Defending Your Florida Physician's License with the Lento Law Firm
Your Florida physician's license is your ticket to being able to practice your chosen profession. But it's also more than that: It's emblematic of your hard work and dedication. It represents your ability to earn a living. It represents your standing in your community and the trust your patients have in you.
This can make it all the more devastating when something happens to call your license into jeopardy. It's sometimes hard to even imagine this can happen; after all, your license is so fundamental to who you are and what you do. Yet it can be surprisingly easy to find yourself in a situation where, even due to no fault of your own, you could be facing a license suspension or revocation.
When Florida physicians face license-related challenges, the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is ready to provide the support needed to achieve the most successful possible outcome. Instead of realizing that your access to an income could be cut short, you can work alongside the Lento Law Firm Team to negotiate with the relevant authorities to reduce your sanction and return to your profession with your reputation intact.
Retain the services of the premier Professional License Defense Team today by calling 888.535.3686, or visit us online to tell us about your case.
What are Specific Florida State Authorities that Oversee License Defense for Physicians?
When you first applied for a physician's license in Florida, what government group did you communicate with?
As it turns out, there are several regulatory bodies in the state of Florida that oversee the licensure, regulation, and any necessary discipline of physicians within the state.
These authorities include:
- The Florida Board of Medicine. This group, a division under the Florida Department of Health, is the group that licenses medical doctors in Florida. The Board, or the FBM, is also responsible for ensuring that Florida physicians adhere to established medical practices and standards.
- The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, a similar board that supervises the practice of Osteopathic doctors in Florida.
- The Florida Department of Health. This is the group that exists over the authority of the Florida Board of Medicine. It supports both of the Boards discussed above, and also has the authority to take direct actions in any license-related cases that also involve public health threats.
- The Division of Medical Quality Assurance. This is a group that operates under the Department of Health. It assists with the licensing and regulation process when needed.
These groups are the main ones you may interact with as you move throughout your license disciplinary process. They're good names to know. However, if you're working with the Lento Law Firm Team, you should be able to keep your own communication with these boards to a minimum, because after you retain our attorneys, we'll handle communication relevant to your license dispute.
Which Processes and Rules Do Florida Physicians Have to Abide By?
Whether you, as a Florida physician, live and practice among the bustling streets of Miami or the communities of Tampa, Orlando, or Jacksonville, you and your colleagues will need to follow specific rules set forth by the state. These rules are in place to ensure that Floridians can expect safe, high-quality care when they need it.
This is a great goal. It doesn't mean the rules in place to work toward it are perfect (or even easy to understand). Here are just some of the regulations and legal language in place governing the actions of Florida doctors:
- Florida Statutes Title XXXII Chapter 458. This is legal language that discusses the way allopathic physicians in Florida are able to practice medicine. It includes licensing requirements, disciplinary actions, and more.
- Florida Administrative Code 64B8. This code details further specific rules that allopathic physicians need to follow, including information about the continuing education requirements Florida physicians must fulfill.
- Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine Rules. If you're a practitioner with a D.O. degree, you need to be aware of the unique rules and guidelines pertaining to your practice, which are geared around ensuring that Osteopathic physicians provide compassionate, stellar care.
- Florida's Practitioner Profiling. All physicians in Florida, from Orlando to Pensacola and beyond, must provide detailed public profiles including their education and disciplinary history. This is meant to provide transparency to Florida patients. It raises the stakes for Florida physicians: If you're facing discipline, you need to take action to ensure you don't receive any sanctions or anything else that will necessarily end up on your public profile.
What Authority Does the Florida Board of Medicine Have Over Physicians (And Their Licenses)?
It's easy to feel like the above groups don't really have any say over your day-to-day practice operations. After all, many physicians won't really interact with these groups often, except for the occasional renewal of their licenses.
That doesn't mean that the Florida Board of Medicine and the other groups we've mentioned don't have authority over licensed Florida physicians.
Here are a few of the ways that the Florida Board of Medicine oversees your actions:
- The Florida Board of Medicine is responsible for issuing, renewing, and revoking Florida physician licenses.
- The Florida Board of Medicine is also responsible for any other needed discipline when a Florida physician violates one of its regulations or standards. The types of penalties the board can impose will depend on the severity of the alleged violation, and can range from fines to written warnings to license revocation.
- The Florida Board of Medicine is responsible for determining continuing medical education mandates and ensuring that Florida physicians abide by them.
- The Florida Board of Medicine reviews malpractice claims and determines whether the involved physicians are responsible for any violations. If so, the Florida Board of Medicine may recommend disciplinary actions.
