontational and there is usually a consultant hired by the Board who assists the investigator in questioning the licensee regarding standard of care issues. Many times a licensee is not provided the full story regarding the allegations of why the Board is looking into the licensee’s practice. There are multiple reasons why the Board would be looking into a licensee, most often it comes from patient complaints (sometimes these are malicious complaints with no basis in reality). Sometimes it is a complaint by a colleague or competitor who makes an anonymous complaint. Pharmacists file complaints regarding prescribing practices, and more and more these days the Board will “data mine” the CURES system looking for prescribing practices which raise questions. Regardless of the reasons why you have received a letter by the Board, don’t make the mistake of believing you should handle this by yourself and that it will go away. You should learn your rights by consulting with an experienced attorney who can instruct you on how to prepare for an interview with a Board investigator. Otherwise you run the risk of putting your foot in your mouth and turning an interview into evidence that the Board will use against your license if an Accusation is filed. Learn more about California licensing board investigations.
You should consult with an attorney immediately. There are specific legal requirements that the Board must follow in order to access confidential patient information. You have a legal obligation to protect your patients’ confidential information and should not release it, even to the Board without ensuring that the Board has met its own legal obligations. An experienced health care attorney can instruct you on how to respond to such a request. You have rights and so do your patients. Don’t automatically turn over any patient record without discussing it with an attorney experienced in handling Board matters.
If you have received an Accusation, typically that means that the Board investigator has made a recommendation to the Attorney General’s Office to file an Accusation. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Now that you have received an Accusation you have an important deadline to meet. You (or your attorney) will need to promptly file a Notice of Defense within 15 days of the receipt of the Accusation. It is important that you mail it to the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) assigned to your case by Certified Mail. Always keep a copy of the Notice of Defense that you mail. You or your attorney should also check with the Agency to make sure your Notice of Defense was received by the OAH and agency attorney (DAG). It is crucial that you file a Notice of Defense because you could waive your right to a hearing and you may lose your license by a default judgment. Always make sure that the licensing board has your correct mailing address. Learn more about healthcare practitioners license defense in California.
No. An explanation is not required with a Notice of Defense. The Notice of Defense need only request that you demand an evidentiary hearing. Keep in mind that any statement that you make to the investigator, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) or anyone at the Board may be used against you. Therefore, it is imperative that you not provide the agency with any additional information without first consulting with an experienced professional license attorney.
Yes. You have a right to be represented by counsel at your own expense throughout the process, including at both a Board interview and at the administrative hearing. Many professionals believe that they are capable of representing themselves at a hearing. However, even though licensees have a legal right to self-representation, the odds are stacked against them because the licensing Board will be represented by its own attorney (Deputy Attorney General or DAG) who is experienced in administrative disciplinary matters. The Board’s attorney will not “go-easy” on you just because you do not have an attorney. In fact, all too often, the DAG will see you as an easy target and would be happy that you have chosen to represent yourself. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will expect you to know the rules and procedures of an Administrative Hearing. If you cannot afford an attorney, at the very least, consult with an attorney about your case.
If your license has been revoked, typically you can reapply after 1 to 3 years depending on your licensing agency. Keep in mind that the agency will not just give you another license. You will need to show evidence of rehabilitation. This is something that you should be working on as soon as your license is revoked. By working with an attorney, you need to make a rehabilitation plan that should be implemented over the course of the revocation period. This is not something you want to put off until the end of the probation term. You want to show the Board diligent efforts and consistency. You must build a track record showing your sincere commitment o your rehabilitation. Working with an attorney who understands what the Board is looking for is important. Learn more about healthcare license reinstatements & probation modifications.
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