Retain the Lento Law Firm If Your License Is at Risk
As a medical doctor, you play a fundamental role in our society. The passport allowing you to exercise this role is your physician's license – a license you have strived for and must do everything possible to protect. If your medical license is called into question, it jeopardizes everything you have worked so incredibly hard for. And it affects your ability to protect public health and safety as you desire to do.
At the Lento Law Firm, we want to do everything we can to help you preserve your reputation, retain your livelihood, and protect your professional future. For help with licensing matters in MN, call our Professional License Defense Team at 888.535.3686 or leave us a message online.
Your Physician's License Matters
Before defending Board actions, you need to remember this: your license matters. You impact patients' lives in a positive way. You help to keep the public safe and healthy. And you deserve the chance to reach your full potential, even if you've made a mistake.
We know that your medical license matters. We know that you can make a difference and that you have the skills, competency, and commitment to thrive as a physician. And we also know that one mistake or misunderstanding should not jeopardize the rest of your professional future. Let us stand by your side and help you defend these allegations. Retain the services of the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm.
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice oversees physicians across the state. The Board is responsible for issuing, revoking, and suspending licenses, and handling complaints against physicians. Its mission is to “protect the public's health and safety by assuring that the people who practice medicine or as an allied health professional are competent, ethical practitioners with the necessary knowledge and skills appropriate to their title and role.”
Given the Board's jurisdiction and purpose, it readily acts against physicians, including suspending or revoking their medical licenses. The Board will use every tool at its disposal to regulate physicians in MN – you deserve an equally dedicated representative on your side, too.
Physician Rules and Procedures in Minnesota
Physicians in MN must abide by various rules, regulations, and codes of conduct. Many of these rules come from hospitals and other medical facilities, but at Board level, the Minnesota Medical Practice Act is the most significant.
The Practice Act empowers the Board to act against physicians, suspend or revoke licenses, and investigate complaints. The Board will not hesitate to rely on this Act and enforce its provisions. If you're unfamiliar with the Act, it can be overwhelming, which is why you need an attorney to represent you who understands how the Act works and how to ensure due process is followed.
Allegations and Complaints Which Jeopardize Your License
- Obtaining a medical license by fraud or cheating
- Certain felony convictions
- Medical license restrictions in other states
- Unethical behavior which demonstrates a lack of regard for patient care or public health
- Patient care that falls below a reasonable standard due to intoxication, use of drugs, or substance abuse
- Sexual misconduct
- Fee splitting
- Fraudulent or unauthorized prescribing
Your license can also be suspended for as simple a matter as failing to maintain an updated name and address with the Board. Given how wide the grounds for license revocation are, you need legal advice urgently if you're facing license issues.
Complaints and Investigations
Every licensing disciplinary action starts with a complaint. A member of the public – or a colleague – can report any concerns to the Board in MN. Once the Board receives a complaint, they're duty-bound to investigate it, even if it seems unfounded.
To conduct its investigations, the Board may take various actions, such as:
- ●Requesting patient records.
- Contacting other treating physicians involved in the case.
- Contacting the physician in question directly for a response.
Some allegations, such as serious sexual misconduct, could result in criminal charges and a more thorough investigation. However, in all cases, you must consult an experienced attorney immediately to give yourself the best chance of handling Board investigations.
Physician Licensing Proceedings in Minnesota
For most physicians, proceedings begin when they first receive notification from the Board of an “accusation”. Up until this point, you may have no knowledge of a complaint against you.
The accusation(s) must be set out in sufficient detail so that you can prepare a proper defense. And the notification should advise you of the date and time of your hearing. This allows you to instruct counsel and plan for your attendance. Hearings should be at least 20 days away to give you enough time to prepare. For the most part, hearings take place in St. Paul.
Once you receive notice of proceedings, you have two options: contest the allegations and attend the hearing or admit the allegations and seek a settlement agreement. You should not make any decision without consulting an attorney first – your professional future is at stake.
Physicians have the option of settling a case rather than proceeding to a hearing. A doctor may opt for a settlement if they wish to admit to certain charges, and negotiate the proposed sanctions, rather than fighting the allegations.
A settlement agreement is not right for everyone. And even if you pursue an agreement, the charges, and the decision to settle, will become a matter of public record.
Nature of Minnesota Medical Board Charges
Licensing board disciplinary actions are not criminal charges. You will not face prosecution for allegations of wrongdoing investigated by the Board. This means that you will not face criminal penalties, such as jail, community service, or probation. Such actions are not civil lawsuits, either. Meaning they're not heard in a court, and you won't face civil penalties.
Licensing board actions are administrative proceedings. Administrative proceedings aren't judicial, meaning they don't involve a judge. They're usually handled by government agencies or bodies (in this case, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice). In MN, administrative proceedings must follow the processes set out in the Minnesota Administrative Rules. The Rules are complex and are best navigated by an experienced attorney.
