MEDICAL BOARD OF TX DEFENSE
Texas Medical Board License Defense Attorneys
The Texas Medical Board (TMB) regulates the practice of medicine through the power granted to it by the Texas Medical Practice Act. This authority authorizes the Medical Board of Tx to issue and subsequently discipline the medical licenses it grants medical doctors (MD’s) and Doctors of Osteopathy (DO’s).
The physician licensing attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm PC have handled hundreds of medical license matters against the Texas Medical Board with cases ranging from minor advertising or documentation violations to complex litigation involving claimed departures from the accepted standard of care. All of our TMB lawyers have extensive Texas Medical Board experience, and some have worked as attorneys for the Board at various stages in their careers. Our representative cases illustrate the success our Texas Medical Board attorneys have had in defending physicians and protecting their medical licenses from this zealous and very active State agency. For more information on what our Texas Medical Board attorneys could do for you, contact us today at 512.495.9995.
What is Physician License Defense?
Physician licensing defense is an area of law involving the representation of medical doctors. Doctors throughout Texas get attacked by the Texas Medical Board in the form of a complaint letter, which begins the process of defending before the TMB. The TMB is in charge of monitoring the licensing process for a medical doctor and also for punishing and implementing sanctions against the doctor when the doctor has violated the law.
In the complaint letter are facts and laws supporting the TMB’s position that a physician has violated Texas law. The alleged violation could be anything from an ethical violation to a charge of negligence. A doctor needs an experienced attorney to fight back against these complaints and put them in a position for the best possible defense.
Disciplinary cases involving a physician’s license and the Texas Medical Board can be categorized into two distinct areas: substantive and procedural. The substantive involves the allegation or matter type, and the procedural examines where the disciplinary process of the case is.
TMB Case Schedule
Procedural milestones or stages in the development of an investigation or TMB disciplinary case can be segmented as follows:
- Receipt of an Initial Complaint Letter – The investigation usually begins with an initial letter to the doctor stating an allegation has been made and asks for a reply by a specified date. If no response is received by the TMB by the deadline, an investigation will likely be launched.
- Formal Investigation Phase – After the doctor has responded to the letter, the case may be dismissed due to lack of evidence. If concerns remain after the doctor’s response, an investigation will be opened. The investigation phase is supposed to be completed within 180 days of the complaint being filed and the investigation being opened.
- Informal Settlement Conference – If there appears to be a violation, the doctor will be notified that an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) will be held. The ISC requires the licensee to meet with TMB representatives. During the ISC, the Board staff attorney will make a statement of the allegations against the licensee. The rest of the conference consists of the licensee giving their defense and answering questions from the ISC Panel. The ISC will then issue one of the following recommendations: defer a decision to get more information, refer the case to a temporary suspension hearing, refer to the State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH) for a contested hearing, or resolve it through a non-disciplinary remedial plan.
- Agreed Order Negotiations – If the ISC Panel finds that the doctor has violated TMB rules or the Medical Practice Act, they will recommend an Agreed Order, which is a disciplinary action. If the licensee agrees to the terms and conditions of the recommended Agreed Order, the case will be resolved. If the Agreed Order is not accepted, settlement negotiations with the Board staff attorney may continue to attempt to come up with terms the licensee will agree to. If an agreement cannot be reached, Board staff can then file a formal complaint at the SOAH and proceed to a formal contested hearing.
- SOAH Contested Case Hearing Process – Initiated when a TMB attorney files a Formal Complaint at the (SOAH), this complaint is a public filing that outlines the allegations and statutory violations that constitute a violation of the Medical Practice Act. SOAH is a state agency consisting of administrative law judges (ALJ), whose responsibility is to preside over contested case hearings for the TMB.
- Mediations of Contested Case Hearings at SOAH – Mediation at the SOAH is an opportunity to quickly and efficiently resolve a disputed case. Mediation can only occur after the doctor has been to an informal settlement conference and the TMB has filed a formal complaint at SOAH.
- Appeals and Motions for Rehearing – Following a trial at the SOAH, the TMB will consider the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) Proposal for Decision (PFD) at a full Board meeting and submit a final Order. After this, a doctor’s only recourse is to seek an appeal in the Travis County District Courts.
- Temporary Suspension Hearings – Temporary Suspension proceedings determine whether or not licensee’s continued practice of medicine constitutes a continuing threat to the public.
- Probation or Agreed Order Violations – Any physician whose licensee is under an Agreed Order with the Texas Medical Board should be familiar with the Board’s Compliance Department, which is the probationer’s point of contact when it comes to ensuring compliance with the Agreed Order. There many ways a doctor can violate a Board Order. If a doctor encounters Agreed Order compliance problems, they should contact a TMB defense lawyer as soon as possible.
- Appealing Disciplinary Actions
What Kind of Offenses Would Get You Denied for Texas Medical Board?
Texas Medical Board physician licensing cases handled by the lawyers of the Leichter Law Firm PC routinely involving the following substantive matters:
- Documentation or medical record-keeping violations
- Breaches in the accepted standard of care
- Non-therapeutic prescribing
- Behavioral transgressions
- Intemperate use of drugs of alcohol
- Discipline by peers / Adverse actions
- Criminal conduct –arrests and convictions
- Discipline by another state licensing board
- Failure to timely complete CME
- Inability to practice due to a physical or mental condition
- Prescribing to a known drug abuser
- Probation Violations
As the TMB is responsible for regulating the practice of medicine in Texas, most complaints concerning a physician’s practice are initially directed to the State Board for investigation. Although some complaints may have their genesis with other agencies such as the DEA or DPS, most complaints are filed by dissatisfied patients, angry spouses, disgruntled co-workers, or subsequent treating physicians. Sometimes the Board files/generates its complaints after it has received a preliminary response from a physician in answer to the initial letter of complaint. As the disciplinary process at the TMB is a complaint-driven process, all cases must begin with a letter of complaint.
How Can a License Defense Attorney Help Me?
When a doctor hires an experienced Texas physician license defense attorney, they can remove themselves from the process. Allowing a skilled attorney who understands the complex rules of the TMB and the necessary evidence and procedures puts you in a better position for a successful outcome. There are precise requirements and nuances in Texas law that general practitioners and even general defense attorneys are not aware of. An experienced physician license defense lawyer’s understanding of these nuances and subtleties can make the difference in a successful and an unsuccessful outcome.
You must seek legal counsel to ensure that your rights are preserved. If your medical license is on the line, that means your livelihood is in jeopardy. The TMB is not there to do protect your rights. If you are being investigated, hiring an attorney is the best thing you can do. A lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected.
While the TMB may appear to be there to represent you, their responsibility is to regulate the practice of medicine and protect the public. Answering questions without the help of an attorney could negatively affect your ability to continue your medical career. An attorney who is familiar with professional license defense can advocate on your best interests. If you are a licensed Texas physician facing a complaint or investigation by the TMB, contact the attorneys the Leichter Law Firm PC today.
Contact a Medical Board of Tx Defense Attorney
If you have received a letter of investigation or initial complaint from the Texas Medical Board or are at any stage of the legal process with the TMB, you should consider retaining experienced legal counsel to protect your medical license immediately. Far too often simple mistakes or missteps caused by overly broad responses result in a continued investigation or the imposition of discipline, including probation or suspension that could have been avoided. These mistakes can be avoided with the assistance of experienced legal representation. Contact the Texas Medical Board attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm PC for a free initial consultation today 512.495.9995.