In its course of operations, the Texas Medical Board processes more than 7,000 complaints against physicians in a typical year. Of course, not every one of these makes it through the first evaluation, particularly if they fail to pass the muster of falling within the Board’s jurisdiction and having enough evidence to support the allegations having violated either the law or Board Rules. But those that do generally result in the launching of an investigation, at which point the physician is advised of the complaint made against them, and during which the practitioner is sometimes offered either a Remedial Plan or an Agreed Order. These two options are designed, on the face of things, to resolve the case without things proceeding further.
A Remedial Plan avoids the physician being subjected to formal disciplinary action. Texas law does not permit such a plan to contain any provisions that limit a licensee’s authorization to practice medicine or that require they pay an administrative penalty. Remedial Plans are generally reserved for minor infractions, generally of an administrative sort. They may not be used for cases with heavy elements such as where a felony has been committed, where there is evidence of inappropriate sexual contact with a patient, or when a patient has lost their life. These Plans are generally offered either after the investigation has occurred after a Quality Assurance Panel has had a chance to evaluate the situation, or after an informal show compliance and settlement conference (ISC).
An Agreed Order, on the other hand, is considered to be a disciplinary action. Unlike Remedial Plans, Agreed Orders may be used to handle situations of more consequence than mere administrative infractions—and can even be used to suspend or revoke the physician’s license. An Agreed Order is reported to public-facing lists, including the National Practitioner’s Databank, and in Press Releases and newsletters published by the Texas Medical Board.
Both of these options, when put to the licensed physician for consideration, may be reviewed and rejected by the licensee. While Remedial Plans are non-negotiable, Agreed Orders may benefit from an attorney’s assistance in alteration to impose less harsh penalties.
Of course, the entire duration of an investigation can be changed from the outset if a physician contacts a professional license defense attorney, like us here at BERTOLINO LLP, as soon as they are made aware of the complaint. The earlier in the complaint process that you contact an attorney, the better.
We proudly represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from the Texas Medical Board for any reason, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 to schedule a case evaluation. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.