As a licensed physician in Maine, you no doubt worked hard to get your medical license. You probably also put in a lot of time and effort in your career. Maintaining your license in Maine has strict requirements—and if you don't meet them, it could ruin everything you've worked for. It will likely come as a shock if you're charged with disciplinary action by the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine (also known as the Maine Medical Board).
When your Maine physician's license is in jeopardy, you may have no idea what to do. What happens if you get charged with misconduct or unprofessional behavior? Will there be a hearing? Do you get a chance to defend yourself? Is your license suspended automatically and if so, for how long? Your head is probably spinning with questions. At the Lento Law Firm, we have the answers.
Our team of Professional License Defense attorneys has helped physicians in Maine and all over the country deal with license issues. We can walk you through the process, help you prepare for any hearings or meetings with the Maine Medical Board, and provide the support you need during this stressful time.
We made this guide to license defense for physicians in Maine as a resource to help you understand the process and know what to expect.
Medical Board of Maine License Proceedings
The Maine Medical Board has the authority to issue licenses to physicians throughout the state—but it can also revoke and suspend licenses. The Board issues and renews several types of medical licenses, including MDs and PAs. State law allows the Board to “suspend or revoke a license” of a physician or physician's assistant and, in some cases, may do so without a hearing.
The Maine Medical Board keeps a database of all licensed physicians in the state, including the status of their licenses. Anyone, including your patients or potential employers, can check this database to see if your license has been revoked or suspended.
If the Board receives a complaint about you or hears that you've committed some kind of misconduct, it won't hesitate to launch its disciplinary procedures. Many physicians across the state of Maine have struggled a great deal after being accused of breaking the Board's rules.
As a physician practicing in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, or anywhere else in the state of Maine, you should take notification about disciplinary action from the Board seriously. As soon as you know that you have a formal complaint against you, consider contacting a Professional License Defense legal team like the Lento Law Firm.
Confidence in Your Defense of Maine Physician Charges
As a licensed physician, you were probably confident in your ability to do your job. Once you were accused of wrongdoing, however, that confidence may have been shaken.
You shouldn't doubt yourself and let the complaint against you convince you you're a bad physician. You should approach the disciplinary process with the same confidence you had in your job. You'll need it to stand up for yourself adequately. Having an experienced attorney can help, too. You can put your faith in the Lento Law Firm, as we have the experience needed to deal with your license issue.
When you receive the disciplinary charges, don't simply ignore them and hope they go away—they won't. Instead, hire a competent team of Professional License Defense attorneys.
Valuing Your Maine Physician's License
To properly defend yourself against disciplinary charges from the Maine Medical Board, you must understand the value of your physician's license. It plays a central role in your professional life. If you don't appreciate the importance this license has for you, your family, your employer, and your patients, you may not feel willing to put in the time and effort to defend it.
You poured considerable time and hard work into obtaining your education and getting that license. You probably chose to practice medicine because you wanted to help people. You worked hard to build a good professional reputation. Your physician's license isn't just a formality you need to do your job. It provides you with financial, personal, and professional fulfillment. You should be willing to fight for it.
At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense attorneys can help you protect your investment. Holding on to your Maine physician's license means holding on to the life you've built, and we're ready to help you defend it.
Maine Medical Board Rules and Standards
The Maine Medical Board oversees and regulates the licensure of all physicians and physician's assistants in the state of Maine, from Portland and Lewiston to Bangor and South Portland. It's responsible for issuing and renewing licenses, as well as investigating complaints. Maine state law gives the Board the authority to revoke or suspend licenses or to put licensees on probation. The Board has also adopted its own policies and guidelines to supplement the state statutes it must follow.
As a licensed physician in Maine, you need to be aware of the Board's rules as they affect you directly. You should know what kinds of actions could land you trouble, how the complaint process works, and what consequences the Board could impose on you if it finds you responsible for a violation.
At the Lento Law Firm, our team of Professional License Defense attorneys can help you if your license is at risk. We help physicians just like you all across Maine, so we're able to handle your case no matter the complexities.
What Actions Put Your Maine Physician License at Risk?
