There is a general assumption in Texas's administrative law regime that licensees must be given due process before their licenses may be suspended or revoked, and this goes just as much for Physicians as for anyone else. Part of this due process is generally considered to be the giving of notice to a licensee prior to suspension. But there are indeed certain specific situations in which the Texas Medical Board may suspend a medical practitioner's license without notice.
The Texas Medical Board's complaint investigation process generally follows a relatively formal process, in which plenty of notice is given. When it initially receives a complaint against a medical provider, the TMB examines it first to make sure it has jurisdiction over the allegations, then makes a cursory review to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that the Medical Practices Act may have been violated for it to pursue a full investigation. If it chooses to launch such an investigation, the health care professional is then notified via letter. This is where the physician may respond to the allegations, which begins the process of defending their license.
Yet when some allegations are made—particularly those that indicate there might be an ongoing threat if the health care worker who is the subject of the complaint were to continue to practice—Texas law permits a limited exception to this regime. 22 Texas Administrative Code section 187.55 permits the TMB to hold temporary suspension hearings for temporary suspension or restriction of a physician's license. In this case, section 187.57(a) calls for the three-person panel to make a determination on "whether a person's continuation in practice constitutes a continuing threat to the public welfare." This determination of threat to the public must be based on actual actions or failures to act on the part of the physician, which may include an arrest for certain crimes.
And according to Texas Occupation Code chapter 3, section 164.059(c), the TMB may suspend or restrict the license without notice so long as the TMB both gives the license holder notice of the action taken and schedules a hearing on the action as soon as possible, so long as it takes place at least ten days after the notice is given.
In the meantime, the investigation will go on unabated.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that any physician contact a professional medical license defense attorney as soon as they receive a notice of complaint and/or notice of temporary restriction of licensure from the Board. We know the proper way to manage both investigations and the various hearings that follow in order to achieve the best possible outcome in the case.
BERTOLINO LLP is the representation you need. We handle matters related to complaints, ethics, and other important professional licensing issues. If you have received a complaint against your medical license, BERTOLINO LLP can help. 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.