You’ve worked hard to get the education and credentials necessary to become a licensed physician or medical professional and build your career. Unfortunately, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) has advised that you are facing a complaint against your license for violating a rule or law related to patient safety and quality of care. Even if the complaint is groundless, you must proactively protect your license and career, as the TMB can take significant disciplinary actions against you, up to and including the revocation of your license.
The TMB takes violation of rules and laws concerning patient care and safety extremely seriously. Therefore, contact a medical license defense attorney to help you with the complaint and any disciplinary proceedings before the TMB that you may encounter.
Rules and Laws Affecting Patient Safety and Quality of Care
The leading role of the TMB is to ensure that only qualified candidates meeting specific eligibility criteria become licensed physicians or other medical professionals whom the TMB licenses. Likewise, the TMB has the authority to regulate and discipline any doctors or other medical professionals over whom it has jurisdiction for violating the rules and laws that apply to their profession. The TMB Rules and the Texas Medical Practice Act (“the Act”) outline these rules and laws.
The list of violations of the Act outlined in 22 Tex. Admin. Code §190.8 is not exhaustive. However, this section contains acts, practices, and conduct that mostly relate to patient care quality and safety. The TMB is the sole body that can take administrative action against a medical professional’s license for patient care and safety violations and prevent them from repeating them in the future. In the most egregious cases, the TMB can suspend or revoke a physician or medical professional’s license, which can temporarily or permanently inhibit a physician or medical professional from committing the same violations of the Act related to patient safety or quality of care.
Some examples of violations of the Act that relate to patient care and safety include the following, which are considered to be practices inconsistent with public health and welfare:
- Failure to treat a patient according to the generally accepted standard of care;
- Negligence in performing medical services;
- failure to disclose reasonably foreseeable side effects of a procedure or treatment;
- Failure to disclose reasonable alternative treatments to a proposed procedure or treatment;
- Prescription of any dangerous drug or controlled substance without first establishing a valid practitioner-patient relationship (with some exceptions);
- Inappropriate prescription of dangerous drugs or controlled substances to oneself, family members, or others with whom there is a close personal relationship that would include the following:
- Prescribing or administering dangerous drugs or controlled substances without taking an adequate history, performing a proper physical examination, creating and maintaining adequate records; and
- Prescribing controlled substances in the absence of immediate need. “Immediate need” shall be considered no more than 72 hours.
Some violations of the Act that constitute unprofessional and dishonorable conduct also pertain to patient care quality and safety. These violations include the following:
- Providing medically unnecessary services to a patient;
- Behaving in an abusive or assaultive manner towards a patient or the patient’s family or representatives that interfere with patient care or could be reasonably expected to adversely impact the quality of care rendered to a patient;
- Failing to timely respond to communications from a patient;
- Failing to complete the required amounts of CME;
- Failing to maintain the confidentiality of a patient;
- Failing to report suspected abuse of a patient by a third party when the report of that abuse is required by law;
- Behaving in a disruptive manner toward licensees, hospital personnel, other medical personnel, patients, family members, or others that interferes with patient care or could be reasonably expected to adversely impact the quality of care rendered to a patient; and
- Repeated or recurring meritorious health care liability claims based on a finding of negligence in patient care or a settlement of $50,000 or more.
Finally, some disciplinary actions are based on criminal convictions. In some cases, criminal convictions, deferred adjudications, placements on community supervision, or deferred dispositions are completely unrelated to a medical professional’s practice, although they still constitute violations of the Act. However, criminal convictions directly relate to patient care and safety in other situations. Therefore, the TMB is instrumental in enforcing these violations to ensure the quality of patient care and safety.
Some criminal convictions that result in disciplinary actions against doctors and other medical professionals regulated by the TMB include the following:
- Felonies that directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation; and
- Misdemeanors that involve moral turpitude and directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation.
Misdemeanors involve moral turpitude if a Texas state court has found the crime to involve moral turpitude, the crime involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, violence, or the crime reflects adversely on a licensee’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice under the scope of the person’s license. Additionally, misdemeanors directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the licensee’s occupation if they:
- arose out of the practice of medicine, as defined by the Act;
- arose out of the practice location of the physician;
- involve a patient or former patient;
- involve any other health professional with whom the physician has or has had a professional relationship;
- involve the prescribing, sale, distribution, or use of any dangerous drug or controlled substance; or
- involve the billing for or any financial arrangement regarding any medical service.
Get the Advice You Need About Disciplinary Action Against Your Medical License
Facing a complaint regarding the quality of your patient care or matters concerning patient safety is serious. As a result, you cannot take unwarranted risks in facing disciplinary proceedings on your own without the potential for disastrous results. A medical license defense lawyer at Bertolino LLP, can look at the facts surrounding your situation and determine the best strategy to protect your professional license. Call us today at (512) 515-9518 or get more information about us online.