Is Your Michigan Physician's License In Danger? We Can Help
Licensed physicians living and practicing in Michigan who face disciplinary actions from the Michigan Board of Medicine are often, understandably, nervous. Even scared.
However, the urge to shrug off or ignore the possibilities is huge. After all, you don't want to think about what losing your license would mean. You're deeply invested in your medical career after the years of hard work necessary to get your license in the first place. You've established yourself in your community. Your reputation is everything to you.
Now that the Board is investigating claims of misconduct that could concern you, you're distressed and unsettled. You're facing a formidable challenge. Luckily, you do not have to face this challenge alone. And you definitely do not have to accept the risk of losing everything that you've worked hard to achieve. Securing the support of the experienced Professional License Defense Team from the nationwide Lento Law Firm will be vital. We stand ready to be your team and to put our years of experience defending licensed professionals to work for you.
After you contact us, our team of defense attorneys will thoroughly assess your situation, provide invaluable advice, and advocate for your rights at every step of your disciplinary experience. We are here to help you work toward the most favorable resolution possible.
The Lento Law Firm Team is proud to represent physicians all throughout Michigan, from bustling cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids to more regional areas such as Flint, Traverse City, and Lansing.
Don't wait to start your best defense. Reach out to us immediately at 888.535.3686 or fill out this brief form to enlist the unparalleled support of the Professional License Defense Team.
What are Specific Michigan State Authorities that Oversee License Discipline for Physicians?
In Michigan, there are a few different authorities and governing boards that oversee the activities of physicians, their license applications, and any necessary license disciplinary actions.
These groups are:
- The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — often abbreviated and referred to as LARA. This state governmental agency oversees the licenses of many types of licensed professionals, including those who work in the healthcare space.
- The Michigan Board of Medicine. The Board operates under the LARA umbrella. It is responsible for the regulation, licensure, education, and discipline of both MDs and DOs within the state of Michigan. It owns the relevant regulations, ensures practitioners adhere to all relevant laws and helps maintain standards of healthcare practice to make sure that Michiganders always feel safe.
- The Bureau of Professional Licensing — often referred to as the BPL. The BPL also works under LARA. It exists to provide administrative support to the Michigan Board of Medicine. If you require assistance with an initial Michigan physician license issue, or a renewal or verification issue, you'll likely work with the BPL. In license-related disciplinary situations, the BPL can often assist with paperwork-related verification.
- The Michigan Health Professional Recovery Program, or the HPRP —is a program meant to address any issues of mental health disorders or substance abuse challenges among Michigan healthcare professionals. The HPRP works with LARA to identify the need for monitoring and connect physicians with rehabilitation services as needed.
- The Michigan Administrative Hearings System oversees the logistics of the administrative complaints often accompanying license disciplinary actions. This office is responsible for making sure that administrative hearings are conducted in a fair manner and are handled in accordance with relevant Michigan laws.
- In some severe cases, the Michigan Attorney General's Office may become involved in physician license investigations. This is usually reserved for cases that involve gross negligence or potential criminal behavior.
If you're a Michigan physician facing discipline surrounding your license, it's time to familiarize yourself with these entities and be prepared to jump into action.
But first, there's a little more background information that will be helpful going forward.
Which Processes and Rules Do Michigan Physicians Have to Abide By?
Michigan physicians need to follow a wide array of standards, processes, and rules. It can feel like a lot, but the general gist and goal of these rules are relatively unified: The state wants to make sure that providers are providing effective and safe medical care to Michigan patients.
Following these rules and maintaining compliance should not only ensure safety but also protect physician reputations.
The regulations Michigan physicians should keep in mind are largely found in (but are not limited to) the Michigan Public Health Code. The language in this Act provides the foundation for practicing medicine in Michigan. This Act defines the scope of practice, details educational requirements, and lays out various other standards — including information about violations and penalties for violating the code.
In addition to the Michigan Public Health Code, there are various rules and regulations held by Michigan's relevant governing bodies, from LARA to the BPL and the HPRP.
Navigating all of these various rules and their labyrinthine language can be a struggle. That's where our team comes in. The Professional License Defense Team has specific experience navigating the intricacies of Michigan's medical and legal landscape. We'll handle the details for you so you can get back to doing what you do best — providing stellar care for your patients.
Are There Any Relevant Interstate Agreements or Reporting Pathways that Affect Michigan Physicians and Their License-Related Issues?
The Michigan healthcare system doesn't exist in a vacuum. Especially with the rise of telehealth services, medicine is often interconnected across state lines. To make sure that providers know exactly how to keep patients safe in any region, state medical boards often create interstate agreements and reporting pathways to uphold medical standards, ensure the continuity of care, and establish ways to address any issues that could arise across state borders.
