Receipt of Initial Complaint Letter
Once the Texas Medical Board (TMB) receives a complaint, the TMB staff has 45 days to conduct a preliminary review of the complaint. Sometimes, as a part of this preliminary review, the licensee who is the subject of the complaint is contacted by Board staff and given a chance to respond to the allegations against them. This communication will come in the form of the initial complaint letter, which is often a vague statement of the allegations against the licensee, and a vague set of questions about the allegations. Based on the information provided by the licensee in response to this letter, Board staff will decide whether there is probable cause for them to continue their investigation, and whether the Board has jurisdiction to investigate the particular complaint. It should be noted that whatever response or response material provided by the licensee will become part of the investigative file, and so much caution should be exercised as to what is provided to Board staff. Ultimately, if Board staff determines that there is not probable cause to investigate, or that they do not have jurisdiction to pursue the case, the investigation will be closed. The probable cause determination can be made by investigations or with the help of the Quality and Assurance division of the TMB which is comprised of an attorney and healthcare experienced personnel including a physician.
The response to the Initial Complaint letter is a prime opportunity to involve an experienced administrative law attorney, who is familiar with the Texas Medical Board’s administrative process, as it is the first step in the Board’s complaint process that a case can be dismissed. For this reason, we often find it appropriate to submit a thorough and professional response to the Board’s concerns. An experienced / savvy state board attorney will also be able to intuit the issues and prevent the submission of unnecessary materials which may hurt the licensee. Sometimes less is enough and without an understanding of what is being asked unnecessary and damaging information may be submitted which would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Additionally, even in the event that a complaint is not dismissed at this stage, a thorough and professional response at this point can frame or narrow the issues that are ultimately the subject of the investigation. And this can spare the licensee from being the subject of a fishing expedition at the hands of the Board’s investigators.
If probable cause to investigate is determined to exist, the complaint will move to the formal investigation phase. (see Board Rule sec. 178.5)
If you or someone you know has received an Initial Complaint letter, the assistance of a qualified legal professional can be crucial to keeping your license. Contact the Texas medical license lawyers of the Leichter Law Firm today at 512-495-9995 to discuss your case with an experienced member of our legal team.
If your license has been temporarily suspended or you have been notified of a Temporary Suspension hearing, contact the Texas medical board attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm at 512-495-9995 as soon as possible to begin formulating your defense.