Each year, around 4,000 physicians face disciplinary proceedings by state medical licensing boards. These disciplinary proceedings may lead to a medical license restriction or suspension. It may be tempting for a physician to continue to practice medicine following the loss of a medical license, but it is not advisable. The time to fight for a medical license is prior to suspension or revocation.
State Medical Boards are the primary authority for licensing and disciplining doctors in most states. Some issues addressed by these Boards are minor, such as failure to pay a fee or complete paperwork. Other issues are more serious—such as misconduct with a patient or drug abuse. In more serious complaints, the Board may:
- Restrict the medical license (i.e., loss of prescribing privileges).
- Revoke the medical license.
- Suspend the license for a specific period or until the fulfillment of certain requirements.
- Monitor the physician through probation.
- Issue the physician a warning or letter of reprimand.
Practicing Medicine Without a License
After a medical license suspension or revocation, a physician is no longer a legal doctor and can face civil and criminal liability for practicing without a license. This practice may involve prescribing medication, diagnosing diseases, or otherwise treating patients as a doctor.
Many state laws provide for civil penalties for violations of medical licensure laws, and penalties can accrue daily or per violation. Additionally, a person treated by a doctor without a license may make a claim for professional malpractice.
In many states, it is a felony to practice medicine without a license. A felony conviction may involve prison time and large fines. If an individual practicing medicine without a license loses a patient through negligence, the state may charge that person under a manslaughter statute. Practicing medicine without a license is dangerous and expensive.
Effect of Loss of License in Another State
Doctors often have licenses in multiple states, and the loss or limitation of a license in one state may affect licensure in another state. Even though the license is not automatically suspended in other states, the physician may face professional misconduct charges based on the original state charge. A physician in this situation may face a sanction and surrender action – the board may ask the doctor to voluntarily surrender their medical license in another state.
License Defense Attorney
A license defense attorney can help protect your valuable professional reputation and your medical license. In many cases, a good license defense attorney can close investigations before formal charges are made by the Board. The time to act to protect a medical license is before a revocation or suspension.
Considering what is at stake, it is vital that a doctor facing serious accusations has experienced tough legal counsel. Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento has successfully defended many licensed professionals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Contact the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team at (888) 535-3686 today to discuss your case and your options or contact us online.