Maine state law allows the Medical Board to “refuse to issue, modify, restrict, suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the license of an individual” for the following:
- Fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining a license
- Misuse of alcohol, drugs, or other substances that endangers the health and safety of patients
- Professional diagnosis of mental or physical condition that endangers the health and safety of patients
- Helping someone who is not licensed by the Board practice medicine
- Incompetence (lacking knowledge, ability, or fitness to practice in the area you're licensed for)
- Unprofessional conduct (disruptive behavior that interferes with the delivery of care)
- Conviction of a crime that has one year or more of incarceration
- Conviction of a crime related to dishonesty or the practice of medicine
- Violating one of the Board's rules
- False or deceptive advertising
- Prescribing narcotics, hypnotics, or controlled substances for anything other than therapeutic purposes
- Failure to report another physician for addiction to alcohol, drugs, or mental illness
- Medical license disciplinary action in another state
- Continuing to practice medicine after a license expires or has been revoked or suspended
- Not complying with an order or agreement from the Board
- Failing to respond to a notification from the Board in a timely manner
The Board doesn't have any authority over licensed practitioners in other professions, only the licenses that it grants. It doesn't grant licenses for registered nurses, for example, so these rules don't apply to them.
It's important to know what could lead to disciplinary action from the Board because the list is long and not always straightforward. You may receive a complaint against you and notification from the Board about disciplinary action before you've realized you've done something wrong.
At the Lento Law Firm, our team has experience combing through state law, medical board guidelines, and other relevant policies. We can help ensure that the charges against you are legitimate and that the Board is following due process rules if it accuses you of misconduct.
You Are Guaranteed Due Process
It's normal to feel nervous or scared about your physician license disciplinary matter. Keep in mind, however, that you are guaranteed due process. The Maine Medical Board must give you reasonable notice of the charges and an opportunity to defend yourself at a hearing. The Board cannot strip you of the liberty and property interest you have in your physician license without granting you due process.
With the help of a Professional License Defense legal team like the attorneys at Lento Law Firm, the Maine Medical Board's disciplinary process is no longer something to be afraid of. Your attorneys can help ensure that you are granted the rights owed to you and that you receive a fair and impartial investigation and adjudication process.
Do Maine Medical Board Disciplinary Proceedings Go to Court?
You may know a little bit about how civil or criminal court proceedings work. License disciplinary actions aren't the same, however. The two processes are similar, but ultimately, the Board conducts administrative proceedings, not civil or criminal ones. It's unlikely that your case will go to court, but the Medical Board of Maine does refer some cases to District Court if they can't be resolved administratively.
Typically, the Board tries to reach a consent agreement with physicians who have committed wrongdoing. The process typically starts more informally than in a civil or criminal court of law. The parties involved also generally try to avoid going to an adjudicatory hearing if it's not absolutely necessary. If the case does make it to a hearing, the rules are slightly different than for a civil or criminal hearing.
You still have a right to due process during the license disciplinary process—that's one thing they have in common with civil and criminal law cases. If you're unsure how your proceeding will go or how to stand up for your due process rights, consider retaining a competent and experienced attorney.
Do Accused Physicians Get To Defend Themselves Before Giving up Their Licenses?
The Maine Medical Board takes professional conduct and ethics very seriously. All complaints against physicians and physician assistants are thoroughly reviewed and, if appropriate, investigated.
The Board also understands that physicians can be unjustly accused or unfairly implicated as well. Most medical professionals in Maine are competent and caring professionals who perform their jobs according to the Board's standards. For that reason, you are allowed to tell your side of the story if you get accused of misconduct. You deserve the chance to defend yourself and to have the Board listen. To ensure you get that chance, you can rely on the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team.
How the Medical Board of Maine Receives Complaints
For physicians in Maine, the license disciplinary process begins when there's a complaint. Anyone can file a complaint against a physician using the Maine Medical Board's online system. They can also write a letter and fill out a form and send it to the Board.
The Board reviews every complaint it receives and determines if an investigation is appropriate. You will also receive notification from the Board if a complaint has been filed against you, usually within 60 days of the complaint being filed. Once you receive the notice, you must respond within 30 days.
Your initial response to the Board is extremely important. They'll use it to determine if the complaint has any merit and if it's worth further investigation. Even at this early stage, it pays to have a Professional License Defense attorney on your side. They can help you draft this response and increase the chances of the Board dismissing the complaint.
How Medical Board of Maine Disciplinary Proceedings Work
Physician license disciplinary proceedings in Maine start with the complaint process. If the Board determines that the complaint has merit, it launches an investigation.
