Medical Board of California Physician License Defense Attorneys
Where a physician is the subject of a complaint or investigation, it is critical to engage knowledgeable and experienced licensing counsel before responding. Many times counsel can assist a physician in responding effectively to the Medical Board of California Central Complaint Unit which can result in the investigation being closed with no formal accusation. The anxiety and expense of defending a formal accusation before the Board can be extraordinary. If a formal accusation is filed, a copy of that charging document will be posted on the Board's website, which can adversely affect a physician's reputation even where the allegations are later proven to be without merit. What an attorney can do for you now.
The Board takes all allegations of misconduct against physicians seriously, and the number of matters forwarded to the Attorney General's Office for the filing of a formal accusation has increased in recent years even as the total number of complaints against physicians have declined. From fiscal years 02/03 until 11/12 complaints against physicians declined from 11,556 to 6,923, while referrals after to the Attorney General for the filing of charges rose from 494 to 610. Enforcement Statistics.
In the fiscal year 11/12, approximately two-thirds of all complaints against physicians were from members of the public. The remaining complaints were from anonymous persons, legally mandated self-referrals, and reports from government and other agencies. Physicians are required to report to the Board where they are charged with a felony offense in an indictment or information, or if convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime. Health facilities and peer review reports are also required to be made to the Board under certain circumstances.
The medical profession is rewarding but extremely stressful. The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research reports that 10-12% of physicians will develop a sustance abuse disorder during their careers, a rate higher than that of the general public. The legislature previously authorized a physician's diversion program which in some cases was an alternative to formal discipline. The program ended in 2008 after criticism that it failed to adequately protect the public. A physician with a substance abuse disorder may still be able to continue the practice of medicine, but may be subject to a stayed license, discipline, and formal Board probation. The attorneys at Rothschild Wishek & Sands LLP have worked with countless persons, including professionals, who have a substance abuse disorder, mental illness, or dual diagnosis. We are able to refer professionals for evaluations and treatment recommendations that can save our client's life and professional career. In other cases, a physician may be wrongly suspected of a substance abuse disorder or mental illness that is claimed to affect their ability to safely practice. In those cases we can refer a client for an evaluation and undertake investigation which can substantiate to the Board that the physician is not impaired and that the suspicion or allegation is unfounded. Comparison of diversion program to current Board practices.
If you receive a call or visit from a Board investigator, a letter from the Board, or an accusation or statement of issues before the Board, you should immediately contact an attorney with experience representing medical professionals in licensing investigations and proceedings. The attorneys at Rothschild Wishek & Sands can assist you in responding to the Board before an accusation is filed, and can defend you before the Board in an administrative proceeding. In many cases our clients have engaged in no misconduct but instead are the target of an unjust complaint or an unfortunate misunderstanding. In other cases, including matters where a client is chemically dependent or has made an uncharacteristic mistake, we will work with clients to establish mitigating circumstances which may result in no discipline, probation with a stayed license penalty, or a shorter license suspension. In most cases where we are engaged during an investigation we will submit a detailed analysis of the allegations to the investigator along with evidence to support our client's position that no misconduct occurred or that license discipline is unwarranted.
The attorneys at Rothschild Wishek & Sands LLP can also assist physicians with petitions for penalty reduction or reinstatement of a previously revoked license.
For doctors facing allegations of professional misconduct before the Medical Board of California, contact Rothschild Wishek & Sands LLP for knowledgeable and effective representation.