If you are a licensed physician in Texas who is facing disciplinary action by the Texas Medical Board, you are probably worried that the medical license and career you worked so hard to achieve may be at risk. Disciplinary proceedings can have serious consequences for any licensed professional, but physicians, in particular, have a lot at stake.
That's why you need an experienced legal team who is familiar with the ins and outs of the Texas physician disciplinary process. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team has years of experience successfully representing physicians in disciplinary proceedings throughout Texas.
We represent physicians all over the state, from larger metro areas like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio to smaller markets like Tyler, Waco, and Odessa. We are extremely knowledgeable about the complexities of the Texas physician disciplinary process and want to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
Overview of the Texas Medical Board's License Disciplinary Proceedings
Under Texas law, the practice of medicine is considered a "privilege." The Texas Medical Board is in charge of licensing, regulating, and disciplining physicians and exists to "protect the public interest."
The board oversees the entire complaint, the investigatory and disciplinary process of all physicians in the state – from Brownsville to El Paso, over to Amarillo, and everywhere in between – and establishes the rules and procedures for filing complaints, how complaints are investigated and resolved, and what form of discipline is appropriate under the circumstances.
Discipline varies from case to case but can include serious consequences such as license suspension and revocation that can jeopardize or even end your career.
Being involved in a state disciplinary proceeding can be devastating to your professional reputation. The board maintains a searchable online database where the public can find information about the status of physicians' licenses, in addition to any disciplinary or remedial action the board has taken against a physician's license.
The experienced attorneys on The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you understand and successfully navigate the physician disciplinary proceedings. We can help you craft a vigorous defense against the allegations against you and help you protect all that you worked so hard to achieve. We will help you preserve your standing among your colleagues, patients, and within your community.
Why You Need to Know the Texas Medical Board's Rules and Standards
It's crucial for Texas physicians to know the Texas Medical Board's rules and standards that govern your license. Not only does your livelihood depend on it on a day-to-day basis, but when you are facing disciplinary proceedings, this knowledge is even more critical.
Knowing the rules, what your rights are, what the process involves, and the potential consequences you face is critical to crafting an effective strategy that yields the best possible outcome for you.
You also need to know what your options are so that you can make informed decisions every step of the way and avoid mistakes that can cost you time, money, and, potentially, your medical license.
That's why it's critical for you to retain a legal team that is knowledgable about Texas physician license defense. The experienced attorneys on the Professional License Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm have years of experience representing Texas physicians before the Texas Medical Board. We can explain the rules and the ins and outs of the disciplinary process to you so you can make informed decisions that are in your best interest.
We can help you avoid costly pitfalls that less knowledgeable or less experienced attorneys who don't regularly handle Texas physician license defense cases are vulnerable to making. Don't trust your career and livelihood to anyone else.
You Should Have Confidence in Your Texas Physician Disciplinary Defense
Being knowledgeable about the Texas physician disciplinary rules and standards goes a long way toward giving you the confidence you need to endure the stressful process. But having a knowledgeable, experienced legal defense team at your side will boost your confidence even further and give you peace of mind that you will successfully navigate the process and achieve the best possible outcome for yourself.
An experienced, knowledgeable, professional license defense team who knows the intricacies of the Texas Medical Board's disciplinary proceedings can help ensure that you are on track throughout the process and help you avoid making costly mistakes.
From the initial complaint through the investigation and up to the board's determination, the experienced Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will be there for you every step of the way.
We will advise you on all matters, such as how to respond to Board inquiries, how to ensure that responses are timely, how to provide requested documentation and more.
Being confident that you are following the rules and not making mistakes that can cost you your livelihood and career will go a long way toward successfully seeing the matter through to its conclusion.
The stakes are too high to entrust this matter to anyone but the Lento Law Firm – the best professional license defense team in Texas.
Value Your Texas Physician's License Enough to Vigorously Defend It
You worked long and hard for many years and very likely spent many thousands of dollars to acquire your Texas physician's license. You studied for and passed the Texas Medical Jurisprudence Exam. You spent countless hours building a reputation within the Texas medical community, establishing a rapport with your colleagues and patients, and earning a livelihood that supports a standard of living that you have earned and have grown accustomed to.
The potential of losing your license can wreak havoc on all that you have worked for and accomplished and leave you facing an uncertain future.
It's important to invest the time, effort, resources, and energy required to vigorously defend your license and protect everything you have worked so hard to achieve. This involves selecting the very best legal representation for this crucial matter, a team that is knowledgeable about Texas physician license defense law.
The Lento Law Firm has years of experience successfully representing physicians throughout Texas before the Texas Medical Board. We value your medical license and your right to vigorously defend it and have the skills and knowledge to effectively represent you at this critical time.
What Texas Physician License Disciplinary Charges Mean – and What They Don't Mean
Although it's stressful to find out that you are facing disciplinary charges, it's important to keep in mind that disciplinary charges are just that – charges.
Charges are allegations of misconduct. The Texas Medical Board will not implement any punishment based on charges alone, and you will not automatically lose your license or face any discipline merely because you are facing charges.
