You've worked hard to obtain and keep your physician license in Maryland. All the years of schooling, studying, training, and continuing education requirements—being a physician is a demanding profession. You don't want all the hard work you've put into getting and keeping your license to go to waste. If you fail to follow the Maryland Board of Physicians' rules, however, you just might end up losing your license.
When you are threatened by the medical board with disciplinary action, you may feel shocked or helpless. What are you supposed to do now? Can you defend yourself? Does an accusation of breaking the rules result in automatically losing your license? At the Lento Law Firm, we understand that you're probably full of questions and without answers. We can help.
Our team of Professional License Defense attorneys has helped physicians in Maryland and all over the country when they've been in trouble with their physician license. We'll be able to walk you through the disciplinary process, help you prepare for meetings or hearings with the Maryland Board of Physicians, and answer all of the questions you might have.
This guide to physician license defense issues can give you an idea of what to expect if you've been accused of violating the board's rules.
Maryland Board of Physicians License Proceedings
The Board of Physicians in Maryland can grant and renew licenses to physicians and medical professionals all over the state—but it can suspend, revoke, or fail to renew licenses as well. The board can also assess a fine from you for up to $50,000. The board handles all complaints against physicians in Maryland using an administrative procedure, and you may end up at a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The board also maintains a database of all licensed medical practitioners in Maryland, which anyone can use to look up the status of a physician's license. When the Maryland Board of Physicians receives a complaint from a patient or anyone else, it investigates to see if it has merit. Although the board can take a wide range of actions against you, it can't help a private individual file a lawsuit against you and ask for damages.
Many Maryland physicians have struggled to come back from a formal complaint to the board. Even if the report gets dismissed, it can still shake your confidence in your professional abilities or make you feel paranoid whenever you're dealing with patients. As soon as you learn there is a formal complaint against you, you should consider contacting a Professional License Defense Team like the Lento Law Firm.
Confidence in Your Defense of Maryland Physician Charges
Before you were slapped with disciplinary charges, you were likely confident in your ability to do your job. Now that the Maryland Board of Physicians has called your competence, professionalism, or behavior into question, you may no longer feel assured of yourself.
We at the Lento Law Firm want to let you know that you should still be confident in your abilities as a physician. You shouldn't let doubts creep in because of one complaint to the board. It doesn't automatically make you a bad physician. If you want to stand up for yourself and defend against this accusation, you'll need confidence. If you don't believe in yourself, you'll have trouble convincing the board that you shouldn't receive any penalties.
Having an experienced Professional License Defense Team at your side can help too. We assist physicians and medical professionals in negotiating with their state boards to prevent the loss of licensure. We can guide you and support you every step of the way.
Don't start panicking when you receive notice of a license disciplinary offense—call the Lento Law Firm instead.
Valuing Your Maryland Physician's License
What is your Maryland Physician License worth to you? Sure, it's required to do your job, but how much time and money did you spend to get it? It's not just about financial value, either. It's about personal and professional self-fulfillment. Your license has immense importance for you professionally, but it also probably satisfies you on a personal level to be able to practice medicine.
If you have a family and your job as a physician supports them, then your license has value for them too. Think about your patients and the care they receive from you; they probably care a great deal about your medical license as well.
You have to fully appreciate what your license means to you and the people in your life if you want to defend it properly. You have a lot at stake here. You shouldn't just give it up at the first sign of trouble. Fight for what's yours and what you worked so hard to earn. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help you do it.
Maryland Board of Physicians Rules and Standards
The Maryland Board of Physicians is in charge of licensure for all of the state's physicians, from Baltimore to Germantown to Silver Spring. The board is responsible for issuing new licenses to students who've finished medical school, and it oversees license renewal. It deals with license issues for physicians who move to Maryland from out-of-state and Maryland physicians who relocate to another state.
The Maryland Board of Physicians spends the most time and resources on discipline. In fact, discipline is one of the primary functions of most state medical boards, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB): “Boards have the responsibility of determining when a physician's professional misconduct or ability to practice medicine warrants modification, suspension, or revocations of a license to practice medicine.”
As a licensed physician in Maryland, you need to be aware of your state board's rules and policies concerning discipline and licensure. You should know what sorts of actions could land you in trouble (even unintentional actions). You should also learn the ins and outs of the disciplinary process and what the potential consequences are if you're found responsible for a violation.
