Doctors work tirelessly to obtain their professional credentials. In addition to extensive training, they must complete residency requirements and pass the board exams to earn a practice license. As a physician, you go to work with the desire to provide adequate medical treatment. However, a violation of the expected code of conduct by the medical board could result in the loss of your ability to practice medicine.

The loss of your medical practice license is particularly devastating since you lose your reputation and career. Therefore, if you face revocation, you should diligently fight to maintain your license and keep your livelihood. With competent legal guidance, you can avoid the humiliation, frustration, and pain accompanying a license revocation by the medical board of California. Here are the common reasons that can lead to a revocation of your medical license.

Medical Insurance Fraud

If you face accusations of medical insurance fraud, you could face criminal litigation and professional license suspension or revocation. Simple accusations of medical insurance fraud could have a permanent effect on your life, relationships, or your ability to practice. Health or medical insurance fraud involves providing false information to a health insurance agency while attempting to recover undeserving benefits.

If you committed insurance fraud to aid a patient, you and the patient could be charged with insurance fraud. As a medical practitioner, you have a legal and ethical obligation to file accurate information to the medical insurance relating to providing medical services and billings. Often, allegations for health insurance fraud result from a lengthy investigation that uncovers activities such as the provision of unnecessary services, overbilling, or billing of services you did not provide.

Sometimes, medical professionals could be charged with this crime by falsifying medical diagnoses. You should not take allegations of medical insurance fraud lightly. These charges could result in a criminal conviction and, far worse, a revocation of your medical license. There are several ways through which a doctor could find themselves facing charges for insurance fraud. Some of the forms of health insurance fraud include:

  • Fraudulent billing. This occurs when a doctor bills the insurance company for procedures, services, or medications that they did not provide. Fraudulent billing can result in the loss of millions of dollars from the insurance company.

  • Payment for illegal kickback. A doctor who illegally pays people to refer accident victims to their facility could be liable for medical insurance fraud.

  • Perfuming unnecessary procedures. This involves a medical professional performing unnecessary medical services and performing procedures that patients do not need. If these procedures are billed to the insurance company, the doctor could be found guilty of medical insurance fraud.

The medical licensing board expects their doctors to be honest and of moral character. A conviction for an offense involving dishonesty and breach of trust bestowed to these professionals can result in the loss of the practice license. If you hold a professional medical license, you know how important it is to work and earn a living within your desired profession. Any claims against you for insurance fraud could be detrimental to your career, even when false.

As soon as you learn that you are under investigation for medical insurance fraud, it would be wise to seek legal guidance. Your attorney will help investigate the allegations, represent you, and negotiate a lenient course of action.

Criminal Convictions

In California, doctors risk losing their medical license after a conviction for a criminal offense. Facing criminal charges on its own cannot trigger a revocation of your license. However, the medical board will investigate the nature of your charges and whether or not they resulted in a conviction. A conviction, in this case, could be a felony or misdemeanor conviction secured through:

  • A guilty plea or a guilty verdict from the jury

  • A no-contest plea

  • A conviction that could be expunged under California PC 1203.4

The medical board could take disciplinary action against you even when you are sentenced to a diversion program during your criminal conviction. The board can act on your conviction if the time for appealing your conviction has elapsed or the court's decision did not change even after an appeal.

Not all convictions under California law will result in a revocation of your medical license. Often, convictions that could prompt the board to take disciplinary actions against you are related to your duties as a physician. Some of the factors of your conviction that could affect the board's decision include:

  • The circumstances of the arrest

  • Your criminal history

  • Your compliance with the court

  • Evidence of rehabilitation

Criminal convictions that can trigger some investigations and action from the medical board include convictions for:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Crimes that require sex offender registration

  • Acts of medical malpractice

  • Sexual exploitation or battery of a patient

  • Medical fraud

  • Petty theft

  • Lewd conduct with a child

  • Murder in the first and second degree

  • Drug-related crimes

Before your professional license is revoked, you will be entitled to an administrative hearing. At the hearing, the medical board will present evidence to indicate the necessary disciplinary action and why the specific action is appropriate under the circumstances. Your criminal defense attorney can also present testimony and evidence for your defense.

