Temporary Suspension Hearings
The purpose of Temporary Suspension proceedings is to determine whether a licensee’s continued practice of medicine constitutes a continuing threat to the public welfare, and thus should be suspended.
It is possible for the Board to seek a Temporary Suspension of a licensee’s license without notice or hearing, in which case the Board suspends the licensee with no prior notice. If the Board utilizes this mechanism, they must immediately provide notice to the licensee, and must hold a hearing with notice for the earliest possible date after 10 days notice of hearing to determine if the temporary suspension is to stand. (see Occ. Code 164.059(c)) The Board will typically use the “without notice” proceeding in situations where the licensee’s behavior is so egregious or dangerous that this extreme form of discipline can be justified, like impairment at work or a similar situations.
More commonly, if a licensee is deemed to be a continued threat to the public welfare, the Board will seek Temporary Suspension of the licensee with notice. However, even in this situation, the licensee is only given 10 days notice of the hearing. The licensee will find themselves in a situation where they must hire an attorney and put together their defense in a very small amount of time.
The Temporary Suspension hearing is a contested case hearing, meaning it involves the presenting of evidence, the calling and examining of witnesses, and all of the trappings of a full evidentiary hearing. It is inadvisable for a licensee to take on this process without obtaining the services of an experienced administrative law attorney. First, the process of preparing for hearing with 10 days notice requires a tremendous amount of preparation, including the preparation of witnesses and exhibits, and the close review of the Board’s often voluminous evidence. Second, experience in defending these cases is vital. The entire temporary suspension process happens under the purview of the Medical Board, meaning it is prosecuted by Board staff and is presided over by Board members. A licensee needs every advantage they can gain in such a situation, and an experienced state board licensing attorney can provide the expertise that makes the difference. Third, there is a great deal at stake- the consequences of getting your licensed temporarily suspended are very dire, and the process of getting your unrestricted license back from the Board can take a great deal of time and money.
If the three-member disciplinary panel that presides over the Temporary Suspension hearing determines that the licensee’s continued practice of medicine constitutes a continuing threat to the public welfare, they will issue an Order immediately suspending or restricting the license. The suspension or restriction will remain in effect until an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) is held, at which time it may be possible to resolve the matter through an Agreed Order. If it is not possible to resolve the matter at an ISC, the suspension will stand, while the case is referred to State Office of Administrative Hearings.
If your license has been temporarily suspended or you have been notified of a Temporary Suspension hearing, contact the Texas medical board temporary suspension attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm at 512-495-9995 as soon as possible to begin formulating your defense.