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It takes more than a decade and over $100,000 in costs to become a doctor. When a medical license is finally issued to a practicing doctor, more than a decade of hard work and dedication pays off. It’s not a job anyone takes lightly, nor is it one from which any doctor wishes to have their license revoked or their practice shut down. Unfortunately, each time a doctor meets with a new client, they subject themselves to malpractice and complaints. Health is something everyone takes seriously, and it doesn’t take much for a patient to file a complaint against a doctor when they feel mistreated. When a complaint is filed with the state medical board, a doctor’s license could be suspended or revoked depending on the outcome of the ensuing investigation.
One complaint is all it takes to destroy a doctor’s reputation, even if the complaint is found false, incorrect, and completely baseless. When a doctor receives notification his or her license is being investigated, it’s time to hire an attorney who specializes in medical license defense. Even if a complaint is baseless and easily proven so, it helps a doctor to handle the situation right away rather than waiting until the state is able to prove it false. Not responding to a complaint can make it seem as if a doctor is unwilling to cooperate in an investigation, which only further tarnishes his or her reputation.
The most common complaints filed against doctors and their practices include:
– Drug abuse
– Alcohol abuse
– Sexual misconduct
– Unethical misconduct
– Inadequate healthcare
– Unprofessional conduct
– Billing fraud
These complaints are the most common, but anyone can file a legal complaint with the state medical board about virtually anything they feel is offensive, harmful, or negligent. A formal complaint could be as simple as a doctor performing a breast exam on a female patient with the nurse is standing behind the patient looking in another direction. Unfortunately, there are always patients looking to make a quick dollar off anyone they can, and moments like these are not that uncommon.
When a formal complaint is filed, the doctor is notified. Depending on the nature and severity of the complaint, the state medical board might make the decision to suspend the doctor’s license while the investigation is ongoing. This typically occurs when the accusation is a serious on, such as a doctor using drugs or alcohol while seeing patients, or one who has been accused of sexual misconduct.
The complaint process can take as little as a few days or as many as a few months depending on a number of factors. Most formal complaints filed by disgruntled patients against their doctor are baseless from the start. Most of the people who file minor complaints with the state never even hear back about their complaint if it’s the only one. It’s usually not until the state receives numerous complaints regarding the same thing about the same doctor they begin to look into the issue.
Whether complaints filed against a doctor are baseless or not, an investigation into the practice can be devastating. Even if the complaint has to do with medical billing fraud or insurance fraud on behalf of the office staff and not the doctor him or herself, it’s a problem for the entire office. This might be considered an extenuating circumstance, but it puts the doctor in a precarious position of finding evidence supporting his or her innocence while also looking for the same to prove guilt on behalf of an employee.
A formal complaint filed against a doctor could result in the loss of their license, but the case has to be proven before that can happen. The state must fine evidence and compile that, prove that the doctor intended to harm the patient or took part in activities willfully and knowingly at the risk of their patients, and that the mistake is not one of accidental means. The best way for any doctor to ensure they receive a fair investigation is with the help of an attorney who has the knowledge and experience necessary to handle a case and protect your license.