Texas doctors and surgeons must adhere to rigorous professional standards. These standards consist of rules and regulations intended to protect patient well-being and safeguard the rights of medical practitioners.
If your decisions or behavior are challenged by the Texas Medical Board (TMB) or the Texas Physician Assistant Board (TPAB), your license and reputation are put on the line. An accomplished physician license defense attorney will work diligently to defend your rights and credentials.
Contact Bertolino LLP today to discuss your case with a medical license defense attorney.
Complaints Filed with the TMB Are On the Rise in a Post Covid-19 World
The number of complaints filed with the TMB has increased dramatically over the past several years. This could be attributed to an increase in public awareness of medical malpractice and negligence, as well as an increase in the number of practicing physicians in the state.
Additionally, medical errors have been studied with greater scrutiny in recent years. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to recognize medical errors as a cause of death, Johns Hopkins Medicine created a comprehensive study to address this issue.
Their data reflects that 10% of all U.S. fatalities can be attributed to medical errors, making them the nation’s third-highest cause of death. As a result, more physicians are facing disciplinary action from the board, which can include license suspension or revocation.
Your Physician License Can Be Challenged by Various Complaint Types
Complaints against physicians range from criminal actions to negligence and may include the following:
- Inadequate medical documentation
- Fraudulent billing practices, including upcoding, duplicating charges, or charging for never-rendered services
- Non-therapeutic prescribing of controlled medications, such as opioids
- Failure to properly monitor a patient who is taking a controlled medication
- Failure to properly diagnose or treat a patient
- Failure to properly supervise another medical professional during patient care or treatment
- Unprofessional conduct, including inappropriate behavior around or towards staff members, colleagues, or patients
- Substandard medical care or patient abuse
- Medical negligence
- Professional misconduct
- Failure to respond to a patient or hospital during an emergency
- Failure to use proper diligence in the generally accepted manner
- Criminal charges, including prescription drug fraud, violations of anti-kickback fraud and abuse laws, DUIs, substance abuse, and defrauding the government using Medicaid or Medicare
- Violations stemming from the chain of patient care
Recent Statistics Show Trends in Physician Licensing Complaints
“Unprofessional conduct” has become a generalized phrase involving various acts. In the last reporting year, MDLinx stated that 50% of complaints against physicians were due to unprofessional conduct. Only a few formal complaints are followed closely by a medical malpractice lawsuit.
According to a study entitled Communication Gaffes: A Root Cause of Malpractice Claims, only 1-2% of alleged medical negligence become medical malpractice lawsuits.
Various other studies stated:
- Forty-one percent of patients have claimed they are the victims of medical negligence.
- Between 80% to 90% of malpractice claims are dismissed, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
- An estimated 4,000 physicians are subjected to disciplinary action from state boards each year, according to another NLM-published study.
- Psychiatrists make up the majority of physicians facing disciplinary charges at 12.8%.
- Thirty-four percent of charges are related to sexual misconduct by a psychiatrist.
A Texas study of medical license revocation found that physicians have a greater chance of having their license revoked for complaints to the medical board the longer they have practiced medicine.
What Happens After the TMB sends you a Complaint Letter
First, you will receive a letter detailing the nature of the complaint. Next, the Texas State Medical Board (TMB) will begin its investigation phase to prioritize and sort the complaints they receive.
Like most medical decisions, those that pose the greatest threat or risk to patient health will be bumped to the front of the line.
For example, complaints are fast-tracked due to allegations of drug or alcohol abuse. The same is true if a physician reportedly has an inappropriate relationship with a patient.
What Should You Do If You Receive a Notice of Complaint?
Without a strong response guided by a qualified licensure defense lawyer, the consequences of a complaint may impact your medical career and your license. This is why it is imperative that you do not represent yourself and respond to the letter on your own. Instead, our highly accomplished and dedicated attorneys will work with you to:
- Respond to the allegations of misconduct.
- Prepare a strong defense.
- Collect evidence that may help clear your name.
- Help you protect your right to a fair review.