- The Florida Board of Medicine collects and reviews patient complaints. The board will assess whether these complaints have merit, and initiate investigations if it decides it wants to know more about any specific situations.
- The Florida Board of Medicine oversees the specializations and qualifications of physicians, ensuring that no one is practicing outside of what they're specifically educated and certified to do.
The Specific Nature of Florida Physician License Disciplinary Charges
The administrative nature of Florida physician license charges can make it seem like it's something you can handle with a bit of paperwork, but that's not the case. Administrative proceedings are different from other legal proceedings, but they're not innately easier to work through. In fact, some of the ways in which administrative proceedings differ can make the process a little intuitively difficult to grasp.
For example, consider the fact that the burden of proof is fundamentally different in administrative proceedings, as opposed to criminal or civil cases.
- In criminal proceedings, guilt needs to be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt.
- In civil proceedings, responsibility for the charges is “a preponderance of the evidence,” which means that one party must convince the jury or judge that its version of the facts is more likely true than not.
- Administrative proceedings require clear and convincing evidence to demonstrate responsibility. This standard of proof falls somewhere between what is required for criminal proceedings and civil proceedings, and it can be difficult to determine what is actually required to make a strong case.
Understanding these burdens of proof and knowing how you can make the most compelling case possible is critical for your chances of success. Fortunately, you do not personally need to be responsible for this type of strategy. Our attorneys on the Professional License Defense Team are more than ready to help you undertake the actions you need to in order to succeed.
How Can Florida Physicians Tell Their Side of the Story Effectively?
If you're getting ready to make the best possible case for yourself in front of an administrative panel, it's easy to panic. How can you possibly meet the above-mentioned required burden of proof? How are you supposed to defend yourself in a situation where the allegations against you may be hard to debunk?
The Lento Law Firm Team has years of experience helping Florida physicians mount strong defenses. Here are a few ways we'll help you tell your side of the story in a way well-suited to helping you achieve a successful outcome:
- We'll help you go through all of the documentation. Somewhere in your patient records, in the Florida Board of Medicine's regulations, in related Florida physician license cases, or even in Florida state legislation, there is likely information that will influence your case and help you move forward. We will put our experience to work for you to find that information and help you leverage it for the best results possible.
- We'll open lines of communication directly with the Florida Board of Medicine. Often, we see significant success by speaking and negotiating directly with the board on Florida physicians' behalf. Whether you're specifically trying to negotiate down a reduced sanction or simply keeping the board updated about developments in your case, this can help demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and transparency.
- We'll help you take action to solidify your reputation as a responsible Florida physician. As your case proceeds, it can help to invest in continuing education, request testimonials from your peers, or take other actions to showcase your dedication to the medical profession. We can help you find the best way to frame this dedication and relate it to your ongoing administrative case.
Which Allegations Could Result in Harm Done to Florida Physician Licenses?
There are many types of potential violations that could attract the attention of the Florida Board of Medicine.
First of all, it's important to realize that complaints can come from just about anywhere. Your patients, your colleagues, or even people you don't directly know can all reach out to the Florida Board of Medicine and file a complaint about you.
The most common complaints surrounding Florida physicians tend to include:
- Substance abuse. If someone can allege that you're using drugs or drinking alcohol in a way that impacts your practice, they could file a complaint.
- Medical malpractice (if it affects your license). This is a general category that includes patient negligence.
- Conviction of a felony. If you've been convicted of a criminal action, particularly if it's related to your profession or if the crime involves moral turpitude, that could lead to license revocation.
- Fraud. If someone can allege that you've billed fraudulently, provided care that you're not authorized to perform, misrepresented yourself during the licensing process, or been involved with similar fraudulent activities, the Florida Board of Medicine may decide it wants to know more.
- Violating patient boundaries. If you've been (allegedly) involved in inappropriate or dual relationships with your patients, or been involved in inappropriate actions, the board may consider that an infraction worthy of disciplinary action.
- Improper prescription practices. Overprescribing, engaging in the illegal sale of prescription medications, and prescribing medications without proper examinations can all result in sanctions against your license.
- Failure to maintain medical records. If you don't provide proper documentation for all of your patients, someone may report to the board that you're neglecting your professional duty. This can lead to repercussions you'd rather avoid.
- Failure to complete ongoing education. The state of Florida takes its ongoing education seriously! Negligence in this area can result in penalties against your license.
- Failure to maintain a valid license while practicing. Finally, if anyone can allege that you've been practicing medicine without a valid license in Florida, that can absolutely attract the attention of the Florida Board of Medicine.
