Every physician requires a license to practice medicine, and specific standards have to be met continuously to keep it. It takes years of training and background checks to get a medical license, and for many physicians losing it is unimaginable. However, professional misconduct, illegal activity, or even an accusation of such activities can be enough for the State Medical Board to suspend a physician’s license.
Whether a hearing in front of the Medical Board happens because of genuine wrongdoing or an unfounded complaint, the effects can be severe for a physician’s practice and overall career. This includes suspension, probation, or revocation. State Medical Boards take such cases very seriously, and it has a wide range of options with how to handle medical license hearings.
- Suspension: A medical license suspension is when the Medical Board orders a physician to stop practicing medicine until the Board permits to do so again.
- Probation: Probation means the Medical Board takes disciplinary action over a certain period. These actions can involve supervision by another practitioner while practicing, limit the types of procedures a physician can perform, require a physician to get more training, and even mandate medical or psychological treatment. The Medical Board also monitors the probation to make sure that its requirements are being followed.
- Revocation: A medical license revocation is when the Medical Board withdraws a physician’s license. The physician is no longer allowed to practice medicine in that state and is the most extreme action that the State Medical Board can take. Failure to comply with a suspension or probation can also lead to license revocation.
Outside of directly affecting a medical license, the Board can also issue fines.
Causes For Board Action to Suspend a Physician’s License
There are many reasons a physician can lose their license or have it limited. While the specific causes that can result in a lost medical license vary based on state laws, common causes include:
- Unprofessional, dishonorable, or unethical workplace conduct
- Gross negligence
- Medical malpractice
- Illegally prescribing medicine
- Substance abuse
- Being convicted of a crime
- Mental or physical impairment
It is important to remember that evidence, accusations, or complaints about these actions can also happen outside the workplace. The Medical Board can also take action without a complaint being filed or in the case of a single infraction. Courts have often upheld license suspensions and revocations not as a punishment to the physician but as a way of maintaining public safety. License penalties can be punitive as well.
Requesting a Hearing Before The Medical Board
If the board chooses to suspend a medical license, they will notify the licensee via a letter. Another document will provide reasons for a suspension and any other penalties that the board decides. After receiving a suspension notification, a physician has the right to request a hearing in front of the State Medical Board. This request has to be made within 30 days, and a deadline will appear on the notification letter.
A physician can get the Board to reverse a suspension in some cases, but such outcomes are challenging to achieve. A physician can dispute the Board’s decision. In-depth evidence such as medical information, the reasoning for whatever choices they made, and any other relevant workplace documents have to be provided to do so.
If the Board still moves to suspend a physician’s medical license, the physician can still file for an appeal. Appeals can also occur before the board but can go to a higher court and an administrative judge. Regardless of a higher court ruling, the Medical Board has the final say in suspending or revoking a license.
When a hearing or appeal is not requested, the suspension goes through, and there may be an administrative investigation into the matter to close it off.
Can a Medical License Be Reinstated?
Depending on the state and the terms of suspension or revocation, a medical license can be reinstated after particular procedures are followed. In some states, there is a waiting period before reinstatement can start. To begin the reinstatement process, a physician has to file for a reactivation application.
Based on the state, instructions to fill out the application and access to it may vary. Some states allow it to be printed online, while others send it through the mail. Secondary documents are often required to complete the reactivation application, such as proof of medical and drug education requirements. A physician trying to reinstate their license must also get professional liability insurance, and minimum coverage amounts vary by state as well.
Another hurdle to clear for reinstatement is that physicians must pass clinical skill evaluations and training programs. The amount of time that these programs take to finish depending on the state and license reinstatement can be delayed until these programs are completed. The State Medical Board can also place conditions on a returning physician’s practice, which have to be followed accordingly.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help When Someone Tries to Suspend a Physician’s License
Defending a medical license is a complicated ordeal. Most courts end up siding with the Board’s decisions in cases of negligence or incompetence. If a physician is at risk of losing their medical license, there is no replacement for a criminal healthcare defense attorney.
An attorney can defend you during every step of the suspension process. They can help gather documents, witnesses, documents and argue on your behalf at a Board hearing. They can help build your case for any future appeals, too. If a physician does not want to go through with a hearing or appeal, a qualified defense lawyer can advise on how to proceed.
If you are a physician facing an imminent suspension, probation, or revocation, do not hesitate to call the Norman Spencer Law Group. Our team of attorneys is committed to defending physicians, and we have the experience necessary to handle any kind of case a physician may face. Call us now to set up a free consultation. We can talk with you over the phone, ZOOM, or meet you in your state if needed.