There are many different rules that doctors here in Pennsylvania have to comply with. Sometimes, when allegations arise that a physician violated these rules, a complaint is filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State against the physician. A complaint triggers a process that can have major effects on a doctor.
One of the first things that typically occurs after a complaint against a physician is filed is that a determination is made as to whether the complaint necessitates an investigation.
It is fairly common for a complaint to be found to require an investigation. Following such a finding, the state generally conducts an investigation into the matter the complaint involves. Such investigations can vary quite a bit in length. Sometimes, they go on for months, while other times they wrap up in a matter of days. Some of the things such investigations often involve are the interviewing of witnesses and the collection and review of documents.
When an investigation reaches its end, the state makes a decision, based on the investigation's findings, as to whether the physician the complaint was filed against will have any disciplinary charges brought against them. If disciplinary charges are brought, a doctor could face proceedings in which many things, including their future in the medical profession, could hang in the balance.
Thus, what happens at the investigation stage can play a major role in what potential implications a complaint could have for a doctor. Consequently, when a physician discovers that a complaint has been filed against them or that an investigation is being conducted in relation to alleged conduct by them, they may want to immediately look into seeking legal help. Attorneys with experience in medical license defense can provide doctors with advice on things such as to how best to keep their rights protected during the investigation stage.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, "Facts you should know when submitting a complaint," Accessed Sept. 10, 2014