9 tips for responding to medical board complaints

November 18, 2019
Ike Devji, JD

A medical board complaint can be just as serious as a malpractice lawsuit. A defense attorney advises on how to respond to medical board complaints, and we list some common mistakes physicians must avoid.

[Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series about medical board complaints. The first piece is available here.]

Our last discussion outlined the possible risks medical board complaints pose to your livelihood and reputation, pointed out medical malpractice insurance issues you must check on before you have a complaint and described the complaint processes standard to medical boards across the U.S.

For more detail on this representation, I spoke with my colleague, attorney David Williams with Davis Miles McGuire Gardner in Tempe, Ariz. Williams’ litigation practice includes defense in before a variety of medical, dental, and professional licensing boards.

The number of steps in the process, coupled with the need to respond and defend your license, indicate that it’s a good idea to be professionally represented by an attorney.

“While representation by an attorney is not required by any sate’s board, this is a complex process that requires you respond in a complete and timely way at each step. Missing a deadline can stop your defense cold and cost you dearly. Your responses need to be complete, and your ability to practice is at stake. Treat it as seriously as a med-mal lawsuit and make sure you are putting your best foot forward in those responses with a professional’s help."

David also warned against the temptation to save money by representing yourself if you are not adequately insured as I previously recommended you should be in our last discussion. “While you are likely highly skilled in your area of medical practice, that area is not the practice and interpretation of applicable law. Your counsel must navigate board regulations in a way that ensures your due process rights. Get help in ending this process as early as possible.”

Williams further emphasized the importance of stopping to take a breath and regroup if you get surprised with a complaint. “It’s important that you understand the possible steps the board can take in the process, how your responses fit into the larger context of those steps and the very specific timeframes and requirements of those responses. This is where I think professional representation makes the biggest difference."

Ike Devji, JD, has practiced law exclusively in the areas of asset protection, risk management, and wealth preservation for the last 16 years. He helps protect a national client base with more than $5 billion in personal assets, including several thousand physicians. He is a contributing author to multiple books for physicians and a frequent medical conference speaker and CME presenter.