The team of Professional License Defense attorneys at the Lento Law Firm can help you if your license is at risk. We're familiar with both state administrative law and the board's rules concerning licensure and discipline, so we can defend you if you're in trouble. We're able to handle your Maryland physician license defense case, no matter how complex it is.
Which Actions Put Your Maryland Physician License at Risk?
The Maryland Board of Physicians receives and investigates complaints on a range of issues. More serious offenses that could result in restrictions or revocation of your license include:
- Misuse of alcohol and drugs
- Sexual contact with patients
- Conviction of a criminal act
- Prescribing addictive drugs without a bona fide medication indication
- Accepting money or other favors in return for patient referrals
- Practicing without a license or helping others to do so
- Providing substandard care
These offenses are some of the most serious that the Maryland Board deals with. You may also face disciplinary action for lesser violations, such as unprofessional behavior or not complying with a Board investigation.
You Are Guaranteed Due Process
You're probably feeling apprehensive or even nervous about your license disciplinary issue. Remember that you are guaranteed due process, meaning that you have rights during this proceeding, and the Medical Board must uphold them. You have both liberty and property interest in your physician's license, and the board cannot simply take it away without granting you due process.
Among other rights, due process means that you must have reasonable notice of your hearing and that you must have the chance to defend yourself from the charges against you. If you have a legal team like the Lento Law Firm to help you, you have nothing to feel nervous about. We'll hold the board to account and help ensure that your due process rights are intact. You have the right to a fair and impartial investigation and adjudication process.
Medical Board Proceedings vs. Civil Court
In Maryland, physician license disciplinary matters are handled in administrative courts, not in civil or criminal ones. You might still have a hearing, but different rules apply. For the most part, a Physicians Board disciplinary matter is less formal than a civil or criminal case. The board will likely try to create a consent agreement with you to avoid having to do the hearing.
One thing that remains the same between Board proceedings and civil courts is the right to due process. If you're unsure what your due process rights are or how you'll secure them during your Maryland Medical Board disciplinary process, consider contacting an attorney.
Can You Defend the Charges Against You to Save Your Physician License?
You must be allowed a chance to defend yourself before the Maryland Board of Physicians can take your license away. The board takes each complaint about a licensed physician very seriously and thoroughly reviews and investigates each one.
The board also knows that physicians can be unfairly accused of wrongdoing. Many of the practicing medical professionals in Maryland are competent professionals who care for their patients up to and beyond the board's standards. The board doesn't automatically want to punish you—it wants to do what is in the best interest of public safety. It wants to hear your side of the story so it can make a reasonable decision.
To ensure you get the chance to stand up for yourself, consult with the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. We can help you create a solid argument in your favor.
How Does the Maryland Board of Physicians Receive Complaints?
The board can receive complaints in several ways. The primary way is through consumer complaints, which lets anyone download the complaint form and send it to the board for review. According to the board's website, the complaint process can take a few weeks to resolve if it's a minor complaint. If the report necessitates a full review, however, it can take longer.
In addition to consumer complaints, Maryland law also states that complaints about physicians can come from the following:
- A malpractice claim
- Report from a hospital
- Law enforcement report
- Report from another country, state, or jurisdiction of the U.S. armed services
- Report from another federal or state agency
- Media publications
- Statements on applications for licensure, renewal, or reinstatement
- Other information from another source that warrants investigation
The Maryland Board of Physicians employs full-time investigators who thoroughly review every complaint. They have to find enough evidence to charge a licensee with a violation of the Medical Practices Act for the case to move forward. Otherwise, it gets dismissed. If the investigators find enough evidence to charge you, they will notify you and set a date for a formal administrative hearing.
Until you're called to a hearing, you most likely will not know about a complaint against you as a physician. The board is not obligated to tell you. Even so, you should consider hiring a team of Professional License Defense attorneys as soon as you suspect you might be under scrutiny. The sooner you can work on building a case to defend yourself, the better.
What's the Process for Maryland Board of Physicians Disciplinary Proceedings?
The process for disciplinary violations of the Medical Practices Act is long and complex. It can be challenging to know how to prepare or even what to expect if you've never experienced an administrative procedure like this one before. The process is broken up into five parts:
- Complaint and investigation
- Prehearing proceedings
Complaint and Investigation
When the Maryland Board of Physicians receives a complaint about a physician, it assigns a disciplinary panel to do a preliminary investigation. The panel can order further investigation, refer it to peer review, or close it.
