What types of medical misconduct might prompt a formal complaint?

When does a doctor’s behavior rise to the level of professional misconduct? At a minimum, a complaint filed with the applicable licensing board, such as the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, or Pharmacy, must allege more than just dissatisfaction with fees or a doctor’s attitude.

A precise definition of professional misconduct is difficult because a combination of laws and regulations govern professional license defense. However, certain behaviors generally constitute clear examples of medical misconduct. These include the fraudulent practice of medicine, gross negligence, working while impaired by drugs or alcohol, withholding services on the basis of race or national original or another protected category, filing false reports, or performing services not authorized by the patient.

If a complaint alleges a colorable claim of medical misconduct, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation will assign an investigator to gather more information. Although this stage represents a step in the administrative process, there is still a lot at stake.

Our law firm cautions against talking with the investigator outside the presence of an attorney. Any statements could be used as evidence in support of moving the case forward to a hearing. Notably, if the investigator concludes there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, the administrative process might recommend dismissal of the complaint.

Up to this point, the allegations of misconduct are generally kept confidential. However, if the BEI determines that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a disciplinary hearing before the applicable medical licensing board, an adverse outcome, such as disciplinary actions, will become public knowledge. This underscores the importance of consulting with an attorney that focuses on professional license defense.

Source: “My professional license is at risk due to a complaint, now what happens?” copyright 2017, Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

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