It often starts with a letter. The state medical board generally notifies physicians of an impending investigation by sending a letter and a request for records. This letter is something to take seriously, even if you are certain the complaint that triggered the investigation is frivolous or outright false.
What types of allegations can lead to an investigation?
It generally takes more than just an upset patient or one who is frustrated with billing practices to trigger the state medical board to investigate. The American Medical Association notes that common reasons for an investigation include unprofessional conduct like inadequate record keeping, prescribing medications without legitimate medical reason, failing to keep up with continued medical education requirements, dishonesty, struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, criminal convictions or delegating the practice of medicine to another individual that is not licensed to provide such care.
How does the investigation impact my career?
The investigation alone can lead to action by your employer or fellow partners. Depending on the language of your contract, the investigation or reason behind the investigation could result in termination or a forced leave of absence.
Unfortunately this can put you in a bit of a standstill. Looking to move on to another position may be difficult, as it is very common for positions to have questionnaires that include questions about medical board investigations. Groups may choose to hold off on offering a position until after the state medical board resolves the investigation.
It is also not uncommon for state medical boards to delay renewing a medical license until completion of the investigation. This can prove a hurdle as these investigations can take a year or more to resolve.
It is important to note that this is just the impact of the investigation — the medical board’s decision can have an even larger impact on your career and potentially include suspension or revocation of your medical license.
You do not have to simply go along with the medical board’s investigation. You can fight back. You are allowed to have legal counsel represent your interests throughout the process.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication