If You Feel Like Your Professional License Is at Risk, Give Us a Call
Georgia physicians need to know that it can be surprisingly, shockingly, and unfortunately easy to lose their professional licenses over seemingly small issues. Yet when these potentially license-revoking problems occur, it's essential that you don't minimize them.
You've worked hard for years to achieve and maintain your professional license. Whether the current threat to your license is legitimate or not, you need to continue working hard (starting right now) to ensure that you don't face undue consequences. Undergoing a license revocation can result in years of reputation damage and even ramifications for your career and livelihood.
Don't put yourself through that. The moment it becomes clear that the Georgia Composite Medical Board (or GCMB) is considering an investigation into your actions, you need to jump into action, too.
Going through professional license disciplinary proceedings can jeopardize your career as a Georgia physician. Think about it: You, as a physician, have immense responsibility for your patient's well-being. If someone alleges that you have conducted yourself in an unprofessional or even unsafe way, it can be very difficult to reinstate your license and enjoy your career as it was before those proceedings, even if those allegations were untrue.
That's why you need to retain the services of the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. With everything that's at stake, you need our services to ensure that you can take the most strategic steps possible toward a successful resolution. Our firm is pleased to represent Georgia physicians throughout physician license disciplinary actions.
Call us today at 888.535.3686 to retain the premier legal counsel of the Professional License Defense Team and improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Georgia Composite Medical Board Proceedings: How Does This Group Oversee Statewide Medical Licenses?
If you live and practice as a physician in Georgia, the Georgia Composite Medical Board, or GCMB, oversees and regulates your medical license. This same group regulates the licenses (and oversees license-related discipline) for physicians, physician assistants, and other types of healthcare professionals who live and practice in Georgia.
When a new healthcare professional applies to the GCMB for licensure, the group reviews their applications (e.g., their education, professional history, and training). Then, if the applicant meets the GCMB's high standards, the GCMB will allow the applicant to obtain their license and practice within the state.
Issuing licenses is not the only thing the GCMB does. If you hold a Georgia medical license through the GCMB, you should know that the GCMB will monitor your conduct. The GCMB wants to be aware of any potential violations, and it will act as an authority in the event of professional misconduct.
If the GCMB is made aware of a violation, the GCMB may launch an investigation. The GCMB can also issue disciplinary action against a license holder. These disciplinary actions may range from public reprimands to license revocation.
Georgia Composite Medical Board Rules and Standards
How does the GCMB maintain order among statewide licensees?
The Board has established a series of rules and standards to govern the Georgia medical profession. The goal of these guidelines is simple: The Board wants to ensure that patients in the state of Georgia receive great medical care.
Of course, just because the goal is straightforward and unobjectionable doesn't mean that the rules are simple to understand and always fair.
The GCMB's rulebook covers a lot of ground. Within GCMB's rules, you'll find ethical standards, medical practice scopes, guidelines for any necessary discipline, and a long list of licensure requirements.
Other included topics are:
- How much training a physician should have before being licensed
- Ongoing education stipulations
- Outlines for professional conduct
- Statewide ethical standards
- Principles of informed consent
- Rules for patient confidentiality
- Rules for avoiding conflicts of interest
If a Georgia physician is found to be in violation of any of these or other guidelines, the GCMB can initiate an investigation, gather evidence, ruminate over the evidence, make a decision about your responsibility for the alleged actions, and take disciplinary action.
What Types of Allegations Could Impact Georgia Physician Licenses?
The GCMB has the authority to hold Georgia physicians to the highest standards of professionalism and care. But what missteps are they looking for? What types of allegations could trigger an investigation by the GCMB?
There are many answers, but the allegations we see most often include:
- Unprofessional conduct, or any of many behaviors (from dishonesty to violation of patient confidentiality) that do not mesh well with the professionalism expected of Georgia physicians
- Negligence or incompetence, or allegations of a physician's failure to provide the standard of care (or properly monitor and respond to a patient's condition)
- Substance abuse, or evidence that a physician's use of substances interferes with their ability to practice their profession safely
- Convictions of a crime, which can bring a physician's character into question, even if it seems entirely unrelated to the practice of medicine
- Fraud, or, for example, committing insurance fraud, falsifying medical records, prescribing medications without need, or engaging in deceptive billing practices
- Exhibiting evidence of impairment, medical or physical, that could impede the physician's ability to do their job well.
Just because a physician is facing these allegations does not necessarily mean that they will face disciplinary action, too. Thanks to GCMB's due process, you have the right to defend yourself against these allegations. You also have the right to legal representation, which is strongly encouraged if you're hoping to work toward the most successful outcome possible after your brush with the GCMB's disciplinary system.
The Stakes At Hand: What is the Real Value of a Georgia Physician License?
