If you're one of the thousands of individuals holding a physician's license in South Carolina, one of the most important things to know as a licensed professional is what occurs when you face complaints or allegations of professional misconduct. Professional licenses aren't given out for nothing, and nor are they free. So, the potential for disciplinary action shouldn't be a surprise.
When the licensing board obtains knowledge of a complaint filed against you, it isn't something as causal as an email to inform you. It's essential to understand that the state's medical licensing board will initiate the following process:
- Knowledge of a complaint
- On-the-record interviews
- Determinations from the licensing board
- Informal resolutions
- Formal hearings
Above is the path toward potential disciplinary action against you. The implications of such sanctions are undoubtedly problematic for your professional reputation and the status of your hard-earned physician's license. Obtaining this license required years of dedication—sometimes more than a decade—and significant financial investment. You've worked hard to conduct yourself with the best care, compassion, and professionalism. Therefore, it can be unexpected when you learn that a complaint has been filed against you or that the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners is conducting an investigation into alleged wrongdoing.
Facing disciplinary proceedings can be daring for any licensed professional in the state. But since physicians hold the added responsibility of patient care and public well-being, it's even more stressful. Furthermore, obtaining a medical examiner's license in South Carolina is a substantial commitment, and it's crucial to approach safeguarding your license with the same level of determination.
In this critical situation, it is essential not to remain unprepared and risk losing everything you have worked so hard to achieve. Seeking the assistance of an experienced professional license defense attorney is of utmost importance. Given what's at stake—your license, career, and livelihood—you cannot afford to settle for an unqualified legal representative. You need proven advocacy with extensive experience defending licensed professionals against South Carolina license disciplinary proceedings.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team offers the best protection against disciplinary actions and the potential harm they may cause to individuals holding physicians' licenses in South Carolina. Our team will thoroughly evaluate your situation, assess the complaints or allegations involved, and provide recommendations to support the most favorable outcome possible. We represent physicians in various areas, including large metropolitan regions like Charleston, North Charleston, and Columbia, as well as smaller markets such as Greenville, Rock Hill, Mount Pleasant, and Summerville.
To improve your chances of retaining your license and preserving your reputation, don't hesitate to call 888-535-3686 or visit us online now to consult the best Professional License Defense Team in South Carolina.
South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners License Proceedings
Within the South Carolina Labor Licensing Regulation (SCLLR) agency, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners protects the public through the enforcement of their standards for medical licensure, following the law put in place by the state legislature. The 13-member Board also reviews all applications for potential physician licenses, granting or denying them.
The Medical Practice Act created an additional level of scrutiny for South Carolina physicians. Investigating matters that may lead to the suspension or termination of a physician's license and hearing those cases is the Board's Medical Disciplinary Commission (MDC), comprised of 35 physician members appointed by the Board and seven lay members appointed by the Governor.
Potential penalties involving a physician's license depend on the nature and seriousness of the alleged violation of rules and regulations. Nevertheless, any disciplinary action, including formal hearings conducted, will become part of the physician's record. The Board, SCLLR, and state health agency maintain an online licensure and disciplinary action report search platform that lists the standing and status of licensed physicians throughout South Carolina. Patients, other licensed physicians, and the public can search the database to determine if an individual has any sanctions or settlements levied against them.
The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners won't be reluctant to follow through with investigations that may lead to sanctions if it finds physicians responsible for misconduct. Unfortunately, many have suffered difficulties following disciplinary action. For instance, gaining employment elsewhere in the state will be challenging and may derail medical leadership plans down the road. If you are a licensed physician practicing in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, or anywhere in the Palmetto State and face disciplinary action from the Board, retain the Lento Law Firm's paramount Professional License Defense Team to help you devise a successful defense.
South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners Rules and Standards
South Carolina's Board of Medical Examiners licenses personnel in dozens of healthcare occupations in the state, from x-ray technicians and nursing assistants to counselors and radiologists. Nevertheless, each discipline, including physicians, has its own official guidance through specific rules and regulations. Therefore, you must understand all you can since they outline why the Board pursues various punitive measures.
You have acted as a confident medical professional performing your jobs and duties as a physician and a respected member of the healthcare community. Yet, rising allegations may have affected that confidence, so you begin to doubt your abilities. Uphold the same assurance you have as a physician in defending yourself against any alleged rule violations by having a skilled defense team effort for you.