This is not to say, however, that this isn't an extremely serious matter that requires your immediate attention. The best thing you can do upon learning that you are facing disciplinary charges is to reach out to the Professional License Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm – the best physician license defense team in Texas. We can help you assess your situation and determine the best way forward.
Telling Your Side of the Story to Texas Medical Board Officials
In many cases, Texas physicians who face disciplinary charges are wrongfully accused of misconduct. It can be frustrating to have to deal with false or inaccurate allegations, and it's understandable to want to quickly and completely clear your name.
Fortunately, in Texas, accused physicians may be given an opportunity to respond early in the process during the board's preliminary investigation into the allegations against the physician. The response must be submitted within the time frame and in the manner described by the board in its request.
The experienced attorneys at The Lento Law Firm can help wrongfully accused Texas physicians craft an effective response to the allegations against them and ensure that they get to tell their side of the story.
The Nature of Texas Medical Board Disciplinary Charges
It's important to understand that Texas Medical Board disciplinary charges are not criminal law charges. They are administrative matters that follow specific rules established by the Texas Medical Board and the Texas legislature.
Physicians who are accused of misconduct by the Texas Medical Board do not face potential criminal penalties and will not have to appear in court, but they do face potential administrative penalties and consequences that can drastically affect their licenses, their ability to practice medicine, and their ability to earn a living. In short, the board can't put a physician in jail but can revoke their medical license.
Because Texas physician license defense matters follow a specific set of rules and procedures, and the stakes of the outcome are so high, it's crucial to work with an experienced Texas physician license defense team like The Lento Law Firm to ensure that your rights are fully enforced.
Allegations That Can Put a Texas Physician's License at Risk
There are many allegations that can put a Texas physician's license at risk. Generally, the Texas Medical Board will investigate a physician who is accused of engaging in any behavior that is "inconsistent with public health and welfare," This can include:
- Failure to treat a patient according to the generally accepted standard of care
- Negligence in performing medical services
- Inappropriately prescribing drugs
- Engaging in inappropriate relationships with patients or staff
- Having mental health or substance abuse issues that prevent the safe practice of medicine
- Using false or misleading advertising
- Entering into inappropriate financial arrangements with patients
- Violating patient confidentiality
- Violating physician-patient boundaries
- Improper billing practices
- Engaging in sexual contact with a patient
- Making sexually inappropriate comments to a patient
- Behaving in a disruptive manner that interferes with or adversely affects patient care
It's important to know that this list is not exhaustive; the Texas Medical Board's job is to protect the public, and it, therefore, has broad authority to determine what allegations it will investigate.
What Is the Texas Medical Board's Disciplinary Process?
In Texas, the physician disciplinary process begins when the Texas Medical Board receives a complaint from someone – such as a patient, physician, patient family member, or health care professional – about a physician.
If the board decides to act on the complaint, what follows next is a preliminary evaluation, which is followed by investigations. Then there is an informal settlement conference, followed by an administrative hearing, and finally, a Board decision.
At every stage of the disciplinary proceedings, the board must provide the accused physician with due process, including ample notice and an opportunity to respond, including the opportunity to present evidence that refutes the allegations. There are deadlines throughout the process that can't be missed, and you must satisfy all of the board's requirements and requests in order to mount a successful defense.
An attorney can be present at any Texas physician disciplinary hearing and also can advise you throughout the process. It's in your best interest to contact The Lento Law Firm's experienced Professional License Defense Team to help guide you every step of the way.
Texas Medical Board Complaints
The Texas Medical Board receives over 9,000 complaints each year. When it receives a complaint, the board determines whether the complaint falls within its jurisdiction by determining whether it pertains to a Texas-licensed physician and whether it alleges a violation of the state's Medical Practice Act.
If the complaint falls within the board's jurisdiction, within the next 45 days, the board will conduct its initial review – a preliminary investigation in which they determine whether there is evidence to support the allegations that a violation has occurred. The board may contact the accused physician during this time and give them an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
The Lento Law Firm can provide valuable assistance at this stage of the process. We can help you craft an effective response that yields the best possible outcome for you.
Texas Medical Board Investigations
If the board determines that there is probable cause to believe that a violation occurred and the matter warrants further investigation, the complaint will be officially filed, and an official investigation will begin. The board will notify the accused physician of the allegations and give them an opportunity to respond.
The physician, now referred to at this stage of the process as "the respondent," can produce evidence in defense of their position. The board may also obtain information from other sources, including hospital records and statements from witnesses.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the board will determine whether to refer the matter to the disciplinary process review committee, forward it to the Litigation Section for further action, send it to a Quality Assurance Panel – which may request that an additional investigation be conducted, or offer the physician a non-disciplinary remedial plan, such as the Texas Physician Health Program.
To ensure that you present the most compelling defense possible during the investigation, you need a strong legal team at your side. The Lento Law Firm can help you manage all aspects of the investigation. We can advise you on how to respond to the board's requests and submit documentation and help you make sure that you don't miss any critical deadlines.
