Regulation of Medicine
Responding to a Medical Board Inquiry
November 3, 2017
State medical boards were created to license and regulate the practice of medicine for a particular state. They are also responsible for responding to formal complaints against physicians, and other medical professionals regulated by those boards. Not all complaints that medical boards receive warrant formal investigations, but some do. In the event you receive a letter from your state medical board, it is important that you respond appropriately and in a timely manner.
Consider these two scenarios:
Two physicians, Doctor A and Doctor B both receive letters from their state medical boards. Doctor A immediately pauses his day and notifies his malpractice insurance carrier. Doctor B sets the letter down, and returns to his patients, forgetting about the letter until a week later when he crafts a hurried and minimal response. Doctor A however, has developed a well-thought-out response with the help of his attorney. For Doctor A, this is the end of the journey. His responses satisfy the medical board, and no further actions are needed. Unfortunately, Doctor B receives a summons to appear for an interview. He continues through the process without the help of legal counsel and winds up with a suspended medical license. Both scenarios are very real possibilities for practicing physicians.
If you receive a letter from your state medical board (Board), MagMutual recommends you do the following:
- Treat any correspondence regarding a complaint or an inquiry from the Board as a serious matter. Remember, you have devoted a great deal of time and effort to obtain your medical license. Any Board complaint or investigation is a potential threat to your ability to practice medicine in your state.
- Notify MagMutual immediately. We can help guide you.
- Consult with counsel. Your attorney will help identify any irregularities that may exist in your documentation, and help you draft an appropriate response to the Board.
- Write a thorough and detailed initial response. Your initial response could very well determine how the Board decides to proceed. Ensure your response falls within the time frame established by your attorney and the Board.
- DO NOT alter, add to, or destroy any medical records, particularly those that may have been requested by the Board. These actions are grounds for discipline.
- Prepare for the interview. If an interview is requested, it is crucial that you prepare well ahead of time. Your attorney will assist and, if necessary, appear alongside you.
Although Board processes may vary from state to state, timely and careful preparation, along with the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney, will allow you to achieve the best resolution to any board inquiry.
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The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.