For a comprehensive understanding of your rights according to the Board's guidelines and to devise the most effective strategy against any charges, enlisting the assistance of the Lento Law Firm's team is essential. Our team possesses extensive qualifications in dealing with South Carolina's physician licensure policies and procedures. No matter how intricate your situation may be, having an experienced license defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm by your side provides you with the highest probability of successfully defending your license and safeguarding your professional reputation.
What South Carolina Physician License Disciplinary Charges Mean
When you face disciplinary charges concerning your South Carolina physician license, it's crucial to understand that these charges do not automatically imply misconduct or jeopardize your license. Just like criminal or civil charges, disciplinary charges are merely allegations of misconduct. As a result, administrative officials will notify you of the charges, giving you the opportunity to present evidence, witness testimony, and relevant information to clear your name or minimize any potential consequences.
Seeking assistance from a license defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm can prove highly beneficial. They can help you gather and present the necessary evidence to completely exonerate you or mitigate any adverse effects on your career and future prospects. It's essential to remember that disciplinary charges and allegations are not definitive judgments, and a strong defense can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
While the Board treats allegations of wrongdoing against physicians with utmost seriousness, they also acknowledge that doctors may sometimes face unjust accusations or unfair induction into disciplinary proceedings. In South Carolina, the majority of physicians are competent and compassionate professionals who diligently fulfill their duties with excellence. However, that may not always be the case, and it's essential to be prepared.
The Nature of Allegations from the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners
It's understandable that you might be familiar with criminal or civil court proceedings, but administrative proceedings conducted by licensing boards could be new to you. While some similarities exist between these types of proceedings, there are significant differences. Notably, disciplinary charges brought by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners typically do not lead to court appearances. Instead, licensing board proceedings are handled administratively, following a unique set of rules and procedures, often in a less formal manner.
Furthermore, the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings differ from those of criminal or civil court cases. In administrative proceedings, the primary focus is on your physician license, and the potential risk is limited to its status, unlike criminal cases that may jeopardize your freedom or civil cases that may impact your finances.
What Allegations Put a South Carolina Physician License at Risk?
Any licensed professional in South Carolina—building contractors, electricians, teachers, and others—can face serious license disciplinary issues. But physicians face their own challenges specific to their area of expertise in the public healthcare sector. For instance, although South Carolina state law permits individuals over the age of 21 to consume and possess alcohol, drinking could be a reason why a physician's license will be called into question through various ethical standards. Therefore, the Board may adjudicate more personal matters than a court of law may, and the list of potential allegations that can merit misconduct or unprofessionalism charges is long, which includes but is not limited to:
- False reporting of physician or patient data
- Soliciting referrals for payment
- Overcharging for medical services
- Mental incompetency
- Abuse or neglect of patients, including sexual misconduct
- Failure to secure controlled substances
- Substance abuse, including alcohol consumption
- Unethical personal conduct outside of employment
- Frequent tardiness
- Failure to obtain informed consent
The Board has the authority to call into question something as minor as an unlocked medicine cabinet or the absence of a physician's signature on a patient's sign-out sheet, not to mention any individual complaint. The risk to your license is as significant as public responsibility is to your profession.
What Is the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners' Disciplinary Process?
Although you may approach the disciplinary process with troubling distress, you must remember that the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution requires that South Carolina —including the state's Board of Medical Examiners and MDC—give you due process. This means they must provide you with notice of the charges and offer you a fair opportunity for a hearing to defend yourself. But there could be instances of bias in any proceeding. And if you don't have the proper representation, you may become a victim of an institution protecting its reputation.
When you retain The Lento Law Firm's highly-qualified Professional License Defense Team, the disciplinary process is no longer a threat; it becomes your ally. Your Lento Law Firm license defense attorney will invoke the right you have to a fair and impartial investigatory and adjudicatory process and help you present the best defense. They will also ensure Board members follow the process outlined in their rules and regulations.
South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners Complaints and Informal Conferences
A complaint will trigger the grievance process for registered South Carolina physicians. Complaints may be filed by any individual or the administrator of the Board or director of the state health department "based upon information considered reliable." Complaints will include the following:
- Date of receipt
- Signature of the complainant, administrator, or director
- Identity of the accused
- A brief summary of the complaint
If an initial complaint doesn't demonstrate an allegation of misconduct, a Board investigation may not ensue. If it doesn't fulfill misconduct requirements after investigation, the complaint may be dismissed. During the investigation, the Board will provide a physician an opportunity to tell their side of the story during an informal conference. If an agreement between the accused and the Board is reached, it will be provided in writing, which may include proceeding with a formal hearing.