You should expect an experienced attorney to interview your colleagues and other fact witnesses, review relevant medical records, and call upon experts to testify on your behalf.
When every detail matters, an experienced physician license defense attorney from our firm will work tirelessly to assemble a solid and successful legal case.
Disciplinary Actions Resulting from Complaints Against Physicians
Facing a medical board complaint is overwhelming. If you are dealing with a formal complaint, it may be one of the most stressful processes in your career. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) oversees and interferes in any improper, incompetent, or unprofessional reported conduct.
According to a comprehensive FSMB study on U.S. Regulatory Medical Trends, technological advances have led to greater accuracy in identifying unprofessional conduct and responding with appropriate disciplinary action.
Over the last decade, an average of 4,000 physicians a year have received disciplinary action. The number jumped to nearly 9,000 disciplinary actions in the last reporting year. An MDlinx analysis of the top disciplinary actions taken that year by medical licensing boards saw:
- Licenses were revoked in 264 cases: A revoked license prohibits a physician from practicing medicine within the state.
- Five hundred and seventy physicians chose to surrender their license: If a physician willingly surrenders their license, it will not be renewed, restored, or reinstated.
- Seven hundred sixty-four physicians were placed on probation: Physicians on probation will have their license monitored, practice under supervision, or be prohibited from performing specific medical procedures.
- Licenses were suspended in 796 cases: Suspended licenses are reinstated once the medical board completes a disciplinary investigation, or the physician fulfills their requirements.
- Quality-of-care complaints led to 869 continuing medical education (CME) requirements: Generally, CME requirements are issued when the problems stem from the physician’s standard of care or treatment skills.
- Conditions set by the board were imposed in 887 cases: Conditions are subject to the board’s discretion and vary widely with each complaint.
- Nearly 900 physicians were fined for unprofessional conduct: Unprofessional conduct figured in 890 cases, ranging from sexual misconduct to poor record-keeping.
- Administrative action was taken in 1,023 cases: Administrative actions are typically non-punitive and will not affect a physician’s license.
- Reprimands were issued in 1,147 cases: The medical board may issue a private or public reprimand in lieu of formal charges. The reprimand may be a letter, warning, or another non-disciplinary action.
- Professional licenses were restricted for 1,343 physicians: Restricted licenses usually result in the loss of clinical privileges and often stem from mental and health issues or improper prescribing of medication.
The above analysis compared the results from the last reporting year with trends over the last decade and found an increasing number of license suspensions and restrictions.
Why Hire Us?
Dealing with license defense issues can be overwhelming for physicians. Numerous intricate legal matters need to be considered. It is critical to have someone you trust on your side.
You need a legal team that thoroughly understands the Texas legal system and how the Texas Medical Board handles physician license complaints.
Our goal as your legal counsel is simple:
- We want what is best for you.
- We begin by listening and learning the details of your case.
- We want to know about your needs and expectations.
- We strive to put you in a much better position than before you hired us.
If your physician’s license is in jeopardy or you suspect a formal accusation has been made against you, it is in your best interest to contact a Texas medical board defense attorney from our firm. We’ll perform a thorough case evaluation and discuss your legal options.
Our attorneys have decades of experience defending healthcare professionals like you in administrative hearings, regulatory matters, and false claims. In addition, our Texas medical license lawyers have extensive knowledge of the medical board investigative process.
We know you are a highly skilled medical professional who has spent years in medical school and established a solid reputation. A successful defense can help mitigate complaint damage while safeguarding the integrity of your medical license.
Our experienced litigation team at Bertolino LLP has helped numerous physicians keep their medical licenses. Let one of our medical license defense lawyers help you do the same. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our law firm’s client relations coordinator.Call Today
A Law Firm You Can Trust; a Law Firm that will stand up to the Board for You
Having a strong, reliable Texas medical board defense attorney on your side, working just for you, can make all the difference in your case. Don’t take risks. You have too much at stake. Contact us and schedule a case evaluation. You can reach us at (512) 476-5757 in Austin. You can also contact us anytime online.Contact Now