You can appeal the court's decision following a hearing where the medical revokes your medical license for a criminal conviction. If you want to file an appeal, you must do so within 30 days of the board's final decision. As a physician, you must report any criminal action against you to the board. This will include felony charges against you or a guilty verdict and a conviction. Failure to report criminal convictions could result in severe disciplinary actions.

Substance Abuse

Many people assume that what they do in their homes should be their business. Unfortunately, we cannot live in a vacuum, and whatever we do in private could affect our performance in public. Not only can the use of illegal drugs result in criminal charges, but it can also put your professional license in jeopardy. If you find yourself under investigation by the medical board for drug use, your license could be hanging on a balance. Perhaps you have had an unexpected reaction or have a legitimate addiction to illegal drugs like cocaine. The licensing boards take these acts seriously. Without legal help to navigate the situation, you may be a victim of medical license revocation.

If you believe that the medical licensing board should not care what you do in the privacy of your home, you may be partially correct. The licensing board will not monitor what you do while off duty. However, if your drug and substance abuse affects your work or reflects in your conduct while at work, the board will be interested in the situation. Some of the issues on drug abuse that could put your license at risk of revocation include:

  1. Substance abuse. The medical licensing board counts drug abuse as a violation. Constant use of alcohol or other drugs to a point where it impacts your job could trigger substance abuse allegations.

  2. Improper handling of medications. If you are a physician who uses prescription drugs for your use can result in a revocation of your professional license.

  3. Impairment while on duty. If you display signs of intoxication or being under drug influence while at work, the medical board could take disciplinary action against you.

  4. Arrest and conviction for drug-related offenses. You can jeopardize your professional license if you face an arrest or a conviction for possession, sale, or use of illegal drugs. It is essential to understand that your license could be revoked even if your drug-related conviction occurred in another state.

Since drugs are easily accessible for medical professionals, it is easy for them to be caught up in drug use. Due to the nature of work done by medical professionals, substance abuse could be detrimental to their performance.

Although using drugs at your home is not likely to trigger an investigation from the medical board, other situations could alert the medical board of your drug use. For example, if you show signs of intoxication at work, a colleague could file a complaint against you. If you face accusations of substance abuse to the medical board, they will:

  • Investigate the allegations. The licensing board is responsible for investigating each complaint that comes to them. During the investigation, you could be asked to provide a statement explaining your account of events.

  • Presentation of the consent order. If the board finds enough evidence to support the allegations, they could offer you a negotiation platform to avoid formalizing the situation. A constant order is an agreement between you, the board, and the state where you must admit to drug use and accept the disciplinary action imposed by the board.

  • Formal hearing. If you cannot agree on the consent order, the medical board could take your case to a formal hearing. In this case, the judge will decide on the appropriate disciplinary action. One of the most detrimental outcomes of drug use allegations as a medical practitioner is the revocation of your license.

Prescription Violation

The crime of prescription violation or fraud occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional issues a prescription drug for an illegitimate medical purpose outside of the usual course of their practice. Before you are proven to have committed the act of prescription fraud, it must be clear that you willfully prescribed the drugs.

A prescription violation is a criminal offense under California law and a serious violation of the medical license terms. In addition to the serious legal consequences that attract prescription violations, you risk losing your license to a suspension or revocation by the medical board.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a health professional fails to provide appropriate treatment or omit appropriate action resulting in the injury or death of a patient. Most instances of medical malpractice involve an error in the diagnosis, treatment procedures, medications, or aftercare. Health care professionals are responsible for providing a certain standard of care for their patients. Although you cannot be held liable for all the patients' unpleasant experiences, deviation from the standard of care could result in serious consequences.