The moment you learn of a complaint against you, contact the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. Working with you, your Defense Team may supply the Board with information and evidence that can clear your name before the investigative process begins.
MDC Investigations and Hearings
Formal proceedings must be issued by the Office of General Counsel upon a finding by one or more physicians designated by the Board that probable cause exists to believe that professional misconduct may have been committed. Physicians must respond to a letter sent by the Office in 30 days for recognition of formal charges.
As mentioned before, the Medical Practice Act created a new avenue to manage disciplinary action. Formal hearings must be held by a panel of one lay member and up to three physician members of the MDC, none of which may reside or have a major part of their practice in the same county as the respondent.
If the panel finds that the charges in the formal complaint are not supported by the evidence or fail to merit taking disciplinary action or if they determine that the respondent is responsible for the misconduct in question, the panel will submit a report, including its recommendation as to its findings.
Upon consideration of the panel's report, the Board may:
- Refer the case back to the panel for a hearing
- Order a further hearing before the Board
- Proceed with the panel's findings
If the respondent disagrees with the Board or MDC's decision, they may have the option to appeal the decision in state court or higher. But first, physicians will have sanctions handed down against them.
Sanctions for South Carolina Physicians
The Board can only take formal disciplinary action after notice and an opportunity for a hearing. Nevertheless, while you look to defend yourself in a hearing, you will have to grapple with the following potential sanctions:
- Additional education requirements
- Compliance or consent order
- Civil penalties up to $25,000
- Practice limitations
- License revocation
Formal disciplinary actions will become a part of your license record indefinitely and are publicly available. Because of this, it's critical you get assistance before the process begins.
Why You Need a Physician License Defense Attorney in South Carolina
There are compelling reasons why seeking assistance from the Lento Law Firm and securing a highly qualified Professional License Defense Team is crucial when facing disciplinary charges from the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners.
Firstly, state agencies like the SCLLR, the South Carolina Department of Health, and the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners possess substantial resources, enabling them to conduct thorough investigations and prosecute alleged offenses. Their disciplinary officials and investigators are well-versed in handling physician discipline cases and know the most effective strategies to implicate and take action against physicians. To counterbalance this advantage, engaging a skilled and experienced defense team that can competently challenge the Board's actions and effectively protect your rights is imperative.
Secondly, adjudicatory processes like licensure investigations and hearings operate on a preponderance of the evidence standard rather than the reasonable doubt standard found in criminal cases. This means the Board and the investigative team only need to establish the likelihood that you are responsible for the rule violation. Without a seasoned defense team by your side, you risk being overpowered by the preponderance of evidence standard, leading to the potential loss of your license. Therefore, securing the services of an attorney becomes essential to level the playing field and give your defense the best chance at success.
How a Physician License Defense Attorney Can Help You in South Carolina
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team offers numerous benefits in helping you respond to complaints and allegations and defend your physician license. Your defense team can work with Board officials to informally present evidence and arguments in your defense.
You surely want to have your charges dismissed or abandoned early, and your attorney can assist with voluntary resolutions. They may also assist with appealing the Board's decision, whether the charges are informal or formal, or challenging any decisions the Board makes regarding your licensure.
Areas the Lento Law Firm Serves in South Carolina
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm represents clients throughout South Carolina, including physicians who practice in the following areas, including but not limited to:
- North Charleston
- Mount Pleasant
- Rock Hill
- Goose Creek
- Myrtle Beach
- Hilton Head Island
- Fort Mill
We represent physicians who worked at Aiken Regional Medical Center, AnMed Health Medical Center, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, Columbia VA, Grand Strand Medical Center, Lexington Medical Center, McLeod Regional Medical Center, MUSC Health System, Piedmont Medical Center, Prisma Health Baptist Hospital, Roper Hospital, Self Regional Healthcare, Spartanburg Medical Center, Trident Medical Center, or any medical facility in South Carolina.
License Defense Team for South Carolina Physician Charges
No matter your area of practice, as a licensed physician in South Carolina, you can face allegations of wrongdoing or formal accusations that may jeopardize your license, your livelihood, and your future. The SCLLR, South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, and MDC have substantial resources to investigate complaints it receives against physicians and discipline them. So, you need an experienced attorney to help you obtain the most favorable outcome.
Like hundreds of other physicians and licensed professionals across the US, you can trust the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to help you get the most favorable results possible. Call 888-535-3686 or go online now.