When the Board feels a complaint may have a factual basis, it can request and conduct an informal conference with the accused licensee. The Board must provide you, the licensee, with adequate time to prepare for the conference and let you know what the issues to be discussed are. At this conference, you can have two other individuals with you, including legal counsel. The Board cannot decide what action to take concerning your license until you've had the opportunity to speak. Also, the matter may end up going to a formal hearing later. You can ask that statements made at the conference not be included in the hearing.
Consent Agreement and Voluntary Surrender
If the conference proves to the Board that further action needs to be taken, it can offer you a consent agreement. You would have to agree to be on probation for a certain period of time and may have to agree to certain terms concerning your practice as a physician. These terms might include rehabilitation or education. If you are on probation, you won't lose your license.
The Board can also ask for voluntary surrender of your license. It's often temporary and includes criteria or stipulations you have to meet to have your license reinstated. You and the Board have to agree to the stipulations. While the voluntary surrender is ongoing, you do not have a license.
The final action the Board can take after an investigation is calling an adjudicatory hearing. Hearings are only for when the Board feels the wrongdoings are serious enough to merit a modification or nonrenewal of your license.
At the hearing, you are guaranteed by state law the right to defend yourself. The law states, “Every party shall have the right to present evidence and arguments on all issues, and at any hearing to call and examine witnesses and to make oral cross-examination of any person present and testifying.”
You can have a Professional License Defense attorney present with you at your hearing. They can represent you and examine witnesses for you. At the hearing, an assistant attorney general serves as prosecutor for the State.
Once the hearing is over, the Board determines if there's sufficient evidence to prove that you violated the Board's statutes or rules. If yes, then the Board will also decide on appropriate discipline. If not, the case is dismissed, and you receive a Letter of Guidance.
After the Board makes a decision at the adjudicatory hearing, you have the right to appeal if you don't agree. The Maine Medical Board doesn't make the appeal process explicit, and you may have to have an attorney assist you with the appeal.
Penalties From the Medical Board of Maine
If the investigation and hearing determine that you've committed wrongdoing and your appeal fails, the Maine Medical Board has the right to take disciplinary action against your physician license. These penalties include:
- Civil monetary penalty
- Additional medical education
- Probation with conditions
- License restrictions
- Loss or denial of license
These actions aren't the only disciplinary options the Board has, however. You can get a better idea of what kind of penalties licensed physicians can receive in Maine by reviewing the most recent list of adverse licensing decisions on the Board's website.
Do You Need a Physician License Defense Attorney in Maine?
Having a Professional License Defense Team of attorneys to help you with your physician license issue can increase the chances of a favorable outcome. The Maine Medical Board is a state agency, so it has a vast number of resources to help with investigations and prosecutions. The officials who will work on your disciplinary matter do so full-time; they have a great deal of experience. They'll know what to do to implicate you if you're in trouble with the Board. By hiring an attorney, you can level the playing field.
Having an attorney is also beneficial because the standard of evidence is lower for Maine Medical Board disciplinary proceedings. The Board doesn't have to work as hard to prove you committed the offense. You'll have to be sure the proof you provide for your innocence is solid. An attorney can help you build a solid defense and get the evidence you need.
How a Physician License Defense Attorney Can Help
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you in several ways if your license is in trouble. They can speak with the Board informally and try to reach an agreement so the case doesn't have to go to a hearing. They can keep the lines of communication open to increase the chances that you get a less harsh consent agreement.
The best solution you can hope for is getting your charges dismissed early, and your attorney can work toward that goal with you. They'll have the experience to conduct sensitive negotiations so both you and the Board end up with a solution you're satisfied with.
A lawyer can also help you gather evidence or mitigating factors that could help reduce the severity of disciplinary action against you. If the matter does go to an adjudicatory hearing and you have to appeal the Board's decision, your attorney can assist you in that situation as well.
Areas We Serve in Maine
At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team helps physicians across the state of Maine, including in the following areas:
- South Portland
Our team helps physicians who've worked for Maine Medical Center, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, Northern Light Mercy Hospital, Alfond Center for Health, and any other medical facility in Maine.
License Defense Team for Maine Physician Charges
No matter what your area of practice is, as a licensed physician in Maine you can face accusations of misconduct. These allegations can put your license at risk—which can jeopardize your livelihood and your future. The Maine Medical Board has a lot of resources at its disposal to investigate and adjudicate complaints against physicians. You need an experienced attorney by your side to help you defend your rights.