Complaints and disciplinary proceedings against medical professionals by the Texas Medical Board (TMB) can result in many sanctions. These sanctions differ according to the severity of the conduct involved, the professional’s prior disciplinary history, and other factors.
However, some of the potential sanctions that you can receive can impact your ability to continue working in the medical profession. As a result, you should take all complaints against your license seriously and get immediate legal advice from a professional medical license defense lawyer.
Potential Sanctions for Violations of the Texas Medical Practice Act
The TMB screens complaints and medical professionals to decide whether they violated the Medical Practice Act (“the Act”). If they determine that a professional has violated the Act, they can impose one or more sanctions and administrative penalties. In most cases, these sanctions come by agreement of the parties in the form of an Agreed Board Order. However, when the parties cannot reach an agreement, they come by order of the TMB following formal disciplinary proceedings.
Some of the more lenient sanctions for violations of the Act include public reprimands and administrative penalties or monetary fines. However, more serious violations also can lead to sanctions such as:
- Probation with conditions placed on the medical license
- Suspension of the medical license
- Revocation of the medical license
Probation can include certain conditions and restrictions on a professional’s ability to practice medicine. A remedial plan is another method of requiring a medical professional to complete certain conditions to avoid further disciplinary action. Possible restrictions and conditions under probation or remedial plans may include:
- Limiting the professional from certain areas of practice or restricting them from performing certain procedures
- Requiring additional training or education
- Requiring supervision by a chart or other practice monitor
- Ordering compliance appearances before the TMB
- Referring the professional to the Texas Physician Health Program
- Requiring participation in rehabilitation or behavioral health programs
- Requiring the professional to abstain from drugs and alcohol and/or undergo drugs and alcohol testing
- Ordering participation in AA or similar programs
- Prohibiting treatment of certain types of patients or requiring chaperones or supervision to treat some patients
- Conducting random and unannounced compliance visits at the professional’s workplace
Failure to comply with a remedial plan or the terms and conditions of probation constitutes unprofessional or dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or injure the public and is an independent violation of the Act under Rule §189.8. Therefore, a medical professional who fails to comply with a remedial plan or the terms of probation can face further discipline for the original violation and face additional sanctions for a new violation.
Examples of Recent TMB Disciplinary Actions
TMB disciplinary actions vary, but here is a sampling of recent disciplinary actions that the TMB has taken against medical professionals.
- In October 2021, a panel of the TMB temporarily suspended without notice the medical license of a physician who was arrested for possession or promotion of child pornography. The panel determined that allowing the physician to continue to practice medicine posed a continuing threat to public welfare.
- A doctor reached an Agreed Order with the TMB in October 2021 for a public reprimand for failure to meet the standard of care in his pre-operative and post-operative documentation. The Agreed Order requires the doctor to:
- Schedule an assessment with the KSTAR Program within six months
- Have another physician monitor his practice for eight consecutive monitoring cycles
- Pass the Medical Jurisprudence Exam within one year and three attempts
- Complete at least 24 hours of CME within one year, including eight hours in medical recordkeeping, eight hours in ethics, and eight hours in risk management
- In October 2021, a physician reached an Agreed Order with the TMB for continuing a prescription at discharge that was contraindicated for the patient. As a result, the Agreed Order required him to complete at least 12 hours of CME within one year, including four hours in risk management and eight hours in prescribing controlled substances to comorbid patients.
- A physician received a temporary suspension of his medical license without notice from the TMB in December 2021 after his employer suspended him for an inability to practice medicine safely due to alcohol or substance abuse.
- In March 2022, a panel of the TMB temporarily suspended without notice the medical license of a physician whose license was in a delinquent status and unable to be renewed due to an unpaid child support judgment. Despite the delinquent status of his license, the physician continued to prescribe controlled substances to patients and failed to cooperate with or respond to requests for information from the TMB.
- A doctor entered into a Waiver Order with the TMB in March 2022 that prohibits him from treating female patients in Texas until he requests in writing and appears before the TMB to provide evidence that he is safe to practice. The doctor must provide evidence that he has completed a Federation of State Medical Boards approved boundaries course and an independent medical evaluation. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs had referred the doctor to the TMB for failing to meet acceptable standards of clinical practice for female veteran patients.
We Are Here to Defend You Before the TMB
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When you receive a complaint from TMB that could impact your medical license, you may be unsure where to turn first. Our medical license defense attorneys stand ready to represent your interests and defend you from the allegations against you. Call us today at (512) 476-5757 to reach the offices of Bertolino LLP or contact us online.