Such agreements and pathways relevant to Michigan providers may include:
- The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (or the IMLC). The IMLC is an agreement between 33 states in the country, as well as the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam. The IMLC helps facilitate the process by which a licensed provider in one state can practice in another. Under the IMLC, healthcare providers need to adhere to local medical practice regulations.
- The National Practitioner Data Bank (or the NPDB). This nationwide database tracks a whole host of healthcare practitioner data — from malpractice to adverse licensure actions. If you, as a Michigan physician, face license-related discipline, that will end up in the NPDB. Other states will consult this database when you apply for licensure, so it's especially important to keep your name out of it if at all possible.
- The Federation of State Medical Boards (or the FSMB). Much like the NPDB, this group holds a repository of information collecting disciplinary actions taken against licensed physicians nationwide.
Whether you practice in an urban hub like Sterling Heights or in a more rural area, knowing these interstate agreements (and their implications) is key. These regulations and governing groups make it all the more vital that you invest in a strong defense now, so investing in your career later isn't more difficult than it needs to be.
What Authority Does the Michigan Board of Medicine Have Over Physicians (And Their Licenses)?
Now that we've covered the various laws, groups, and interstate agreements that could impact your professional future, it's time to get more specific.
If you're facing disciplinary action, how much does the Michigan Board of Medicine really have to say about your future?
Here are some of the key areas of authority the Michigan Board of Medicine has over practitioners like you:
- Licensing. This likely isn't a surprise: One of the main functionalities of the Board is to issue and oversee licensing for qualified physicians — for applicants from Dearborn to Warren and beyond.
- Professional Standards. The Board establishes and maintains practice standards for physicians all across the state.
- Investigations and Discipline. If someone does lodge a complaint against a physician in Michigan, the Michigan Board of Medicine will be among the first to know. The Board will oversee the investigation and any disciplinary actions necessary.
- Continuing Education. The Board determines the amount and number of hours of CME that practitioners must pursue before obtaining license renewal.
- License Reinstatement. If your license has been revoked or suspended, the Michigan Board of Medicine will be in charge of helping you determine how to pursue reinstatement (and then approving reinstatement once the conditions are met).
Of all the names and acronyms we've discussed in this guide, the Michigan Board of Medicine is the one to remember going forward. Next, we'll discuss in more detail what disciplinary charges could mean for you and your license.
What Specific Types of Allegations Can Put Michigan Physician Licenses At Risk?
There are many types of allegations that could make it more difficult than necessary to protect your reputation and pursue your career. If proven true, any of the following examples of problematic allegations could jeopardize your license.
However, here's an important thing to note: Even if the allegations against you are false — demonstrably so — you could still pay a penalty. Your reputation is everything, and even being tangentially, mistakenly involved with a misconduct case can be harmful to you and your career.
If you're facing any of the following, contact the Professional License Defense Team as quickly as possible:
- Medical malpractice (if it will affect your license). This is a common reason for license revocation. It refers to the negligent actions or inactions of a healthcare professional that result in injury or harm to a patient.
- Substance abuse. Any physicians found practicing under the influence or even misusing alcohol or drugs on their own time could find that their ability to practice medicine is abruptly curtailed.
- Fraud. This category of prohibited behavior includes a range of actions, from over-billing patients to altering medical records or even falsifying credentials.
- Unprofessional conduct. This is a broad misconduct category that can include everything from sexual misconduct to a patient to disruptive office behavior or violating patient confidentiality.
- Improper prescribing actions. Any action that strays from prescription best practices, such as over-prescribing medications or prescribing substances without legitimate medical rationale, could impact a physician's license.
- Failure to invest in ongoing education. The Michigan Board of Medicine takes its CMEs seriously! If you do not meet your mandated CME requirements, the Board could decide to take action against you and your license.
If someone — a patient, a colleague, or anyone else — contacts the Board with information insinuating that you could be involved with one of these actions, that could trigger Michigan's disciplinary process.
What is the Michigan Board of Medicine Investigative and Disciplinary Process Like?
Once a complaint against a Michigan physician makes it to the Michigan Board of Medicine, several things will happen (and they'll happen more quickly than you may think). It's very important to get ahead of the investigation that will follow a complaint. Often, people make up their minds about a physician's responsibility for an alleged action very early on — as early as that initial investigation. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you position yourself throughout that investigation as strategically as possible to help you work toward a successful resolution.
As soon as you are aware that this process is underway, reach out to our team. Here's what to expect:
- A preliminary review of the complaint. LARA and the Board will determine whether the complaint merits further review. Not every complaint will get a full investigation. There is a chance that your complaint will be thrown out at this time.
- A formal investigation. If the Board decides that it wants to learn more, it will initiate an investigation. Board investigators will work along with medical experts to gather evidence, evaluate records, and interview witnesses.
