Contra Costa County Lawyer for Medical Board Accusations
MEDICINE CAN BE A MINEFIELD – WE CAN HELP !
What are the Hot Button Issues for Medical Board Accusations?
The Medical Board of California's annual report gives a statistical breakdown of areas of complaints and board action. The short version is that alcohol issues (which in our experience arise out of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) arrests and criminal conduct (mostly fraud complaints) are a significant area of concern to the board. Opioid prescriptions are a close competitor. However Gross Negligence in medical practice is the # 1 factor.
What are the Hot Practice Areas for Malpractice Judgment Reporting?
Malpractice awards that are reportable predictably cluster in the surgery, OB, ER and general practice areas. With few exceptions, any medical malpractice judgment, arbitration award or settlement over $30,000 must be reported even if multiple attorneys are grouped under a single settlement amount.
Call Our Medical Board Lawyers at Even a Hint of Trouble
Our medical board lawyers aim to stop Accusations before they are filed. How many patients have you had who ignored clear warning signs - to their detriment? As lawyers for doctors we can tell you this. Doctors are guilty of the same process. If you call at the first hint of discord some simple advice might avoid a big problem. Or not … but it is certainly wise to try!
Your Decades of Training only give you a “Privilege” to Practice Medicine
Medical board accusations are a shocking reminder that the practice of medicine is considered a privilege and not a right. In less than one year, an Accusation can strip you of your right to practice medicine. A malpractice claim settled in your name can lead a listing in the NPDB (National Practitioner Data Bank) even when you were simply around and named as one of many defendants. You thought the medical malpractice lawyer was settling to protect you …. but the lawyer protected the insurance company. And guess what? The insurance company wasn't reported to the NPDB, you were.
805 Reports Can Happen in the Blink of the Eye
Medical Staff can suspend a doctor without a hearing. A summary suspension is usually made behind closed doors through the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) or other person authorized by the by-laws to take such action. (It can be the Chief of Staff for example).
The medical executive committee (MEC) will generally pressure the physician to resign or negotiate some surrender of privileges during the 14 day summary suspension clock. California requires a medical board report (called an 805 Report) no later than 15 days after the doctor suffers a summary suspension of privileges.
It is possible during the 14 day clock to negotiate something less onerous than a reportable termination or resignation. PIP's (Performance Improvement Plans) and other non-terminating options may be offered but these carry their own burdens.
And Yes, a doctor always has the right to contest an adverse action through a peer review committee.
We strongly urge doctors to obtain expert legal advice during this 14 day period. The MEC and medical staff policy makers expect you to retain counsel. Hospital administration does very little without advice of counsel and they expect you to do the same.
The Horowitz medical practice group understands negotiation and litigation. Top trial lawyer Daniel Horowitz and physician-lawyer Dr. Mark Ravis (license is active) have an excellent track record.
Unfair Discipline and Unfair Reporting Follows You for Years
Doctors sadly learn, that decades of dedication can be taken from a physician in less than a year. Even if you maintain your license a medical board action can burden your career forever. Physicians face ancillary penalties that include reporting to the National Practitioner Data Bank, reporting in public databases, reporting on the medical board website and long term damage to your reputation.
Self reporting of medical actions kick in when you apply for privileges, change jobs or apply for a business loan or malpractice insurance.
The Medical Board of California Telegraphs its Hot Button Disciplinary Issues
Medical license lawyers know that the most common California Medical Board Accusations can be reviewed on their Accusation Filed Web page. We subscribe to this list and review each Accusation. This means that an attorney for doctors is part lawyer and part political pundit. Sometimes the politics are easy to anticipate. When the lawyers and Attorney Generals started targeting the opioid pharma companies, we knew that individual doctors were next. We reached out to doctors who were already clients and warned them of the upcoming tidal wave of discipline.
There are trends that you can note with consulting a medical lawyer. As we said, Opioid prescriptions were a hot topic. Sexual misconduct is another major area of inquiry. Failures of patient care are not uncommon and the Horowitz Medical team includes a lawyer/doctor (Dr Mark Ravis) and paralegal chiropractor (Michael Yates) to review quality of care issues - in house. We can then consult with top medical experts to assemble the proper defense team.
SOURCES OF COMPLAINTS TO MEDICAL BOARD
Complaints typically arise from other physicians, disgruntled employees and patients. Ongoing investigations of other physicians may involve your office (perhaps as a referral source) or some of your patients. Opioid complaints have been coming from insurance companies and pharmacies. If you get a warning letter from either, contact an attorney right away.
Other complaints are more obvious. Suspensions, denials of privileges, arrests can all trigger board investigations. There is little consistency between states except on issues like opiate prescriptions, DME or Genetic Testing remote chart review and other issues that have a national publicity aspect to them.
As an example, some states are very harsh on substance abuse by MD’s. Others look for a treatment option as the first choice. But beware agencies that administer these programs. Once you enter their world of supervision, they own your soul.
Contra Costa County's Best Physician Defense Team
Our physician defense lawyers include physician lawyer Dr. Mark Ravis and trial lawyer Daniel Horowitz. Oksana Tyskova is an experienced trial lawyer with two physician parents. Karina Johnson (formerly working with Charles Bond at Physicians Advocates) has over a decade experience with highly technical medical-legal matters.
We travel statewide to defend doctors with many cases in the Walnut Creek area, Los Angeles and San Diego.