It's easy to get a little fatigued and disillusioned throughout the overwhelming, jargon-filled, and lengthy state disciplinary process, but it's key to remember what you have when you're a licensed Georgia physician. After all, you've taken a decade or more, between undergraduate, medical school, and residency, to get where you are.
Your Georgia Physician License: A Symbol of Expertise and Dedication
That piece of paper is far more than a permission slip for practicing medicine. It signifies your ability to provide care to those who need it — and also your entire reputation and livelihood.
You've invested years of your life, countless study sessions, and seemingly-limitless resources in tuition and testing fees to qualify for your license. If you're facing the loss of your license, it's more than just a huge wrinkle in your ability to do your job. It's a slap in the face, and it can jeopardize your entire future.
What's the True Impact of Losing a Georgia Physician License?
Georgia physicians who lose their licenses may face:
- Steep financial issues. If you lose your license, you might lose your ability to work toward an income very quickly. This can make it difficult to pay rent, buy groceries, pay back student loans, and ultimately result in severe financial challenges.
- Career progression issues. After losing your license, you will no longer be able to practice medicine. This can make it very difficult to further your career — and if you are able to regain your GA license or obtain licensure in another state, you may find yourself several years behind in terms of career growth.
- Reputation damage. Your reputation is everything. If your community and your peers learn of your lost license, you might experience challenges with future employability (and your standing within your medical sphere).
- Broken patient relationships. As a physician, you might enjoy long-standing relationships with patients you've treated for years. Losing your license will disrupt this relationship, which can make it difficult for your patients to find the care they need.
What Happens After Someone Files a Complaint Against a Physician in Georgia?
If someone files a complaint against you to the GCMB, that triggers a multi-stage disciplinary process. Understanding each step of this process can help you know what to expect — and how to be as prepared as possible.
Look out for the following:
- An initial review of the allegations against you. The GCMB will check to see whether the allegations that someone has brought to its attention fall within its jurisdiction.
- An investigation. The GCMB will take some time to learn as much as possible about what may have happened. This may include a review of medical records, interviews with people involved, and an evidence-gathering stage.
- A decision. Once the GCMB has taken time to learn about what happened, it will let you know what happened and recommend public or private remedial or disciplinary action. Generally, the Board will move the case forward without a hearing unless there is a need to appeal — or if the Board believes that license revocation or suspension may be necessary.
- Disciplinary action. If the GCMB believes that the allegations against you are accurate (and serious), the Board might recommend some form of disciplinary action.
We've seen Georgia physicians weather many different types of disciplinary action, from public reprimands to probation, suspended licenses, and even license revocation.
How Can Georgia Doctors Defend Themselves From Disciplinary and License Issues?
The single best way for Georgia physicians to defend themselves and protect their licenses from disciplinary and other issues is simple: Don't try to defend yourself. Instead, have the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm come to your aid. There's far too much at stake to go before the GCMB on your own.
After you've called the Lento Law Firm, there are some actions you can take to be as informed as possible. Consider taking these steps as you work with our attorneys to boost your chances of a successful outcome.
- Familiarize yourself with GCMB rules.
- Maintain accurate, clear, and detailed patient records.
- Regularly attend your professional development and ongoing education training.
- Make sure you respond promptly when people do make complaints against you.
Adhering to these and other best practices while you're figuring out the best possible way to defend yourself can make it clear that you're taking this challenge seriously.
Are Licensing Board Administrative Proceedings the Same as Criminal Court and Civil Court Proceedings?
Your state's licensing board administrative proceedings will be very distinct from any other court proceedings you may be familiar with.
Here's a quick overview of the key differences.
- Licensing board administrative proceedings have a different purpose. Criminal cases center around crimes that the defendant has (allegedly) committed. If the court finds the defendant guilty, the defendant may face penalties. In civil court proceedings, the court resolves a dispute between two parties. The party found liable will have to pay compensation or comply with a similar recommendation. Licensing board administrative hearings focus solely on professional conduct and licensure. The goal of these hearings is to protect the public from the unregulated actions of medical professionals. If the Board decides that a professional has violated standards specific to their field, the Board has the right to suspend or revoke the professional's license.
- Licensing board administrative proceedings have different burden of proof standards. In criminal cases, the prosecution is responsible for the burden of proof, and they will need to demonstrate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, to determine liability, the people involved will need to show that it is more likely than not that the claim they're filing is true. Licensing board administrative proceedings require clear and convincing evidence. This means that the overall evidence presented must convince the Board that the allegation filed is very probably true. (This standard of proof falls between criminal and civil cases.)
- For licensing board administrative proceedings, legal representation is not technically required. (It's just highly encouraged.) In civil and criminal cases, the parties involved usually have legal representation. In criminal cases, defendants who cannot afford representation will receive court-appointed support. In licensing board administrative proceedings, legal representation is not automatically provided. It's easy to think this means that representation is not necessary, but given the stakes of the situation, this isn't the case. Physicians who wish to experience a successful outcome after their license-related challenges should reach out to the Lento Law Firm Team at once.
