If a complaint is filed against you with the Texas Medical Board (TMB), you will have to defend your Medical License throughout the TMB's Complaint Enforcement Process. To put forth a defense most likely to lead to a positive outcome in your case, it is imperative that you hire a Texas license defense attorney as soon as you are notified of a TMB complaint.
The TMB investigates every complaint it receives. When the investigation reveals that potential violations of the Medical Practices Act or a violation of the standard of care might have occurred, then the complaint is forwarded to the Litigation Section for further action.
Once a complaint is forwarded to the Litigation Section, an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) will be scheduled. The ISC hearing gives the licensee the opportunity to show compliance with the Texas Medical Practices Act. Ninety-percent (90%) of all disciplinary actions by the TMB are resolved through the informal resolution process.
Responsibilities of Participants in Informal Proceedings Before the Texas Medical Board
The Texas Occupations Code includes the statutes and practice acts that enable physicians, physician assistants, and other licensed healthcare workers to practice medicine in Texas. The relevant code sections are known as the Medical Practices Act.
The Code contains a section on the Roles and Responsibilities of Participants in Informal Proceedings. 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032. The Board and the licensee have responsibilities.
Presentation of Allegations
Under the Code an employee of the TMB shall "present a summary of the allegations against the affected physician and of the facts pertaining to the allegation that the employees reasonably believe may be proven by competent evidence at a formal hearing." 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032(b).
Board employees who either present the summary of allegations at the ISC hearing or gather information during the complaint investigation are not allowed to be present during the deliberations of the panel after the hearing. "Only the members of the panel and the board attorney serving as counsel to the panel may be present during the deliberations." 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032(e).
Your Right to Defend Yourself Against Allegations
During all stages of the TMB's Complaint Enforcement Process you have the right to defend yourself and the right to have an attorney represent you, including at the ISC hearing.
The Code requires that the ISC hearing panel "provide an opportunity for the affected physician and the physician's authorized representative to reply to the board employees' presentation[.]" 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032(d). You have the right to present oral and written statements and facts that demonstrate that your actions in question were in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
The Board's Attorney
The Board is to have a Board Attorney to act as counsel to the panel sitting for the ISC hearing. The Board's attorney is to "provide to the panel a historical perspective on comparable cases that have appeared before the board, keep the proceedings focused on the case being discussed, and ensure that the board's employees and the affected physician have an opportunity to present information related to the case." 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032(c).
It is important for you to understand that the Board's Attorney is not your attorney. While he or she has a duty to ensure you have an opportunity to present information at the ISC hearing, the Board's Attorney has no duty to help you defend your license. The Texas Medical Board staffs talented attorneys. We urge you to hire a talented and experienced medical license defense attorney of your own. Your attorney will be dedicated to your best interests and will serve as your advocate.
ISC Hearing Panel Recommendation
Under the Code, if the panel finds no violation of statute or regulation then the panel shall recommend the dismissal of the complaint or allegations. 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032(f). If on the other hand, the panel "determines that the affected physician has violated a statute or board rule," then the panel may make a recommendation for Board action and settlement terms.
The proposed settlement would set out the sanctions and disciplinary action to be taken against the licensee in a written Agreed Order or Remedial Plan. It is required that the panel's recommendation be presented to the physician and the physician's attorney. At this stage the physician must be given the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed settlement. If the proposed settlement is rejected, then "the board may proceed with the filing of a formal complaint with the State Office of Administrative Hearings." 3 Tex. Occ. Code § 164.0032(g).
Hire an Experienced Medical License Defense Attorney
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you with the Texas Medical Board, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced medical license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the TMB's complaint process. 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
Our firm believes that immediately consulting an experienced medical license defense attorney to review allegations of misconduct helps ensure the most favorable outcome in your case. Our results speak for themselves.
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.