Our physician legal team is expert in the three key phases of medical board defense.
Phase 1 is blocking the filing of an accusation. You need to contact us as soon as you suspect that the medical board is investigating you. We can, at times either stop the filing of an accusation or negotiate a resolution that protects your privacy and your medical license.
Phase 2 takes place after the medical board accusation is filed. At this stage we raise technical defenses and assemble counter evidence to obtain a fair resolution (and at times a dismissal of the charges).
Phase 3 is the trial state. If a case cannot resolve we are among the most experienced trial lawyers in the medical defense field. We have defended clients in 1000's of contested evidentiary hearings and Daniel Horowitz has completed over 200 jury trials. There is no substitute for experience in the courtroom. You can analogize courtroom experience with the experience of a surgeon in the OR. More is usually better.
Major Triggers of Medical Board Inquiries
Healthcare fraud investigations by state or federal agencies are often done in partnership with the state medical board.
Health Care Fraud covers a very wide range of conduct but in general consists of conduct done with the intent to deceive a state, federal or private health care payor so that the payor provides money or benefits that are not justified. The FBI is the primary federal agency for investigating health care fraud and the scope of their authority includes federally funded programs and private insurance programs as well. Certain states such as California, have very active state run health care fraud investigatory agencies such as the department of insurance.
Medical Board Investigations may have a criminal aspect. Read our blog on the intersection of the administrative and criminal functions of the medical board.
To view California Medical Board Disciplinary Actions use this link to the Medical Board recent License Actions page.
The term “Accusation” is archaic and it includes actions against doctors with medical problems that interfere with practice. It is generally “accusatory” and the mere filing of a medical board accusation damages your reputation permanently.
Checking on whether a physician has been simply accused is easy. Finding the records of discipline is likewise easy. Here is a story by CBS News that has a drop down menu that allows anyone to search state databases to review physician discipline. Attorneys representing doctors often comment on the incredible harm and peril that physicians face by board actions and MEC Committee / peer review. The result matters but the harm is caused simply by the accusation.
If you are under attack you are in great peril for long term harm. We try to work miracles (and as a physician you have the same orientation) but the cold hard reality is that even the most experienced and talented physician’s lawyer is fighting against tremendous odds. More than many, physician clients have more to lose than the normal professional under similar circumstances.
On the other side of these medical board, peer review and other hostile action cases, the governmental entities, medical groups, peer review groups and hospitals generally feel impervious to any counter attack.
We hear many attorneys and doctors denigrate the hospital attorneys. We respectfully disagree. The attorneys for “the other side” are generally not hacks. Most are highly skilled, very well trained and well paid. You cannot underestimate them and if you are your attorney underestimate these corporate lawyers, you do so at your personal peril.
With this honest caveats, I can and will provide you with an exceptionally high level of expertise and genuine caring for you and your future. My teams focus on ending the stress and pressure and reviving your dreams and vision for your future.
Dan Horowitz handled my complex business issue with magnanimity, compassion, care, promptness, and utmost professionalism. I'm an Attorney and would highly recommend him to other professionals (and others alike) because he's the very BEST at what he does and has an uncanny knack at finding unique resolutions with unparalleled speed and efficiency. What is quite outatanding is that he treats each client with kindness and compassion as if a family member- Lovely K.
I cannot express enough gratitude for the outstanding legal services provided by Daniel Horowitz. He not only possesses an in-depth understanding of the law but also demonstrated a genuine commitment to me. He took the time to listen attentively to my concerns, providing clear and concise explanations of the legal processes involved in my case. He made me feel heard and supported during this tumultuous time. What impressed me most was his unwavering dedication to achieving the best possible outcome for me. The attention to detail and strategic approach to my case were evident at every stage. I am eternally grateful towards Daniel for what he has done for me and I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Dan- Kento T.
Daniel and his team did an excellent job. He was always readily available to take my call and provided peace of mind through a stressful situation.- Reid V.
My experience with Dan was great. I appreciate the knowledge Dan has and the professionalism they exhibit. I would highly recommend the Law Office Of Daniel Horowitz. My family and I are truly grateful we worked with him.- Brandon D.
There are lawyers and then there are real lawyers. Dan Horowitz is a real lawyer in every since of the word. Dan is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. You will not find very many attorneys having such recognition especially one that hits on all cylinders as Dan. In addition to his knowledge of the law and his experience, which I found to be unmatched, i appreciated the fact that he at all times is genuine, which for me says it all. Thank you Dan.- Cory N.
“The Best Attorney I Could Have Asked For.”- Katherine Ryken
Dan Horowitz was the best attorney I could have asked for during a difficult time in my career. From the moment I met him, I felt believed, respected, and safe. He and his team were endlessly responsive and empathetic to me and my family. He fought for my case day and night, always keeping my best interests at the forefront of his mind. As I learned from Dan, it is never a good time in oneâ€™s life to need legal representation - but if you need it, Dan is your person, your advocate, and your best friend. We are forever grateful for his tireless commitment to justice for the people.- Katherine R.
He is approachable but serious. Mr. Horowitz is the perfect balance of what someone wants in a lawyer. Not only is he approachable enough to gain and value your trust, but he's a bulldog in the courtroom. Despite his kindness, I have never once doubted his ability to provide me with THE BEST representation in court. I'm so thankful to have found a lawyer capable of such a delicate balancing act.- Molly A.