- A review of the results. Once the investigation is complete, the Board will review the information and determine how to move forward. Sometimes, at this stage, the complaint gets thrown out. In other cases, the Board may decide to recommend some form of serious but non-license-threatening discipline, such as a formal warning or a requirement for CME. In still other cases, the Board may decide to request your presence at a formal hearing to discuss potential outcomes, if the situation seems to warrant it.
- A recommendation for further actions. The types of outcomes possible include dismissal of the complaint, a warning or administrative complaint, a consent order (which will involve stipulations for the physician going forward, such as additional training, but shouldn't impact licensure), and license suspension or revocation.
- An appeal—or two. If you don't agree with the Board's assessment, it may be time to formally ask them to reconsider their position or your disciplinary recommendations.
Appealing to the Board isn't as easy as simply clicking a link and noting your concerns. You'll need to compile a new argument in your defense, preferably with new information (and on a surprisingly short deadline).
How Does the Michigan Board of Medicine Appeals Process Work?
If you're facing disciplinary action from the Michigan Board of Medicine, you don't necessarily just have to accept your sanction and move on.
In fact, you shouldn't — especially if the sanction has to do with your license. Losing your license for even a short period of time can impact your entire professional future (not to mention your ability to earn a living now, which would disrupt your finances and could cause you to go into debt or lose significant aspects of your lifestyle).
For Michigan physicians who don't plan to take their license-related discipline lying down, there is an alternative: Appealing. Here are the various steps involved with submitting a successful Michigan license suspension appeal:
- Notify the Board of your decision to appeal. Once the Board issues its final decision, you'll need to let them know that you plan to initiate an appeal. This notification could be a simple letter, or the notification could be wrapped in the broader appeal document itself.
- Issue a request for reconsideration. You'll need to ask the Board to reconsider its decision. The deadline for this request will likely be within a few days of the Board's decision.
- File your formal appeal documentation. Our attorneys can help you determine the strongest possible basis for your appeal, create a persuasive argument, write it up concisely, and ensure that you're filing all the required materials for a legitimate appeal in a timely manner.
- Review of your appeal. The Board will review your appeal materials and decide to either double down on its initial decision or issue updated recommendations.
- Escalation. If the Michigan Board of Medicine denies your appeal, that's not the end of the road. You can decide to escalate your appeal to your local Circuit Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals, or even the Michigan Supreme Court.
As you may expect, working with these higher courts and governing bodies comes with a lot of paperwork, logistics, and stress — but it may be a good idea to get you the outcome you deserve. At the Lento Law Firm, we'll always pursue strategic negotiations first, but if the situation calls for escalation, we will do whatever is necessary for your case.
Why You Need a Physician License Defense Attorney in Michigan
Navigating Michigan's medical licensure laws can be daunting. There is a lot of complex language to consider. You'll be stressed and overwhelmed.
And that's far from the only reason you'll need the assistance of the Professional License Defense Team from the Lento Law Firm. The Michigan Board of Medicine has immense resources at its disposal. If it wants to investigate and prosecute you at length, it can — no question.
You're going to need something to level the playing field. The top-tier legal talent at the Lento Law Firm is that something.
It's also important to realize that the standards for disciplinary action in Michigan are a little different than you might expect. To sanction you, the Michigan Board of Medicine doesn't need to prove the allegations against you beyond a reasonable doubt; it simply needs to show that it's more likely than not that you committed the relevant offenses.
This is a much easier threshold to hit and increases the likelihood that you're going to be found responsible. You'll need the defense of the attorneys on the Lento Law Firm Team to avoid risking losing in the face of this lower standard.
Defending Your Medical Legacy: How We Can Help You Safeguard Your License
Our team has many ways of helping you protect your future. After you retain our services, we'll work meticulously to:
- Engage proactively with Michigan officials on your behalf
- Initiate and navigate sensitive negotiations with finesse
- Compile robust evidence to support your case
- Champion your cause and advocate fervently on your behalf
- Assist with any appeals as needed
- …and more!
We are pleased to support physicians living and practicing in the following cities and metro areas throughout Michigan (along with any others): Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Dearborn, Livonia, and Troy.
Additionally, if you work at any of the following Michigan hospital centers, please feel free to reach out: University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor), Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak, Spectrum Health-Butterworth and Blodgett Campuses (Grand Rapids), and Ascension St. John Hospital (Detroit).
Your License Defense Team for Michigan Physician Charges
No matter where in Michigan you practice, your medical license is a symbol of your expertise and commitment to community and patient care. You worked hard for that license, and you should be able to enjoy the benefits of having that license for years to come.
If something happens to impact your license, the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is ready to assist. Retain the services of our team today, and we'll be ready to support you as you face your allegations and work toward a favorable outcome. Call us today at 888.535.3686, or tell us about your case by filling out this brief form.