Being notified that the Texas Medical Board (TMB) is investigating you may feel like a punch to the gut. You worked for years to earn your medical license and you strive to give your patients the best medical care possible. To then be faced with allegations of misconduct, of breaching the standard of care or violating the Texas Medical Practice Act or Board Rule, is painful and confusing.
Your first inclination may be to deny that there was any impropriety in the care you provided and dismiss the complaint as irrelevant. Regardless of how you feel about the allegations, do not downplay the seriousness of a TMB investigation. Do not mistakenly assume the Board will agree that the complaint is frivolous and dismiss it. The TMB opens an investigation only after it reviews a complaint and determines that a violation of the Medical Practices Act might have occurred.
Consult with a medical license defense attorney immediately. As soon as you are notified of a complaint filed against you with the TMB, contact a medical license defense attorney. Once the investigation is underway, there will be deadlines and forward motion in the case against you. Be prepared from the start with strong representation to defend your license to practice medicine.
Check your malpractice insurance coverage. Your medical malpractice insurance policy may offer coverage that will reimburse you for legal expenses and expert witness fees incurred in defending against a TMB complaint, up to the policy limits and subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
Capture the opportunity to make the best possible impression on the Board. Your initial written responses to the Board are critical to the ultimate outcome of your case. Work with an experienced medical defense attorney to craft your initial responses to the complaint. Your attorney will help you present your side of the events in a clear and concise manner, in a persuasive and appropriate way, without unnecessary admissions.
The Board does not know you, does not know your work, and does not know about your good reputation. The Board's mission is to protect the public, not your interests. It is critical that you do everything possible to make a favorable first impression on the board.
Understand that you may not be told of the specifics of the allegations against you right away. Under the Medical Practice Act the Board's notice of an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) "must be accompanied by a written statement of the nature of the allegations and the information the board intends to use at the meeting." Tex. Occ. Code §164.003(f). Further, if the complaint against you includes an allegation of standard of care violations, then "the notice must include a copy of the report by the expert physician reviewer." Tex. Occ. Code §164.003(f).
At this stage you must provide the Board with your rebuttal at least 15 business days prior to the scheduled date of the ISC. This is another reason why it is critical to hire a medical license defense attorney immediately after you are first notified of a complaint filed against you.
Prepare for the Informal Settlement Conference (ISC). The TMB states the purpose of the ISC hearing is "to provide an informal forum for the panel to review the information and for the licensee to show that he or she is in compliance with the Medical Practice Act." Ninety-percent (90%) of all disciplinary actions by the TMB are resolved through the informal resolution process.
You may have to consider an Agreed Order offered by the Board. If after the ISC the review panel determines that there was a violation of the Medical Practices Act, the board may offer an Agreed Order, which sets out the proposed sanctions and disciplinary action against you.
You have the right to reject, accept, or attempt to negotiate the terms of an Agreed Order. You will have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of accepting the Board's proposed sanctions. With the help of your medical license defense attorney you can consider the strength of your defense, how damaging the evidence against you is, the potential ramifications to accepting the Agreed Order, and your likelihood of prevailing during formal resolution.
You may feel the disciplinary action is undeserved. If your choice is to reject the Agreed Order, then your case will move forward to formal resolution at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
Hire the Experienced License Defense Attorneys of BERTOLINO LLP
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.