Physicians in Texas are held to high standards of professional conduct, and the Texas Medical Board governs their licensing. The State of Texas acknowledges that care and treatment that fall below the standards of professional care can be dangerous to the general public. Accordingly, laws and procedures have been enacted and implemented that provide for disciplinary action against Texas physicians if their conduct falls below acceptable standards.
Any physician will tell you that it can be very upsetting to be accused of committing an act or a failure to act that can subject him or her to disciplinary action by the Texas Medical Board (TMB). As experienced physician license defense attorneys, we’re well aware of the sacrifices that you’ve made to obtain your medical license and sustain your practice. Your reputation in the community that you live and practice in is of the utmost importance, as is your reputation in the medical community too. If that reputation has been placed in jeopardy, you must contact and retain dedicated and experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. With over 30 years of combined experience, and offices in New York City, we’ve represented healthcare providers in disciplinary proceedings across the country.
Should a doctor’s license be affected by an adverse disciplinary ruling, the impacts can be broad. Reports can be made to both state and nationwide databanks, other states might take reciprocal action, staff privileges might be terminated and insurers can refuse to allow participation in their plans. With that chain of events that often follows an adverse licensing decision, it’s critical for physicians to work with knowledgeable and experienced medical license defense lawyers who could evaluate any possible secondary damage and work to avoid or mitigate any such damage.
The complaint letter
All TMB inquiries begin with a letter of complaint from the board to the physician. Care must be taken in responding to the complaint letter. The response becomes part of the TMB record. Some examples of substantive allegations and matters that are often reviewed by the board might include:
- Breaches of the applicable standard of care
- Behavioral issues
- The unrestrained use of drugs or alcohol
- Criminal convictions
- Impairment as a result of a physical or mental condition
- Prescription abuse
After a response to the letter of complaint is received, the TMB makes a determination on whether to investigate further. That is when a formal investigation might be commenced, and the physician will be asked to provide the TMB with all medical records, reports and the like.
Informal settlement conferences
If the TMB determines that a violation occurred, an informal settlement conference is scheduled, and the physician receives copies of all evidence that the TMB intends to use in the conference. He or she is then allowed to submit his or her own evidence in support of his or her position. If a violation is determined to have been made, an agreed order is proposed by the TMB. If it is decided that no violation occurred, a recommendation is made to dismiss the case. In any event, the decision at the informal settlement conference must be ratified by the full TMB.
If a finding was made that a violation was committed, and the parties are unable to reach an agreed settlement, a formal complaint is made, and a full contested evidentiary hearing is scheduled with the State Office of Administrative Hearings. An appellate process with strict time limits is in place for any physician who might be adversely affected by the decision in a contested hearing.
Our legal counsel throughout the complaint process is strongly recommended. Anything that you say or do can go on the record against you. As soon as you receive a letter of complaint, it’s critical that you meet with us as soon as possible. You want to protect your license to practice medicine by all legal means. We can discuss the facts and circumstances surrounding the complaint, and discuss your alternatives with you. Don’t prejudice your case by trying to represent yourself. If you have received a letter of complaint, or you are involved in the TMB process without the benefit of knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel.