You’re reading this probably because you’re a physician and you received a letter from your state medical board. The letter is asking you to answer a few questions and it may not sound too intimidating but you are concerned. This is the exact point at which you need help because this is an official medical board investigation.
Or you were called by someone from the state medical board asking you a few questions about a particular situation or patient. Or someone showed up to your workplace and asked you a few benign-sounding questions.
Perhaps you are reading this because you’re already knee-deep in an ongoing investigation and are looking for medical board investigation help which your lawyer isn’t providing.
Anytime the state medical board asks you a question directed specifically at you, that’s an investigation. It may be done by another physician but almost always it’s done by one of their investigators.
The investigator is an ex-cop or someone with legal experience. They aren’t looking for the truth but trying to incriminate you so that they can build their case.
It’s no different from a surgeon looking for a reason to perform surgery on a patient. I don’t blame the investigator for being predatory, I blame the system for trying to criminalize medicine.
The most important step is to start shopping for an attorney at this point. But you won’t always get all of your questions answered. I know that because more and more of you show up on my site and ask me what to do.
The State Medical Board
The state medical board is not on your side. The state medical board is elected to represent the public. Their customers are the public and their budget comes from the public. The image of the state medical board is one of policing the medical profession.
The state medical board exists to oversee, control, and punish licensees. Remember this the next time you have any contact with them. Their investigators are trained to use anything you say against you.
By the time you were reported to the state medical board or somehow your name showed up there, you are guilty until proven otherwise.
The state medical board is fully unchecked when it comes to granting you a state medical license. Maybe you’ll undergo an investigation and maybe you’ll win and prevent a board action but they can still choose to not grand you a medical license or renew it.
This isn’t to say that they are unreasonable. But they will only accept one set of behavior. Anything that falls outside of this norm will be considered guilty behavior or behavior deserving punishment.
Initial Contact with an Investigator
You have to minimize your contact with an investigator. Many physicians get burnt here. They open up fully to the investigator and everything you revealed will be used against you.
In my case, the investigator asked me if I talked to my physician colleague the day I was at work. I said yes. Then he asked the same question in a different way to my buddy who said “No, I was seeing patients, I didn’t have a conversation with Dr. Mo.” The investigator used this to show that I was lying. They took a play on words to show to the board that I was lying.
Fortunately, their tactic didn’t work because the physician whom they interviewed was a friend. Still, they were able to instill doubt which is all that was needed to hang me.
You need a strategy when it comes to dealing with an investigator. Or, I should say, investigators – often it’s more than one person you’ll be dealing with.
The attorneys are in on it with the state medical boards. I know this is a terrible thing to say because many are genuinely trying to help us.
I am not saying here that the attorney isn’t trying to help you. But they also have to stay in the good graces of the state medical board. It’s their major bread and butter to be able to barter with the state medical boards.
Trust your attorney and be 150% honest with them. Don’t lie. Don’t leave anything out. Be vulnerable. Practice it, in fact, before you go to their office. They are going to ask you a lot of details.
But it won’t be enough for you to have an attorney because you still need a tactic. You need a strategy when it comes to dealing with all the entities. It’s not just the state medical board; you’ll have to deal with the insurance companies, board certification bodies, CMS, and maybe even the business bureau of your state.
If you think your attorney will help you with this stuff think again. You will have to quarterback a lot of the process yourself.
How to Keep Working
Nobody other than you is worried about your income. One of the tactics of the state medical board is to cripple your professional record to prevent you from being able to make money.
Your attorney won’t get in touch with you unless you pay $300 per hour. Rightfully so, that’s their profession. But you can’t get anyone to explain to you how to make money and how to keep earning during the investigation. Especially when you have been terminated from work or are on probation.
This part requires planning and strategizing. You need someone who understands the medical landscape to offer you options. This person should be by your side as a confidant and expert all the way.
Malpractice Insruance Cost Coverage
I have heard of some instances where the malpractice insurance will cover your medical board investigation. But most of the people I’ve talked to have not been able to use their malpractice insurance.
In fact, I contacted Kaiser Permanente when I had my investigation and said that I would like to be covered for my investigation. They replied to me with “It’s not in our best interest to cover the cost of your investigation.”
I get it. It never is in a business’s interest to pay for anything, really. But don’t they have an obligation to me? Maybe. Only a court would determine that. And they knew I wasn’t going to take them to court while I’m dealing with my own courts.
Medical Board Investigation Help
You looked online and found a few places where this is some vague information. Most of it is outdated and the rest is written by legal firms which are profiting from you being in legal trouble.
Many of these firms want to help and are offering the information to educate you. But they can only write so much because in the end they also need to represent you and don’t want to ruin their reputation.
So you landed on this site like many other doctors. I’ve heard so many stories from so many physicians. It’s heartbreaking to be victimized and bullied by the state medical boards.
Nobody deserves this kind of treatment even if you have done some things which would be categorized as terrible. We owe it to each other as civilized human beings to treat each other with respect, kindness, and patience.
I hope that you have already shared some information with close friends and family. You won’t get a lot of sympathies because even they will think you are guilty – why else would the state medical board be investigating you.
The kind of help I can offer you is to help you come up with an overall strategy:
- What should you narrative be?
- What are the potential down-the-line consequences?
- How can you do damange control?
- What is the outlook on your future?
- What can you do in the meantime for income?
- How lenient could the state medical board be if they wanted to?
- How high up the legal chain can you take your case?
- Where can you find better legal assistance?
- Who has your best interest in mind and who is not on your side?
- How do you deal with the other state medical boards?
The Good News
The good news is that all medical board investigations will eventually come to a close. You’ll suffer greatly during the investigation, especially if you feel like you’re all alone in it. But you’ll come out the other end stronger.
Even if you end up on probation or have a license suspension or have your medical license terminated, enough time will pass that this will become old history.
At some point, a new state or that same old state medical board will grant you a new license. You’ll continue working in healthcare in some form and you’ll forget all about it.
Remember that you aren’t alone. More and more physicians are getting investigated by their state medical board and more punishments are dished out than ever before.
Don’t be shy to ask for help with a medical board investigation. You might go through a couple of lawyers until you find someone who works well with you.
I would start by reaching out to groups like Medical Justice. These guys will definitely be on your side and their recommendations won’t be biased. This is the best first place to start for medical board investigation help.
My has tons of information which you can review for free. If you need to run your case by me I charge $300/hour. Nothing you tell me will be new because I’ve been doing this since 2015.
You can also reach out to your board certifying body, your residency, your hospital group, and Reddit groups like medicine.
Ask what advice they have for you based on your case and if they know reputable attorneys who can help you.
Some cases are best suited for criminal attorneys while other cases are best suited for attorneys with administrative health experience.
As a physician you are at a higher risk of disability than the average person. I’ve written about disability and what you need to do now – not once shit hits the fan but now – in order to prepare for any potential disability situation.
It isn’t likely that you will get disability for emotional issues, be aware of that. And you might have some disability through the state but hopefully, you are carrying your own disability insurance as long as you aren’t financially independent.
Many will assume that if they lost their job because of a medical board investigation or because they were fired they won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits. Not true.
Each case is different and there are appeals processes for such cases. You would also benefit from hiring an attorney for this which can be an incredible return on investment.
Here is a good resource to understand unemployment benefits. It will depend on your state so don’t dismiss this.