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What to Expect When Facing Professional Discipline as a Maryland Physician

| January 15, 2021

medical worker looking concerned with hand over face

Becoming a Maryland physician requires a lot of work and takes a tremendous amount of time. But it only takes a moment to lose it all when facing professional discipline from the Maryland Board of Physicians

If you find yourself under investigation or facing charges for something you did (or didn’t do) as a practicing doctor, you need to consider consulting with a Maryland professional license defense lawyer. You have so much on the line, including not just your medical license, but your freedom. Depending on what you’re being accused of, you might also be facing criminal charges.

This blog post offers a very brief overview of what the professional discipline process is like for a Maryland physician. To learn more, contact the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford.

What Kind of Actions Can Result in Disciplinary Action Against a Maryland Physician?

The bad news is that sanctions against a Maryland doctor can be severe. The good news is that many of the charges from the Maryland Board of Physicians (Board) are due to clearly wrongful behavior that easily could have been prevented.

And occasionally, honest mistakes occur, whether in the clinical or administrative context. Many physicians in Maryland will find themselves facing possible discipline for:

  • Not fulfilling continuing medical education (CME) requirements.
  • Acting in an unprofessional manner while practicing medicine.
  • Improper prescribing of a controlled substance.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Fraudulent billing.

This is just a brief list of what could result in your medical license being put in jeopardy by the Board. We encourage you to speak to our Maryland professional license defense lawyer to discuss your specific situation. But before they can impose a punishment, they must complete an investigation and allow you to have a hearing.

The Investigation

The investigation process has two major components. First, there’s the Board issuing subpoenas to access and review documents from medical offices and interview individuals who might have information relating to the accusations against you.

Second, the investigator will want to personally interview you. This will usually take place after the Board has interviewed other individuals or gathered its requested documents.

While the personal interview sounds like it’s no big deal, it’s a very formal event. You will be placed under oath and the entire interview will be recorded. To further complicate matters, you may be asked questions that could lead to criminal liability.

After the personal interview, the investigator will recommend to the Board whether to officially charge you. Assuming disciplinary charges are brought, you can decide whether or not to ask for a hearing. Depending on the severity of the charges, it’s usually a good idea to ask for a hearing.

The Hearing

Before a hearing takes place, there will be a Disciplinary Committee on Case Resolution Conference. This is an opportunity for you to propose how you think the charges against you should be handled. In other words, it’s your opportunity to propose a settlement offer. If the Board accepts it, you will need to give a statement before the Board and answer any questions they have.

Assuming no settlement is reached, you will have your hearing. It will be in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ), who will hear testimony, review documents and issue a ruling concerning your case. The ALJ will also create his or her own proposed findings for the Board. This hearing will be like a mini-trial, with an opportunity for you and expert witnesses to give testimony and be subject to cross-examination.

At the end of the hearing, the ALJ has 90 days to make a decision. This decision is then sent to the Board. If you disagree with any of the ALJ’s findings, you can file exceptions to them.

Possible Sanctions

If the Board decides to sanction you, they have a wide range of punishments to choose from.  The Board may issue a light sanction, such as a reprimand.

More severe punishments could include fines or placing you on probation. The most severe punishments from the Board could include a medical license suspension or revocation.

There is also a summary suspension process where the Board can suspend your license while the disciplinary process occurs. This doesn’t happen often but might occur if the Board believes the allegations pose a substantial threat to the safety of the general public.

Get in Touch with a Maryland Professional License Defense Lawyer

Facing the possibility of sanctions against your medical license from the Maryland Board of Physicians is an extremely troubling position to be in. Remember, the Maryland Board of Physicians exists to protect the general public, not you. Therefore, you should contact an experienced Maryland professional license defense lawyer from the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford. They can explain how the process will work and what you can do to protect your rights.