If the complaint gets sent to peer review, one or two other physicians will review the complaint to determine if there was a violation concerning the standard of care or the keeping of medical records. The peer reviewers can send a report to the accused physician if they believe the report has merit, and the physician can respond within 10 days.
After the peer review is over, the disciplinary panel can do one of the following:
- Close the complaint without charges
- Issue a nonpublic advisory letter
- Request a disposition agreement (if the physician has a substance abuse problem or mental, physical, or emotional condition that jeopardizes medical care)
- Vote to charge the physician with a violation
- Vote to deny administrative reinstatement
- Accept a license surrender
While the proceedings are ongoing, the board or disciplinary panel can suspend your license. They can also suspend your license before formally charging you with a violation. Once you receive the charges, you have 30 days to request a hearing to provide your side of the story. You also have the choice to meet with the Disciplinary Committee for Case Resolution (DCCR) to try and find a solution and avoid going to a formal hearing.
At the hearing and throughout the disciplinary process, you are allowed to have legal counsel represent you. The hearing takes place before an administrative law judge. You will be allowed to present evidence and arguments in your favor at the hearing. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide if you are responsible for a violation or not and submit a report to the disciplinary panel that's handling your case.
After receiving the judge's report from the hearing, the board's disciplinary panel issues a final order. The final order could be a sanction, such as a license revocation. It can also be a dismissal of the charges.
Once the final order has been issued, you can seek a judicial review of the panel's decision. The decision can be reversed or modified by the Board of Review. However, while the review is ongoing, the Maryland Board of Physicians' final order is still in effect. Also, the Maryland Board can counter-appeal a reversal or modification.
Physician License Penalties in Maryland
If you have an administrative hearing and are found responsible for a violation, the board or disciplinary panel from your hearing can issue a final order with a license penalty. These penalties include:
- Denying a license
- Consent order
- Surrender of license
- Denying reinstatement of a license
- Ordering to cease and desist the practice of medicine
Although some of these actions are more serious than others, any penalty on your physician's license can have negative repercussions.
Do You Need a Physician License Defense Attorney in Maryland?
Having a Professional License Defense Team of attorneys is crucial for securing a favorable outcome in your license disciplinary case for two reasons: you can level the playing field and better handle the lower standard of evidence.
Level the Playing Field
The Maryland Board of Physicians has a team of administrators whose job is to deal with disciplinary matters just like yours. They have a great deal of experience conducting investigations, reviewing complaints, and prosecuting Maryland physicians accused of wrongdoing. Going up against these administrators without any legal experience of your own wouldn't be wise. They'll know exactly what to do to implicate you and lead to penalties from the board. Hiring an attorney gives you access to professionals who are also experienced with physician license defense issues.
Lower Standard of Evidence
The standard of evidence for license disciplinary hearings with the Maryland Board of Physicians is lower than in a court of law. The prosecutors don't have to work as diligently to prove that you are responsible for a violation of the rules. You'll also have to ensure that the evidence you provide is rock-solid if you want to prove your innocence. An attorney who's dealt with physician license hearings before will know how to gather the right evidence for your case.
How a Physician License Defense Lawyer Can Help
If your Maryland physician's license is at risk, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help. We can speak to the board informally and try to reach an agreement before the case goes to a hearing. We can communicate with the board's representatives frequently to keep negotiations going and increase the chances of a more favorable agreement for you.
We can work toward getting your charges dismissed early so that the whole matter is done sooner. Our team of attorneys can work to make that happen by having conversations with the board and coming up with an agreement that both sides are happy with.
Our attorneys can also help you gather evidence and mitigating factors. Our goal is to prove that you aren't responsible for the accusations you're charged with or get a less severe penalty for you if you are found responsible. If you end up having a hearing, we can stand by your side as well. Your case may even go as far as appeals, and we'll gladly help you draft a clear and convincing appeal statement.
Areas We Serve in Maryland
At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team helps physicians throughout Maryland, including in:
- Silver Spring
- Ellicott City
- Glen Burnie
We help physicians who work or have worked for Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland Medical Center, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Holy Cross Hospital, MedStar, and any other medical facility in the state.
License Defense Legal Team for Maryland Physician Charges
No matter what your practice area is, you can face allegations of misconduct as a licensed physician in Maryland. These accusations can jeopardize your profession and your future. The Maryland Board of Physicians has many resources to use when building a case against you, so you need an experienced attorney by your side.
At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team will fight for you. We can help you protect the career you've worked so hard to build. Call 888-535-3686 or contact us online to book a consultation.