What Constitutes the Florida Board of Medicine's Investigative and Disciplinary Process?
After the Florida Board of Medicine receives a complaint, what happens? If you're interested in what you may be up against, here's the timeline to remember:
- The process begins when the board receives a complaint. It will take time to review the complaint and determine whether further investigation is warranted.
- If the board decides it wants to learn more, the board will initiate an investigation.
- During the investigation, the board may interview many people potentially involved with your case, including you, your staff, your patients, or even asking to review your medical records.
- The Florida Board of Medicine may decide to hold a Probable Cause Panel in your case. This intimidating event may involve several seasoned healthcare professionals reviewing the particulars of your alleged offense and discussing the details to come to a decision regarding your responsibility.
- You'll then be invited to a formal hearing. This will be a rigorous event, involving several authorities presiding over evidence presentation, the hearing of witness testimonies, your delivery of your argument, and more.
- At the end of (or just after) the formal hearing, the Florida Board of Medicine will issue its final decision in your case. If the board has determined that you are responsible for the allegations against you, the board will also issue a recommendation for a sanction at this time. This sanction could range from a written warning to full license revocation.
If you don't agree with the decisions the board has made, you don't have to take those decisions lying down. Depending on the specifics of your unique case, it may be a good idea to appeal the board's decision.
The Ins and Outs of the Florida Board of Medicine Appeals Process
Our attorneys can review the details of your case, and the materials the Florida Board of Medicine provides along with its final decision, and help you determine if an appeal is the best choice for you.
If you're interested in pursuing an appeal, here's a general timeline of what to expect:
- You'll need to submit a notice of appeal to the Florida Board of Medicine within a limited amount of time — usually somewhere between 10 and 30 business days after the board has released its decision. This will involve a hefty amount of paperwork that will need to be filled and filed perfectly. Our attorneys have done this before, and can help you ensure everything is submitted on time.
- You'll then need to work with the attorneys of the Professional License Defense Team to come up with the strongest possible basis for your appeal (and the associated evidence to back up your claims). Common angles to pursue include the unearthing of brand-new evidence supporting your side of the story, or the ability to clearly demonstrate that the Florida Board of Medicine did not follow its own procedures during your disciplinary experience.
- After you've worked with our team to ideate and support your appeal, you'll need to draft and file the appeal itself. This will need to include concise, powerful, and persuasive arguments for why the board's decision should be modified. Our team can help you write these.
- In some cases, you may have the opportunity to meet with representatives of the board in person to present further oral arguments.
- At the end of the board's appeal process, the board will decide either to stand by its original decision or provide a reduced sanction. Our attorneys can help you negotiate at this point to ensure that the outcome is one you feel is tenable in your case.
- If the board stands by its original decision, you may be able to escalate your case to higher courts, including the Florida Supreme Court under certain circumstances.
This entire process will be extremely overwhelming and very involved, but your future is worth it. And, to make things (much) easier, our team will be there to help you make the most out of every argument and appeal, every step of the way!
Your Florida Physician License Defense: Why You Need Our Team By Your Side
If your license is at risk, you need the best possible defense team at your side. That's where we come in. The Professional License Defense Team from the Lento Law Firm is ready to jump in and provide strategic guidance, and robust representation, and apply our extensive knowledge of Florida administrative legal language and precedent to help you attain the best possible outcome in your case.
We're pleased to be able to assist physicians who live and work in the following areas:
- St. Petersburg
- Fort Lauderdale
- West Palm Beach
Additionally, if you work or provide care in any of the following top Florida hospital centers, please give us a call when you require support through license-related challenges:
- UF Health Shands Hospital, Gainesville
- Tampa General Hospital, Tampa
- Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville
- Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston
- Baptist Hospital of Miami, Miami
However, if we haven't listed your specific metro area or the practice in which you work, please reach out to our team anyway. The Lento Law Firm Team is proud to be ready to provide premier services to physicians both nationwide and across the entire state of Florida.
Your License Defense Team for Florida Physician Administrative Charges
The stakes are incredibly high as you begin to navigate your disciplinary experience with Florida's medical licensing board — but you need to know that you can do things to change your outcome. Working with the Professional License Defense Team from the Lento Law Firm can help you avoid the long-lasting career implications that can accompany license-related sanctions.
Whether you're a primary healthcare provider in Miami or a cardiologist in Tampa, call 888.535.3686 today to learn more about the services the Lento Law Firm Team can provide. Alternatively, if you're ready to secure your best-quality defense today, fill out this brief form online to tell us about your case and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.