When a medical professional enters an informal settlement conference with the Texas Medical Board (pursuant to Board rule sec. 187.11), they at times arrive less prepared than they ought to be. This is likely because, given the use of the term “informal,” these professionals get the wrong impression: this informal settlement conference will be more like a trial than the word implies to the untrained ear, and will certainly proceed in a less fair fashion than a medical professional is likely to assume.
Despite the “informal” moniker, these settlement conferences have increased in formality over the years. Rather than taking into account the best intentions on the part of physicians whose licenses have come under attack due to complaints, these conferences often take on the tone of a prosecution—in which it can even appear to be assumed that the alleged action was committed in fact, rather than being evaluated in a fair and balanced manner—and may easily result in a physician losing their license.
The panels slated to hear these cases are composed of at least two board representatives, one of whom must be a public member—meaning the panels generally contain one physician and one public member. It isn’t uncommon for the hearings counsel in these panels to attempt to levy more control over the proceedings—and the panel itself—than appears to be indicated by the rules. This can only inhere to the detriment of the licensee under review.
After the conference (and a deliberation period) the board representatives may:
- Recommend a remedial plan. This is intended to resolve the given complaint.
- Recommend that a disciplinary panel be convened to consider either temporarily suspending or revoking the physician’s license.
- Direct a formal complaint be filed with SOAH.
- Recommend the imposition of an administrative penalty.
- Defer the informal settlement conference until further investigation can be done.
- Recommend an agreed order, proposing that the complaint be resolved in writing.
- Recommend that the allegations be dismissed.
No medical professional should enter one of these informal settlement conferences without doing due diligence and employing an experienced license defense attorney.
When Your Medical License is Under Attack
If someone has lodged a formal complaint against you and your medical license, your professional reputation and good name are on the line. It’s critically important that you take the complaint seriously from the start and address the allegations head-on.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.
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