The practice of medicine and other healing arts is closely regulated in the United States. In recent years, this regulation has increased at both the state and federal levels. Licensed physicians and other health care providers face potential disciplinary actions from multitude of public and privately operated agencies and other entities, including federal entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, DEA, and managed care organizations quality assurance boards. However, the one agency which usually maintains the power to terminate a health care professional’s license to practice remains the state medical licensing board.
If a formal accusation has been filed, one must act decisively to mount a defense to the charges. Failure to act quickly may result in forfeiture of important legal rights. Legal rights which apply in malpractice suits may not be available, or may be strictly limited, in defending one’s license to practice. For example, in most states, including California, the provider’s right to obtain discovery of the evidence against him or her is much more limited in the administrative hearing than in civil court suits; written interrogatories and oral depositions are usually not allowed.
A health care provider is entitled to a formal hearing before his or her license may be restricted or revoked, but the nature and extent of the hearing may vary depending upon the state law, as well as how one responds to the accusation in the first instance. Agencies are granted a great deal of leeway in prosecuting licensees and are accorded wide deference by the courts when their final decisions are challenged as improper or unfair. A lawyer defending a license disciplinary action on behalf of a professional health care provider must be vigilant in protecting the professional’s constitutional rights of due process and preserving all objections for purposes of appeal. A provider who defends himself throughout the formal hearing process, and then comes to the lawyer when disciplinary sanctions have been imposed and the time for appeal is already running, stands less chance in reversing the agency’s order.
The Law Firm of Marvin Firestone, MD•JD, & Associates, LLP has been helping doctors, nurses, psychologists and other healthcare professionals protect and defend their professional licenses for over 33 years. Our medical-legal experience may mean the difference in a professional’s career. By getting involved immediately after the physician or healthcare professional knows of an investigation of care, we can help to control the investigative and formal hearing process, develop the evidence needed to defend allegations, and uncover the true facts. If you are the target of an investigation or Board Accusation, don’t delay seeking the advice and counsel of a health or medical lawyer. To schedule a FREE initial phone consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 1-800-LAW-MDJD (1-800-529-6353).We serve clients throughout California.