The Maryland Board of Physicians Just Denied Your Application for a License. What Now?

March 12, 2018
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Before you can legally practice medicine in this state, the Maryland Board of Physicians must grant you a license. Any person who meets certain statutory qualifications can apply for licensure. Typically, the Board will act on an application within four months. If there is a problem with your application or the Board ultimately decides to reject it, then there may be an extended hearing and appeals process.

Some of the physician licensing requirements are objective. For example, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, graduated from an accredited medical school, and completed at least one year of postgraduate training. There also are more subjective requirements, notably that the applicant must “be of good moral character,” as determined by the Board.

Moral character covers a wide range of behaviors. Some are obvious, e.g., you can be denied a medical license if you habitually abuse alcohol or have committed a crime. You can also be turned down for a license based on “unprofessional conduct,” which could include anything from mishandling a patient’s care to committing sexual harassment against a co-worker.

Hearings and Appeals

If the Board has a problem with your application, the first thing it will do is issue you a “Notice of Intent to Deny Application.”  The Board can issue a Notice of Intent to Deny Application for one or any combination of the following reasons: (1) you failed to meet the minimal qualifications or requirements of licensure; (2) you committed an act or an omission that constitutes grounds for discipline under Maryland Code Annotated Health Occupations Article § 14-404; (3) you failed to complete the application or failed to provide additional information requested by the Board in connection with the application; (4) you submitted false or misleading information in connection with the application; or (5) you failed to cooperate with the Board’s investigation of the application. The Notice of Intent to Deny Application will contain a written statement of the proposed grounds for refusing to grant you a license.

If your Notice of Intent to Deny Application relates to an initial license, you will be offered an informal meeting with a panel of the Board to determine whether the matter can be resolved with a consent order.  At that meeting, the administrative prosecutor may be present.  If you and the administrative prosecutor agree with the panels proposed resolution, you will be asked to sign a consent order detailing the proposed resolution, which can include a consent order granting a license, denying a license or granting a license with appropriate terms and conditions including probation.  Afterwards, the full Board will vote on whether to approve the proposed resolution that was reached.  

If you or the administrative prosecutor do not agree on the proposed resolution, you have the right to contest the grounds of the Notice by requesting a formal hearing before the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).  Unlike a normal civil dispute, a licensing challenge is not initially heard in an independent court. Rather, an administrative law judge employed by OAH will be assigned to serve as the hearing officer. The ALJ will hear evidence from both you and the Board and render a proposed decision. Keep in mind, the ALJ serves as the sole fact-finder in these cases; you do not have the right to a jury trial.

If the ALJ’s initial decision recommends denying your application for a license, that is still not the final word on the matter. You can file “exceptions” to the initial decision–essentially, an appeal–and ask the Maryland Board of Physicians itself to review your case. (The administrative prosecutor can also file exceptions if the ALJ rules in your favor.) The Board will conduct a separate hearing, although it may restrict your ability to introduce additional evidence beyond what the ALJ considered.

Ultimately, if the Board upholds the ALJ’s decision and issues a final decision to deny your application, you can then seek judicial review in the state courts.

Need Legal Help Getting Your Medical License?

As you can see, the process for dealing with a denial of medical licensure involves a number of steps that can take several months to work through. If you do receive a Notice of Intent to Deny Application, the first thing you should do is speak with a qualified Baltimore professional licensing attorney who can assist you in dealing with the Board. Call The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. today at 410-514-6099 or contact us online.

(image courtesy of Hush Naidoo)