Just because licensing matters are administrative doesn't make them less serious than civil or criminal matters. Hearings may be less formal, but the outcome can significantly disrupt a physician's life. You must have a fair hearing and the chance to defend your license – retain an attorney for the advice and representation you deserve.
What License Disciplinary Charges Mean
Before attending any Board hearing, it's important you understand what the charges could mean.
First, remember that a complaint doesn't mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing. All that's happening is the Board will investigate the accusation and make a determination. It's important you cooperate, though – a failure to cooperate with the Board's requests could make matters worse.
Second, know that this is your opportunity to defend yourself. You will be notified of the charges against you, which gives you a chance to prepare and gather evidence. This may mean preparing to defend the charges in the hope they are dismissed completely. Or it could mean preparing to mitigate the potential punishments by explaining your side of the story.
In all cases, a notice of a license hearing, or accusations of wrongdoing or misconduct, are not determinations against you. The Board has not yet decided your fate or found you guilty. When you receive notice of a license hearing, act quickly by retaining counsel to improve your chances of having the complaint dismissed or the penalties lessened.
Minnesota Board of Medical Practice License Hearings
If you're contesting the allegations and your case proceeds to a formal hearing, it's important to know what to expect.
- Board hearings are held by at least six Board members.
- Physicians have various rights, including the right to present their own evidence, call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and rebut evidence.
- You have the right to legal representation rather than representing yourself.
It's possible, even at this stage, to dispose of the matter informally rather than proceeding to a formal administrative decision. Your attorney can negotiate with the Board and even present newly discovered evidence before the members issue their final decision.
- Your license cannot be suspended, revoked, or limited unless at least six Board members agree to this course of action.
- Decisions are issued in writing. They will set out the reasons for making the determinations and, where appropriate, state the imposed penalty.
- You can request that the Board sends the decision directly to your attorney so you may discuss it together.
The Board's decision is normally effective immediately, but they may grant a grace period of 30 days pending an appeal or reconsideration.
Defending Physician Licensing Issues in Minnesota
Although it may be tempting to ignore the accusations in the hope that they fade away, this is not a sound strategy. Instead, you need to focus on building a solid defense and challenging the allegations. How you may defend the accusations depends, of course, on the specific nature of the complaint. In some cases, it may be as simple as offering context or an explanation for perceived wrongdoing. In other cases, you may be able to demonstrate why the accusations are unfounded. But in all cases, you can rest assured that you have experienced counsel on your side if you retain our Professional License Defense Team.
At the Lento Law Firm, we will explain what options are available to you. We can suggest how you might defend your case based on the evidence available. Whether this means challenging the Board's evidence, presenting evidence on your behalf, or calling witnesses, we will walk you through how your case should progress from start to finish. No question is too insignificant for us to answer – we're here to help you through a complicated and emotionally fraught time. You deserve to have complete confidence in your defense strategy, and it's our mission to provide that reassurance.
Even if you decide that you wish to pursue a settlement agreement, there are still pitfalls to avoid. For example, it's important that you do not answer leading questions or accidentally incriminate yourself. Without effective legal representation, you risk falling foul of the Board's rules – which could lead to more serious disciplinary action.
Our attorneys will do everything possible to put your mind at rest by finding ways to mitigate the proposed disciplinary actions so you can return to work with minimal fuss or disruption. With the Lento Law Firm on your side, you can face any professional license issue with confidence.
Your Right to Tell Your Side of the Story
There's no doubt that the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice plays a key role in protecting public health and upholding safe, quality treatment standards. Any instances of wrongdoing, misconduct, or malpractice should, of course, be investigated.
However, there are always risks that accusations are false, exaggerated, or simply wrong. They could even be based on misunderstandings or innocent miscommunications. In all cases, you must have the opportunity to defend yourself and explain your side of the story. You must have the chance to present the facts to the best of your knowledge and protect your professional reputation.
At the Lento Law Firm, we're here to help you do just that. Our Professional License Defense Team can ensure that the Board upholds due process, treats you fairly, and gives you the opportunity to protect your license.
Outcome of Medical Practice License Hearings in Minnesota
Following a hearing, the Board may determine that a physician violated the Practice Act. Violating the Practice Act amounts to professional wrongdoing. The punishment the Board could impose depends on the violation and the nature of the wrongdoing. However, the Board has the power to impose one (or more) of the following punishments:
- Reprimand or censure
- License revocation
- License suspension
- Telehealth registration suspension or revocation
- Supervised clinical work
- Mandatory training
- Limited practice
- Mandatory provision of clinical services without pay
- Civil fines (up to $10,000 per violation)
The more serious the alleged violation, the more likely the Board is to revoke or suspend the physician's license. However, all disciplinary action is potentially serious.
Consequences of Licensing Disciplinary Issues
There are many consequences to disciplinary charges against physicians in MN. Given what's at stake, you must handle the matter efficiently and robustly defend the charges.