Texas Medical Board Informal Settlement Conference
When a case moves forward to the Litigation Section, an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) proceeding is scheduled. It is an informal forum that gives the accused physician the opportunity to show that they are in compliance with the Texas Medical Practice Act.
A panel, usually consisting of a Medical Board member and a member of the public, runs the ISC. If the panel determines that the physician did not violate the Texas Medical Practice Act, they will refer the case to the medical board's disciplinary process review committee for potential dismissal.
If the panel determines the physician committed a violation, they may offer a settlement that states the sanctions and terms of the settlement or a remedial plan if appropriate under the circumstances.
It's critical to know that approximately 90 percent of all Texas Medical Board actions are resolved through the ISC process. Retaining the experienced Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense team is the best way to ensure that you obtain the most favorable settlement possible.
Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings
If the case isn't resolved at the ISC or at an earlier point in the process, the case will be assigned to a Texas Medical Board staff attorney. The attorney will handle the matter at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). At this point in the process, the case is considered a formal complaint.
An Administrative Law Judge at SOAH will hear the case and then present a decision proposal to the Texas Medical Board. The board will then issue an order either dismissing the case or imposing sanctions on the physician.
Needless to say, this is a critical point in the process that can have devastating and long-lasting effects on your career and livelihood. Your best chance of obtaining the best possible outcome at the Administrative Hearings is to have the experienced Lento Law Firm team advising you every step of the way.
Legal Actions the Texas Medical Board Can Take
The Texas Medical Board has broad authority to discipline and punish physicians who engage in acts of professional misconduct. For example, the board can:
- Revoke a physician's license
- Suspend a physician's license
- Place a physician on probation
- Issue a public reprimand against a physician
- Restrict or limit a physician's ability to practice medicine
- Require a physician to submit to counseling or treatment, such as the Texas Physician Health Program
- Require a physician to participate in a continuing education program
- Require a physician to be monitored by another physician
- Issue an administrative penalty against a physician
- Require a physician to submit to drug tests
In determining the appropriate punishment, the board will refer to disciplinary sanction guidelines that allow the board to take into consideration aggravating or mitigating factors, such as whether the violation is a first offense, whether the misconduct pertains to patient care, or whether the misconduct involves substance abuse or criminal conduct.
The knowledgeable Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law firm can help you understand the implications of the potential consequences you face during the Texas physician disciplinary process. We can also advise you about potential alternative, non-disciplinary programs available to Texas physicians.
Appeals of Texas Medical Board Disciplinary Orders
A physician has 30 days to appeal the Texas Medical Board's final decision to impose sanctions and must file the appeal at a Travis County District Court.
While the appeal is pending, the board's disciplinary order remains in effect unless it is temporarily put on hold or "stayed." The Lento Law firm can help you determine whether this would be a viable option in the circumstances of your case and what other options are available to you at this juncture.
Why You Need a Physician License Defense Attorney in Texas
Facing physician license disciplinary charges in Texas is a stressful and overwhelming experience that can be daunting to even the most seasoned physician. Your livelihood and professional reputation are on the line. The stakes couldn't be higher.
It can be extremely difficult to successfully manage your medical practice while also giving the appropriate amount of time and attention needed to vigorously defend yourself against misconduct allegations. The Texas Medical Board has extensive staff and access to resources that a single physician simply doesn't have.
You are also probably unfamiliar with the rules and nuances of the Texas physician disciplinary process and therefore risk making mistakes that can cost you your license.
With so much riding on the outcome, working with the experienced Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will give you the best chance of achieving the most favorable outcome possible.
How a Physician License Defense Attorney Can Help You in Texas
A knowledgeable, experienced legal team can give you much-needed peace of mind during this stressful time. The Lento Law Firm has years of experience representing attorneys throughout Texas before the Texas Medical Board.
We can explain the process and complexities of the physician disciplinary proceedings to you and help you make good decisions at each stage of the process. We can help you prepare for hearings, craft effective responses, and advise you about the consequences of the decisions you make throughout the process.
We will use the knowledge and experience we have acquired through years of successfully representing Texas physicians in disciplinary matters to assess your case, advise you, and formulate and pursue the most vigorous defense possible.
Areas We Serve in Texas
The Lento Law Firm welcomes physician clients throughout the state of Texas. We can help you whether you live in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, Galveston, College Station, McAllen, Midland, Lubbock, Beaumont, or anywhere in between.
We can help you whether you work at a large urban hospital system or at a small, rural community practice. We welcome physician clients from Texas Medical Center, Methodist Hospital, Baylor University Medical Center, Covenant Medical Center, Hill Country Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital, and all other healthcare facilities throughout the state.
The Best License Defense Team for Texas Physicians Facing Disciplinary Charges
The Professional License Defense Team at The Lento Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help physicians throughout Texas vigorously defend themselves and protect their medical licenses, livelihoods, and careers
Whether you are a pediatrician, an orthopedic surgeon, a cardiologist, or a plastic surgeon facing disciplinary charges from the Texas Medical Board, you need and deserve to have the best legal team at your side.