Can You Appeal Georgia Composite Medical Board Decisions?
Yes, you can appeal Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB) decisions. Of course, that's easier said than done.
If you believe that the process the Board took to determine responsibility and recommend sanctions was flawed, you can file an appeal to ask the Board to reverse its decision.
It's an intense and extremely complicated process. Here's how our Professional License Defense Team can help you appeal the GCMB and work toward a more successful resolution:
- We can help you understand why you're appealing. This might give you pause. You already know why you want to appeal — you want to avoid license revocation! The GCMB will need a slightly more nuanced rationale. We can help you review the Board's decision in detail, identify any procedural flaws, and determine the best possible strategy behind your appeal.
- We can help you understand the GCMB's formal hearing referral process. After the Board recommends private or public disciplinary action in a case, the physician can decide whether to agree to the ordered repercussions. If you, as the licensee, do not agree to the order and don't wish to undergo a license revocation, you will file a request for rehearing. There are several different tiers to the appeals process. For example, if you don't receive your sought-after response to your request after a rehearing, you can escalate to the court of appeals. This can be overwhelming. We're ready to help.
- We can help you prepare your record. To convincingly argue that the Board (or any other courts) that you shouldn't have your license revoked, you'll need a clear, complete record backing up your case. You'll need to compile the original complaint, the GCMB's official decision, and any other artifacts pertinent to your case.
- We can help you draft documents related to your appeal. In addition to notifying the GCMB that you will be appealing and submitting a clear, complete record of substantiating documents, you'll also need to submit a primary document outlining your main argument against the Board's decision. We can help you ensure this document is as accurate, strong, and persuasive as possible.
Your key takeaway is this:
You have the right to appeal decisions made by the GCMB, but doing it alone isn't a good idea. If you haven't yet retained the Professional License Defense Team when you appeal, do so. We can provide the advocacy you need to overcome this challenge.
How Can a Physician License Defense Attorney Help Me in Georgia?
Physicians practicing in Georgia need to be aware that an allegation potentially hurtful to their professional reputation could occur at any time. When this happens to you, you need to realize the magnitude of your situation. The Georgia state licensing board has resources, including a team of lawyers, to prosecute your case. You don't. But you deserve representation and a chance to defend your reputation, your name, and your future.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you:
- Gather the evidence you need to counter the evidence against you. This will involve knowing what evidence you need to look for and having the connections and experience necessary to conduct an in-depth investigation.
- Build and execute a relevant, resilient case strategy. This will involve leveraging the experience of similar cases to help you develop a strategy tailored to your unique situation with a high chance of being successful.
- Negotiate with your licensing board. During your disciplinary experience, you'll likely need to engage in sensitive, nerve-wracking negotiations with the GCMB at least once. Your goal will be to exit these negotiations with a resolution that impacts your career as minimally as possible. Our lawyers have years of experience handling such negotiations.
- Protect yourself and your rights throughout the entire process. The Professional License Defense Team can help you make sure that you're accurately telling your side of the story to the GCMB — and also help you hold the GCMB to its stated due process.
- Understand the vast, confusing world of regulatory knowledge pertinent to your case. Our team will leverage a deep, comprehensive understanding of Georgia's medical laws and regulations to help you navigate the regulatory system before you with finesse. If there are any local laws, legal avenues, or loopholes that may benefit your case, our team will be able to help you identify them and move forward.
- Reduce the sanctions against you so you can enjoy the long career you've worked for! After you retain our team, we can help you fight relentlessly to avoid outsized sanctions that could impact your future. We'll help you highlight your accomplishments, shine a spotlight on your patient care history, and emphasize the rehabilitative and restorative measures you may have taken to bolster your reputation.
Where in Georgia Can the Lento Law Firm Help Me?
The Lento Law Firm Team represents clients throughout the entirety of Georgia. We are particularly proud to provide representation to physicians who work at the following Georgia hospital systems:
- Grady Memorial Hospital
- Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center
- Emory University Hospital
- Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
- Piedmont Atlanta Hospital
- Atrium Health Navicent Medical Center
- Wellstar Kennestone Hospital
- Northside Hospital Atlanta
- Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown Hospital
- Northeast Georgia Medical Center
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm also assists physicians who work at any other Georgia healthcare facility, along with physicians who work in Atlanta, Columbus, Augusta, Macon, Savannah, or other cities in Georgia.
We Are Your License Defense Team for Georgia Physician Charges
No matter what your specialty may be as a Georgia physician, the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is here to assist you as you face allegations of wrongdoing or any other accusations that may pose a threat to your license and livelihood. We serve physicians seeking license defense nationwide and also in Georgia, so no matter where you live or practice, if you need our support, please reach out.