The Texas Medical Board (TMB) receives over 7,000 complaints against licensees annually, and it reviews every one of them. If during the preliminary evaluation the TMB determines that it has jurisdiction and that there is sufficient evidence to support an allegation that a violation of the Medical Practices Act may have occurred, then the formal investigation process begins.
During the course of the TMB's enforcement process a licensee may be offered a Remedial Plan or an Agreed Order, which if accepted by the licensee would resolve the case. The vast majority of TMB complaint investigations conclude with either dismissal, or adoption of a Remedial Plan or an Agreed Order.
If, however resolution cannot be reached through a Remedial Plan or an Agreed Order, the case then moves to final resolution at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
An Agreed Order sets out sanctions against the licensee. It is considered disciplinary action and will remain on the doctor's record permanently and report on the TMB's website and the National Practitioner Data Bank.
At various stages of the enforcement process the TMB can offer an Agreed Order. Most typically, an Agreed Order may be offered after an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) in cases where the ISC Panel finds that a violation of the Medical Practices Act occurred.
A Remedial Plan is a corrective action, but is considered non-disciplinary. It allows a licensee to avoid formal disciplinary action by the TMB. A Remedial Plan is used to address minor administrative violations, such as failure to complete mandatory continuing medical education credits.
The TMB may offer a Remedial Plan at the conclusion of the investigation, after evaluation by a Quality Assurance Panel, or after an ISC hearing.
According to Texas law, a Remedial Plan my not contain a provision that: "(A) revokes, suspends, limits, or restricts a person's license or other authorization to practice medicine; or (B) assesses an administrative penalty against a person." 9 Tex. Admin. Code §187.9. Further, a Remedial Plan cannot be used to resolve a complaint that involves a patient's death, commission of a felony, or a matter where a physician engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a patient.
Agreed Order Versus Remedial Plan
The main difference between an Agreed Order and a Remedial Plan is that an Agreed Order is considered disciplinary action and a Remedial Plan is not. Remedial Plans are typically used to address minor administrative violations, while Agreed Orders are used to impose serious sanctions, like license suspension or revocation.
Another difference between the two is in how they are reported against the licensee. A Remedial Plan will not be reported to the National Practitioner Date Bank, or be reported in the TMB's newsletter or in a press release; however, a Remedial Plan will appear on a physicians' public TMB profile. An Agreed Order will be reported in all of the above.
The licensee has the right to accept or reject the terms of an order or a plan. Or, with the assistance of his or her medical license defense attorney, the licensee can attempt to negotiate more favorable terms for an Agreed Order. However, Remedial Plans are non-negotiable.
Have A Medical License Defense Attorney by Your Side
We urge you to hire an experienced medical license defense attorney as soon as the TMB notifies you of a complaint filed against you. Your initial responses to the allegations are critical to the ultimate outcome of your case.
If you didn't hire an attorney from the start, we strongly urge you to refrain from accepting or rejecting a Remedial Plan or Agreed Order before you have consulted with a medical license defense attorney.
If you are facing disciplinary action from the Texas Medical Board, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.
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.