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Medical Board of California: Investigation, Accusation and Disciplinary Actions Guide

 

Medical Board of California: Investigation, Accusation and Disciplinary Actions Guide

The Medical Board of California (MBC) is responsible for licensing and regulating physicians in California. The MBC investigates complaints and allegations of misconduct against physicians and can impose disciplinary actions if violations of the Medical Practice Act or other laws are found. This guide explains the key steps and processes involved when a complaint against a physician triggers an MBC investigation and potential disciplinary action.

Overview of the Disciplinary Process

There are several stages in the MBC’s disciplinary process:

  1. A complaint or issue is reported to the MBC
  2. The MBC investigates the complaint
  3. If warranted, the MBC files a formal accusation against the physician
  4. The physician responds and an administrative hearing is held
  5. The physician can appeal the decision through a writ of mandate
  6. The physician may later petition for relief or license reinstatement

The entire process from initial complaint to final resolution can take many months or even years. Having an experienced attorney can help physicians navigate this complex system and achieve the best possible outcome.

How Investigations Begin

The MBC receives complaints from various sources, including[1]:

  • Patients
  • Other healthcare professionals
  • Facilities like hospitals and clinics
  • Law enforcement
  • Mandatory reports:
    • 805 reports – peer review actions
    • Coroners reports of deaths due to physician negligence
    • Court notifications of malpractice awards or settlements
    • Actions against a license by another state medical board

The MBC reviews all complaints to determine if an investigation is warranted. Priority is given to complaints involving[5]:

  • Patient death or serious bodily injury
  • Impairment of the physician
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Urgent public safety concerns

If the MBC decides to investigate, the case is assigned to an investigator, usually located in a regional field office near where the incident occurred.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

The Investigation Process

Investigations are conducted by sworn peace officers with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Typical investigative steps include[5]:

  • Obtaining medical records and other evidence
  • Interviewing the complainant, witnesses, and physician
  • Inspecting the location of the alleged violation
  • Using subpoenas to compel documentation or testimony
  • Getting expert reviews of the medical issues involved

The physician will be notified of the investigation and given a chance to respond to allegations. The complainant’s identity may be kept confidential.

Investigations related to patient death or serious harm are prioritized. For less urgent cases, it may take 6 months or longer before the complainant or physician is contacted.

If the investigation does not find sufficient evidence of a violation, the case is closed. If a violation occurred but was minor, education or warnings may be issued instead of formal discipline.

Medical Board Accusations

An accusation is a legal document listing the specific charges and laws that were allegedly violated. Common allegations in accusations include[6]:

  • Gross negligence
  • Repeated negligent acts
  • Incompetence
  • Dishonesty
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Excessive prescribing
  • Failure to maintain adequate records
  • Conviction of a crime

The accusation is served to the physician, who then has 15 days to file a Notice of Defense disputing the charges. If no defense is filed, the physician forfeits the right to a hearing and the MBC can take disciplinary action.

MBC Disciplinary Actions

If violations are proven, the MBC has discretion to impose disciplinary actions appropriate for the offense[3]. Typical penalties include:

  • License revocation
  • License suspension
  • Probation with conditions like supervision, education, or drug testing
  • Public reprimand
  • Fine/cost recovery

More serious violations generally result in more severe discipline. However, factors like taking responsibility and demonstrating rehabilitation may mitigate penalties.

Seeking Reinstatement

A physician whose license is revoked or surrendered due to discipline may later petition for reinstatement or modification of penalties. However, reinstatement is not guaranteed and strict eligibility criteria apply.

The physician must show they have been rehabilitated, complied with all MBC orders, and are fit to safely practice medicine again. Extensive evidence and multiple hearings are usually needed. Again, skilled legal counsel is highly advisable when seeking reinstatement.

 

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CLAIRE BANKS

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RAJESH BARUA

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