A Statement of Issues lists the reasons a California Medical License application is denied. Here is how the process works.
California Medical Board License Requirements
Graduates from U.S. schools with more than 12 months of ACGME Training are required to hold a California Physician and Surgeon License. IMGs with more than 24 months are required to get the full license. IMG’s are an important area for license lawyers. Cultural and legal differences (country to country) can lead to license snafu’s that are largely avoidable. (According to the AMA, IMG’s are now 25% of the nation’s doctors with India and Caribbean schools providing approximately half of those physicians. )
License renewals require updating the board as to any relevant developments.
We understand that physicians are mortal beings. :] Issues in life that are invisible to 99% of the professions constitute reportable conduct for a doctor. When applying for or renewing a license these uncomfortable disclosures must be made fully and properly. Reportable events include any discipline relating to your practice and criminal matters as well.
What is the Medical Board’s Definition of Discipline ?
Discipline is any action taken against your license by a government agency or disciplinary body. A disciplinary action will be very broadly defined. You should disclose action (even ones that you might not consider discipline) if it involves suspension, revocation, voluntary surrender, probation, or any other restriction on your right to practice. It is the restriction on right to practice that is often not disclosed and which can lead to problems.
What is a Criminal Conviction ?
To start, this category of criminal conviction is not limited to the United States. It covers the entire world. If you have been convicted of any crime in a foreign country, that counts. In general the term “conviction” includes a plea of no contest and surprisingly it includes conviction that have been set aside or deferred pursuant to sections 1000 or 1203.4 of the Penal Code. It includes minor offenses such as (most) infractions, misdemeanor, and felonies.
There are grey areas for deferred prosecutions, pleas that are made but not accepted by the court and later dismissed.
The exception to the infraction reporting requirement are those which have no relation to drugs or alcohol and have a fine of less than $ 300.00. \
The Horowitz office specializes in the defense of physicians charged with crimes. Daniel Horowitz and Daniel Russo are certified criminal defense specialists with the certification issued by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.
Medical Board License Denial
If you apply for a California medical license the process is often simple and straightforward. The Medical Board of California maintains a detailed webpage describing the application process and providing the necessary forms. But denials come far too easily. Often the denial is self inflicted as key matters are either omitted or improperly minimized.
If there are grey areas on your application relating to qualification, discipline, investigations or other potentially negative self reporting matters, you need to consult with a medical license attorney. You can present these negative matters fully and properly but the balance between full disclosure and explanation is best orchested by an experienced license lawyer.
Issues that can be dealt with rather easily can balloon into major issues if you are seen as less than honest. As an example, if you had a DUI arrest in another state is it reportable if charges were reduced to a lesser crime? What if you pled “no contest”? What if your file has been sealed ? What if you had a reportable suspension that was later negotiated to a non-reportable level ? What if a quality of care complaint was resolved as a training issue without any qualityof care findings ? The variations are far too numerous to list here and an “off the internet” answer is often correct ….. except when it is not correct.
What is a “Statement of Issues”
If you receive a “Statement of Issues” the Board has denied your application.
A “Statement of Issues” is prepared by a Deputy Attorney General and sent to you by the California Medical Board. A medical license lawyer can also assist you in understanding the underlying concerns of the Board as reflected in that document. Each case is different. At times we can negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution that allows the doctor to practice with short term limitations or conditions. Other times an administrative hearing is necessary.
The anatomy of the Statement of Issues are the bones which are the policy reasons for non-issue and the flesh, which are the facts supporting the findings. The policy reasons are easier to negotiate because the license attorney will interface with the DAG (Deputy Attorney General) based upon resolution rather than by disputing facts. The factual issues are the core of a hearing defense but difficult to negotiate at the initial stages of a license denial. Those issues were better resolved prior to the denial (if a resolution was at all possible). Once the facts have been determined by (or at least in the mind of) the Board, a negotiated resolution based on a new view of the facts, is difficult.
Right to an Administrative Hearing
The Statement of Issues is the Medical Board’s justification and facts that support its denial of your license application. It is not a finding based upon the taking of evidence. It stands as fact only if you choose not to challenge it. The issuance of the Statement, triggers a response period and a demand for an administrative hearing.
The most experienced medical license lawyers understand that this document is both the strength (basis) and weakness (limits) of the board. It is an accusation without proof but as written it is almost always sufficient to justify a license denial. The defense focuses on two levels of attack. First, presume that all
The best license defense lawyers know that any negotiations at this initial stage will start with the presumption that all of the allegations are true. Resolutions based upon proof issues e.g. showing that the Medical Board has a defective set of facts, are difficult. It takes time to refute factual allegations and your license attorney needs as much lead time as possible to respond to a Statement of Issues. Otherwise the process can move quickly and proof ends up being submitted before an administrative law judge.
For these reasons you should contact a medical license attorney at the earliest opportunity. Preloading your defense and placing it preemptively in your medical license application may be painful but it is often the best strategy.
If you are facing an actual hearing, Daniel Horowitz , Daniel Russo and former prosecutor Tom Kensok have taken over 500 cases to jury trial and have been lead counsel in thousands of evidentiary hearings.
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.
The Podiatric Medical Board of California has an excellent summary of the Accusation and Statement of Issue process. Click here for the site.
The Medical Board of California has a Disciplinary Alerts page which allows you to read the actual accusations filed against California Licensed doctors.