Receiving notice of a complaint against your medical license can be upsetting and stressful. However, even if the allegations against you are untrue, you still should take the matter seriously. Disciplinary action can result in a permanent mark on your records, adversely affecting your career and future. As a result, you should not hesitate to get the legal assistance you need in this situation, whether you accept a remedial plan or choose to litigate the matter at an administrative hearing. Contact a Texas license defense attorney immediately when you receive notice of a complaint.
Determining whether to accept a remedial plan that the TMB offers you in response to a complaint is a highly fact-sensitive situation. Entering a remedial plan can be a way to resolve a complaint against you without formal disciplinary action. However, a remedial plan does place some responsibilities and duties on you that you should be aware of before agreeing to the plan terms.
Understanding Remedial Plans
The Texas Medical Board (TMB) licenses, regulates, and enforces violations of the laws and rules governing medical professionals in Texas. When TMB receives a complaint about a medical doctor, they must investigate the complaint, determine whether the agency has authority over it, and decide whether a violation of a law or regulation has occurred. If the TMB determines that a violation has occurred, the TMB must decide how to handle the violation.
One potential option for resolving a complaint is the issuance of a remedial plan under Tex. Occ. Code §164.0015. A remedial plan is a non-disciplinary settlement agreement that the TMB reaches with a medical professional in response to a complaint. Since it is a non-disciplinary form of action, a remedial plan may not contain provisions that:
- Revoke, suspend, limit, or restrict a person’s license or other authorization to practice medicine; or
- Assess an administrative penalty against a person (although the TMB may assess a fee to cover the plan’s costs).
The TMB cannot use a remedial plan in some cases. More specifically, the TMB cannot use a remedial plan to resolve a complaint concerning a patient death, the commission of a felony or a matter in which the physician engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior or contact with a patient became financially or personally involved with a patient in an appropriate manner. A remedial plan is also not an option if the appropriate resolution of a complaint may involve a restriction on how a doctor practices medicine. Finally, the TMB may not issue a remedial plan if the doctor has already entered a remedial plan with TMB in the previous five years.
However, remedial plans are an available lesser sanction for many rules violations. For instance, you may be eligible for a remedial plan if your alleged violation involves:
- Abusive or disruptive behavior
- Breach of confidentiality
- Failure to notify TMB of a change in practice or mailing address
- Failure to electronically sign a death certificate
- Failure to adequately supervise subordinates or improper delegation
- Failure to communicate with a patient or other provider
- Failure to report a health care liability claim
Complying with the Terms and Conditions of a Remedial Plan
Under Tex. Admin. Code § 189.3, if you agree to a remedial plan with TMB, you must comply with all its terms and conditions. Failure to comply can result in agency review and action against you for noncompliance.
For example, suppose your remedial plan requires you to complete Continuing Medical Education (CME). In that case, you must document your completion of the required CME to the TMB by providing a certificate of completion from a formal CME course, a letter from the presenter on the presenter’s letterhead, or a report of CME activities provided by an accredited and approved third-party testing entity.
Likewise, you must ensure that the TMB receives all necessary third-party reports. You must make good faith efforts to ensure that third parties timely submit reports to the TMB as requested, such as copies of certified letters with mail receipts, copies of receipts for payments for services, or other objective evidence.
Noncompliance with Remedial Plans
TMB makes random, unannounced visits to the workplaces and residences of doctors subject to remedial plans. A remedial plan also may require the doctor to appear periodically before the TMB as one of its conditions. If the TMB determines that a doctor is noncompliant with a remedial plan after an appearance before the TMB, the agency can take further action against the doctor.
Noncompliance with a remedial plan constitutes “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or injure the public and is a violation of the Act” under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 189.8. A doctor can resolve a finding of noncompliance by the TMB by either appearing at a noncompliance proceeding or entering a settlement agreement with the TMB.
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Safeguard Your License by Seeking Legal Assistance Today
Disciplinary proceedings before the Texas Medical Board or another licensing board or agency could put you at risk of losing your license. As a result, you will need immediate legal representation to take the steps necessary to defend your license from these potentially severe consequences. At Bertolino, LLP, we offer experienced professional license defense services for individuals involved in various professions. Contact us today by calling (512) 515-9518 or contacting us online. We can analyze the circumstances that led to the complaint against you and determine the legal strategy that is best calculated to reach the best possible outcome in your case.