Get Help Now Call (925) 283-1863
WHAT IS A MEDICAL BOARD ACCUSATION ?
A Medical Board Accusation is a serious charge against your license. It is a public accusation that is completely one sided. It will paint you as an incompetent or dishonest physician and nothing is posted in your defense. This accusation will remain public but your defense will be private. It is a Scarlet Letter and it only vanishes under very limited situations.
The filing of an Accusation is conclusion of an investigation where the Medical Board finds sufficient grounds to allege a violation of law or regulation. Click HERE for the Medical Board website which provides full details on the process. You should have legal representation at the very beginning of the process. Most malpractice carriers will provide some financial assistance to defend against an investigation or accusation. (See Here)
Stop the investigation before it reaches the Accusation stage by contacting experienced Medical Board Attorneys at the first sign of an investigation. Remember, most physician malpractice policies provide coverage at the earliest stages of a medical board investigation. It is unwise to interact personally with the board, even at the earliest stages of investigation. (Read More Here)
Even an investigation will damage your reputation among medical staff and in the medical community. The inquiries spread like wildfire. Gossip brings out the sharks like chum in the water. Our physician advocates defend your reputation and your license. We act quickly to stop the spread of the poison.
TWO TYPES OF MEDICAL BOARD INVESTIGATIONS – Is Your Medical Lawyer Prepared ?
Few lawyers will tell the shocking truth. There are two types of medical board investigations. The first is malpractice or at least practice based. Over prescribing of opiates, bad record keeping, advertising violations, HIPAA issues, bad quality of care. The second type have a criminal tinge to the them. Sexual misconduct is the obvious one but there are others. Overbilling, use of too many tests, billing issues, kickbacks, referral of patients to attorneys or other physicians …. These are issues that have the threat of criminal prosecution along with the medical license implications. Most medical defense lawyers do not have a deep understanding of criminal law. Many are former prosecutors from decades ago or have dabbled in criminal defense for friends or family. They lack the dual expertise that is absolutely necessary to cover all possible bases. They avoid this uncomfortable truth by not directly addressing the risks that you could potentially face. They also do not understand what is going on against you in the background. We understand the civil and administrative side of medical investigations. We also understand how state and federal law enforcement work with insurance company SIU units to fashion criminal charges which piggyback on the administrative license case.
Our office is expert in both areas. If there is any question of a criminal aspect to your case, it is potentially malpractice not to have criminal law review as part of your representation.
At the Horowitz Physician law office, we have experts in both areas !
WHAT IS A SPECIALIST ?
Our office is staffed with experienced defense lawyers. Former Contra Costa County Prosecutor Tom Kensok charged medical fraud cases when he was a supervisor in the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office. Daniel Horowitz and Dan Russo are certified by the State Bar of California (Board of Legal Specialization) as Criminal Defense Specialists. Only about 300 lawyers in all of California can lawfully call themselves “criminal defense specialists”. The term “criminal defense expert” is impressive but it is not the same as a certified defense specialist. To be a specialist the attorney must undergo extensive peer review, judicial review, difficult written testing and have extensive trial experience as well. The specialist also has enhanced continuing education requirements. It is much like medicine, anyone can treat anything but you want someone who is truly accomplished in the specialized area relevant to your condition.
BUT I’M A DOCTOR – NOT A CRIMINAL !
True – but the vast majority of Medical Board Accusations involve claims of criminal conduct. You may be accused of billing fraud, having a DUI on your record, insurance fraud – but rarely are charges filed for non-criminal matters. Even if you have not been charged with a medical related crime, the administrative process before the board may lead to charges being filed. Other recent cases involve the overuse of testing, DME prescribing, telemedicine fraud and overbilling. Sexual misconduct complaints are also on the rise and they often include conduct which the doctor may not have even considered as being offensive. Doctors and practice procedures must change with the political climate or face sanction.
Non-criminal matters have recently focused on opioid policies and prescriptions, HIPAA issues without overseas billing, advertising and other practice model issues.
If you are told that an attorney “has contacts” or “an inside track” you are being lied to. The Medical Board and the Attorney General are evidence and fact driven. If you want to negotiate with them, you must assemble a strong factual argument in your favor. The “good old boy” days are over and if you buy into that approach you will be confirming your guilt. Our lawyers are evidence based and fact based in their approach.
We can sometimes stop the “accusation train” before it leaves the station. We can often reach compromises that protect your reputation and practice. If the board insists on a battle, we know the rules, the law and most importantly, we know how to prepare a case, plan a strategy and execute effectively. For example, if there is an opiate prescription investigation we can assist you in a compliance audit applying the standards contained in the CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain — United States, 2022. Our auditors are experienced professionals and their reports and findings can be invaluable in protecting your medical license.
A (California) Medical Board Accusation triggers a time clock. To contest a Medical Board Accusation you must file a form that requests a hearing. That form should be included with the Accusation package and it is available on the Medical Board website. Your request for a hearing must be received within fifteen (15) days after the accusation is served. (See Government Code Section 11506) To be safe, have a service deliver the form titled “Notice of Defense” to the board and to the office of the Attorney General.
What Address Should I Use to Serve a “Notice of Defense” ?
The Attorney General’s address is on Accusation itself. Use the name of the listed attorney and his/her address. The notice to the Medical Board should be directed to the Discipline Coordination Unit, 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200, Sacramento, CA 95815-3831.
Do I Need An Attorney ?
You should have had notice of the investigation long before an Accusation was filed. It is imperative that you contact an attorney for all but the most absurd complaints against you. So “yes”, you needed an attorney and you need one now.
YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY CAN HELP
Call our California medical license lawyers at (925) 283-1863. You will reach a real person in the office if you call during business hours.