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Formal notification from the New Jersey Medical Board that a physician is under investigation for misconduct is a shocking discovery. Most physicians don’t assume they’ll receive a letter of this complexity, but it happens. A physician’s license is at risk when this occurs, and this is when a physician’s license defense attorney becomes a necessity. Years of medical school, rotations, residency, and the expense of medical school are put in jeopardy the second a formal complaint is opened against a physician.
The New Jersey Medical Board receives thousands of physician complaints on an annual basis. Each one is entered into their system for review. Most of the complaints received are either baseless or not in violation of any state laws or violations of any ethical nature. If a complaint is deemed in violation of a medical or state law, they are flagged, sent to an internal investigator, and a formal letter outlining the complaint is then sent to the physician in question.
When the formal notification is provided to a physician, the doctor is required to respond. They have numerous expectations outlined in the letter sent to them, and a license defense attorney can help significantly over the course of this process. Physicians are required to respond to the complaint, provide specific medical records, and comply with the ongoing investigation. Knowing their legal rights and obligations is necessary during this time, and focusing on their patients can be difficult when dealing with the allegations surrounding a complaint. This is where an attorney is beneficial.
Who Can File a Complaint?
Anyone can file a complaint against a physician. Many believe it’s just patients who can file a complaint against their physician after they’re either treated poorly or unhappy with their service, but anyone can file a complaint.
– Hospital staff
– Law enforcement
– Family of patients
– Insurance companies
– Medical billing companies
Anyone who has reason to believe their complaint is accurate and true can file a complaint against a physician. Physicians are required by law to uphold themselves in a manner of lawfulness and ethical behavior, and there are many factors that might make someone believe they are in violation of state laws. The most common complaints filed against physicians include:
1. Sexual Misconduct – If a patient or family member of a patient feels the physician has violated them in any way during an exam, they can file a complaint accusing the physician of sexual misconduct in the office.
2. Alcohol Abuse – A physician who shows up to work drunk and work with patients while drinking can be accused of alcohol abuse.
3. Drug Abuse – A doctor working while under the influence of drugs if violating the law.
4. Criminal Convictions – Any physician arrested for criminal behavior is at risk for losing their license.
5. Medical Misconduct – If a doctor recommends unnecessary testing or performs unnecessary procedures on a patient for the sole purpose of making more money from the patient’s insurance company, it’s in violation of state law.
6. Billing and Healthcare Fraud – Submitting improper information to patients and/or healthcare providers to inflate the cost of procedures for profit is against state law.
7. Discrimination – Any employee, patient, or person who works with or in the office can accuse a doctor of discrimination if they feel the physician didn’t treat them fairly based on discrimination.
If complaints are considered true and based on accurate events, a physician risks losing his or her license. It’s impossible to tell precisely who will lose his or her license save for several specific cases. A physician who commits a felony such as sexual misconduct, murder, or more will lose his or her license. A physician arrested for a DUI or accused of abusing substances might find their licenses suspended, but they can seek medical help for their issue and eventually reinstate their license.
There are always loopholes, specifications, and other interests to consider. This is why it’s imperative to hire an attorney who has ample experience defending licensure and reinstating licensure after it’s been suspended or unfairly revoked during an investigation.