The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is the state agency tasked with "keeping Texas patients safe through the licensure and regulation of Texas physicians." Through the Texas Occupations Code, the Board is given disciplinary authority over those it licenses. In instances where a licensee if found to have violated the Texas Medical Practice Act or a TMB Rule, and depending on the severity, pervasiveness, and any previous discipline, the Board may revoke or suspend a license, put a license on probation, administer a public reprimand, take other disciplinary measures the Board deems appropriate, and/or impose an administrative penalty.
Determining the Appropriate Administrative Penalty to Impose
When determining the appropriate disciplinary action, including the amount of an administrative penalty to assess, the Board "shall" consider whether the person:
- is being disciplined for multiple violations of this subtitle or a rule or order adopted under this subtitle; or
- has previously been the subject of disciplinary action by the board. Occ. Code § 164.001(g).
Further, the Board "shall" also consider "whether the violation relates directly to patient care or involves only an administrative violation." Tex. Occ. Code § 164.001(j).
The TMB is more likely to impose harsher disciplinary action in cases where the licensee is found to have violated a number of rules, has a history of disciplinary action, and/or if the violation(s) relate to patient care.
A first time, single violation that is administrative in nature will most typically result in an administrative penalty (fine) only.
Administrative Penalties by the Texas Medical Board
An administrative penalty may not exceed $5,000 for each violation. However, "[e]ach day a violation continues or occurs is a separate violation for purposes of imposing a penalty." Tex. Occ. Code § 165.003(a).
Just as the Board must consider a number of factors when determining the appropriate disciplinary action for Medical Practice Act or TMB Rule violations, the Board must consider a number of factors when determining the appropriate amount of an administrative penalty to impose. Specifically, the Board must consider six factors. "The amount of the penalty shall be based on:
- the seriousness of the violation, including:
- the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of any prohibited act; and
- the hazard or potential hazard created to the health, safety, or economic welfare of the public;
- the economic harm to property or the environment caused by the violation;
- the history of previous violations;
- the amount necessary to deter a future violation;
- efforts to correct the violation; and
- any other matter that justice may require." Occ. Code § 165.003(b)(1)-(6).
If after following the appropriate Enforcement Process the TMB determines that a violation occurred and imposes an administrative penalty, the Board must notify the licensee.
If you receive a notice of an administrative penalty, you have the right to judicial review of the Board's order. You have 30 days from the date of the TMB's Order imposing the administrative penalty to contest the occurrence of the violation and/or the amount of the penalty imposed. Tex. Occ. Code § 165.005.
Defending Against an Attack by the Texas Medical Board
If a complaint has been filed against you with the Texas Medical Board, it is critical that you take the complaint seriously from the start. We urge you to consult a Medical license defense attorney as soon as you are notified of a complaint.
Even if you believe the complaint to be baseless, your license to practice medicine may be at risk. Even if you believe you committed only a "minor" administrative violation, such as failure to provide copies of medical records in a timely manner or failure to obtain mandatory continuing medical education , you may be at risk of hefty administrative fines.
At BERTOLINO LLP we are experienced medical license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the TMB's complaint process. Our results speak for themselves. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional license, including:
- Temporary Suspension Hearings
- Informal Settlement Conferences (ISC)
- Show Compliance Proceedings
- State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) Proceedings
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.