It is not uncommon for patients to file complaints against physicians before the Texas Medical Board. In fact, doctors are among the most second-guessed of the licensed professions, due to the make-or-break nature of their work. People are unforgiving when they put their health in another person’s hands. The Board receives in excess of 7,000 complaints in a given year.
While the most common forms of complaints against doctors are things like misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis, unnecessary or inappropriate surgery, unnecessary or inappropriate course of treatment, incomplete discharge instructions, premature discharge, and drug errors, these complaints often come down to being a matter of subjective interpretation after the fact. Everyone is human, and we know physicians do their utmost to practice medicine properly and to do the best they can for their patients.
The Board has jurisdiction over any licensed physician in the state for violations of the Texas Medical Practice Act. When the Board receives a complaint and determines it has jurisdiction over it, it begins an investigation. A doctor in Texas has the right to have counsel at every stage of the process—and indeed, it would not be wise to respond to notification of complaint before consulting with a qualified attorney.
If the Board determines that there is evidence of a violation, the process proceeds to the Informal Settlement Conference, where the physician is provided the opportunity to respond to the complaint and present evidence to the contrary. Despite having the word “informal” in its name, this conference is a high-stakes gathering with a prosecutorial nature, where a doctor’s license is at stake. A doctor should never enter this conference—or respond to it via written information—planning to go it alone. An experienced attorney is always a necessary companion at this stage.
The Conference will result in a decision –either the alleged violation occurred or it did not. If the panel determines a violation occurred, then punishment or remedial action is recommended. This can, at times, mean a physician loses his license to practice medicine in the state of Texas.
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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