Some of the types of doctor error or malpractice that could impact your professional license include:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis

  • Unnecessary surgical procedures

  • Failure to order necessary tests or failure to act on the results of the tests

  • Failure to follow up on a patient's progress after a medical procedure

  • Premature discharge

  • Prescription of the wrong medication or wrong dosage

  • Leaving dangerous items in a patient's body after a surgical procedure

  • Fatal infections acquired during a patient's stay at the medical facility

According to the medical malpractice law, the following factors must be involved before a doctor is found guilty of medical malpractice:

  • Failure to offer the proper standard of care. This law mandates healthcare professionals to adhere to specific standards. Failure to do this could result in allegations of negligence.

  • An injury resulted from negligence. A patient could not file a negligence claim against you if your actions did not cause them injuries. There must be evidence that your negligence resulted in harm or injury to the victim.

  • There were damaging consequences. When a patient files a claim against you for medical malpractice or negligence, they must prove that your negligence resulted in considerable damage. This could include constant pain, enduring hardship, suffering, or disability.

Just because a patient files medical malpractice against you does not mean that you will automatically lose your license. After the medical malpractice lawsuit is filed against you by someone who claims to have been harmed by your negligence, the medical board will investigate the situation. Although the court may require you to pay the victim for the damages, the medical board will determine the issue of license revocation.

Sexual Misconduct

During a doctor's visit, patients often need to take off their clothes and reveal themselves to the healthcare professional. Although this could be challenging at first, it becomes more comfortable as you routinely visit the doctor. Sometimes, a doctor could take advantage of the patient's trust to engage them in sexual misconduct. 

The relationship between a doctor and a patient is trust and responsibility and should not be tainted with sexual misconduct. The relationship between a doctor and a patient could significantly affect a patient's recovery and wellbeing.

The issue of sexual misconduct with a patient often begins when a patient lets you know that they did not appreciate your conduct. These patients have already reported the issue in most cases, and the matter is at the district attorney's office. Admission of fault at this stage could have admitted guilt for the offense. 

If you are a doctor facing allegations of sexual misconduct with a patient, you should not take the issue lightly. Being accused of sexual misconduct will not only result in a criminal conviction but can also affect your ability to retain your professional medical license. If a patient reports you for sexual misconduct, you could be charged with the offense in criminal court. Even when you do not face a conviction in criminal court, the patient can file a civil lawsuit requiring you to compensate them for the injuries or losses resulting from the experience.

When the medical board learns of the allegations and lawsuits against you, they will investigate the matter to determine its accuracy. If you plead guilty or are found guilty by the court's verdict, it can be challenging to defend against medical license revocation.

The only way to protect yourself from the consequences of sexual misconduct allegations is by retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney throughout your case. Your attorney can help you avoid a conviction for the crime. This will help convince the medical board that you are not involved in the alleged acts.

Patient Abuse

The medical board expects a licensed medical practitioner to provide proper medical care to all patients. Unfortunately, some doctors are not careful, especially when dealing with vulnerable groups like adults and children. If a doctor is not mindful of their patient's physical limitations, allegations of patient abuse could arise. Intentional physical, emotional, verbal, or financial abuse of a patient could prompt a medical license revocation.

Find a Professional License Defense Attorney Near Me

The Medical Board of California operates on rules on how the medical professionals must conduct themselves. The board exists to protect and promote the public's well-being by awarding licenses and allowing only those they deem fit to keep the licenses. Even after spending eight years trying to obtain a medical license, you can lose it in an instance of failure to adhere to the ethical rules.

If you are a doctor or physician facing a medical license revocation for criminal conduct, drug use, or fraudulent activities, it would be wise to proceed with guidance from a skilled professional license defense attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the criminal court and licensing board systems so that you can decide on the best legal approach. At The Legal Guardian, we will offer you the legal guidance and representation you need to defend against license revocation in Long Beach, CA. Call us today at 888-293-0396.