- Disciplinary action, such as license revocation or suspension, becomes part of your physician's record. The nature of the misconduct, and the action taken by the Board, are public data. This mark against you could make it harder to pursue promotional opportunities later in your career. It may also seriously affect your professional reputation with patients.
- Any disciplinary action could affect your relationship with colleagues. You may feel isolated from your team, and your confidence may be severely affected.
- Even if you can return to work, your confidence may be low. Low confidence could affect your ability to focus and work at your usual high standard. This could, ironically, lead to further complaints or disciplinary action.
- The mental and emotional strain of disciplinary action could jeopardize your relationship with family and friends.
- If you lose your license, you will be unable to practice medicine. This means losing your livelihood and financial stability.
Any allegation of wrongdoing must be taken seriously. The consequences of losing your license, or having it revoked even on a temporary basis, are too significant to ignore.
Appealing a Medical Board Decision in Minnesota
It may be possible to appeal a decision to suspend or revoke a physician's license in Minnesota. The only scenario where it may be difficult to appeal a decision to revoke a medical license is if the license is revoked due to the physician being convicted of a felony level sexual conduct offense. This includes, for example, rape or penetration of:
- A minor, and the perpetrator held a position of authority or trust over the victim.
- An individual with mental handicaps or significant physical disabilities.
- An individual by using force, a weapon, or threat of serious bodily harm.
Appeals must be made to the Board. If an appeal is successful, the license may be reinstated, although this is usually conditional upon complying with other disciplinary sanctions. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the Board's decision stands.
It may be possible to appeal to the local District Appellate Court or even a more senior court, such as the MN Supreme Court, depending on the facts of your case. You should not attempt to handle appeal proceedings on your own. If you require legal representation, call the Lento Law Firm to retain an experienced Professional License Defense attorney.
Why You Should Hire a Professional License Defense Attorney in Minnesota
When your professional license is at risk, your entire future is at stake. This is not a matter to take lightly – it must be handled effectively to ensure that you have the best chance at a favorable outcome.
- Licensing disciplinary action can be complex. Board officials understand the rules involved and have significant experience in following disciplinary procedures. Without your own legal representation, you risk being placed at a disadvantage almost immediately.
- The Board knows what is required to uphold complaints against physicians and suspend, limit, or revoke professional licenses. They understand how to meet evidentiary standards and prove that a physician committed the offense they stand accused of. Given the resources available to the Board, you need your own legal representatives to help you present the strongest possible evidence in your favor. Without an attorney on your side, you risk losing your case – and your license – without having a fair opportunity to defend yourself.
Your professional license is precious. An experienced attorney understands how to challenge Board officials, build a compelling case, and meet the required burden of proof in your favor. Even if disciplinary action seems inevitable, you deserve an attorney who will do everything possible to reduce the severity of the outcome based on the applicable laws.
How a Physician Licensing Defense Attorney in Minnesota Can Help
Ideally, licensing matters are resolved through communication. This could mean discussing the issue with Board officials, negotiating with their attorneys, and pursuing a voluntary, informal solution. An experienced attorney is best placed to handle such negotiations as they have a deep understanding of the applicable regulations and how they relate to your case.
In many cases, it may be possible to have the accusations dismissed. If this is not an option, we can aim to mitigate the punishment by presenting a compelling case and supporting evidence. To do this, we will help you gather the required evidence, identify mitigating factors in your favor, and establish what defenses may be open to you. If you're required to attend an administrative hearing, we will advocate on your behalf, and if necessary, we will help you appeal the Board's decision.
Areas in Minnesota We Serve at the Lento Law Firm
At the Lento Law Firm, we serve physicians across Minnesota, including:
- Brooklyn Park
- St. Paul
We represent physicians in all specialties who work in any medical facility, including Mayo Clinic, Abbott Northwestern, CentraCare, and Mercy Hospital. No matter whether you're a highly experienced physician or a new doctor just starting your career, our Professional License Defense Team is here for you.
Let Our License Defense Team Stand by Your Side
As a physician, you're committed to healing people and helping our most vulnerable through challenging times. But that doesn't mean you don't need support sometimes, too. A single complaint or formal accusation could jeopardize everything you've worked so hard for – your livelihood, your reputation, and your professional license.
Without your license, your future is on the line. At the Lento Law Firm, we know that you deserve a chance to defend yourself and secure the most favorable outcome possible. No matter the allegations, no matter how far the odds seem stacked against you, we're here to help. Remember, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice has a wealth of knowledge and resources at its disposal. Without legal representation from an experienced attorney, you're at a significant disadvantage.
Don't let an allegation or accusation of wrongdoing jeopardize your future in medicine. Hire attorneys who will stand by your side and fight to help you achieve a fair outcome. Contact the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3686. Or leave us a message online, and we will return to you promptly.