When a complaint is filed with the Texas Medical Board against a physician’s license, it can result in severe consequences for the physician. If you’re a physician facing a complaint, chances are you have already gone over the complained-about behavior in your head. If you’re sure no, there was no harm done as a result of it, you may be wondering why the complaint was filed, and, on top of that, whether the fact that no harm occurred means you’ll get more lenient treatment from the Board.
The Texas Medical Board is regimented in reviewing every complaint it receives. After all, the Board is charged with protecting the public—not protecting physicians from the whims of the public. Therefore, each complaint is reviewed to determine whether the subject of the complaint includes improper behavior that falls within its jurisdiction to discipline. If it does, then an investigation begins. This is also when you, the physician, are informed of the complaint’s existence.
Even where you believe the complaint is without merit and that the violation, if true, would only be minor, you need to take the complaint process seriously. In part, this is because the Board is fully capable of taking disciplinary action against you even when no patient suffered any injury. To the Board, it’s about whether its Rules were violated—not whether the patient suffered actual harm (that issue is usually settled in civil court if a patient pursues it). Nonetheless, where a patient does suffer injury from the action (or from negligent inaction), the Rules permit it to be viewed as an aggravating factor in the case—of the sort that, according to Texas Administrative Code section 190.15(a), “warrant more severe or restrictive action by the board.”
Even if no harm has occurred to the patient concerned in the complaint against your license, do not hesitate to contact us. The more time we have to craft a response to the very first communication you receive—on which there are almost always deadlines to meet—the better we will be able to craft your strategic defense and set the scope of the investigation in your favor. BERTOLINO, LLP will go the distance, from the very first stage of the process (where we can be effective at forestalling disciplinary proceedings) to the end of any disciplinary proceedings that may occur as a result.
To best serve our clients, we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.