MDMentor has traditionally focused on helping physicians deal with the stress of malpractice litigation.
However, it is increasingly apparent that medical licensure board (MLB) investigation often compounds the stress of malpractice litigation, because most boards investigate physician licensees or applicants who report any history of malpractice litigation, regardless of outcome. This process can be even more stressful than the litigation itself, because all medical licensure boards are composed largely of physician peers, some of whom may even be competitors. At the very least, re-examination of long settled malpractice litigation can bring back memories of a traumatic experience. At worst, a MLB can essentially “re-try” a case, or limit licensure based on a case in which the justice system has exonerated a physician.
Furthermore, medical boards will consider and often pursue a wide variety of anonymous complaints by patients, colleagues, and employees that can be based on factors other than concern about a physician’s competence or public welfare. For example, complaints about physician dress, office staff attitudes, or differences of opinion regarding treatment options can be made to a medical licensure board, which has an obligation to investigate every concern.
Most alarming are reports that unverified claims of erratic behavior or potential impairing conditions, for example “alcohol on breath” may result, without adequate investigation as to their veracity, to referral of a physician to a physician health program (PHP) that may have the power, through its enforcement ties with a medical licensure board, to force physicians into intrusive “fitness for duty” evaluations and extraordinarily lengthy and expensive inpatient stays at out of state facilities. Failure to comply with such a PHP mandate often results in suspension or loss of licensure. See how this works at our sister site.
We are ready and willing to assist any physician who is being investigated by a medical licensure board or a physician health program to deal with the stress involved. We do not supply legal representation, but in some states may be able to assist physicians to find experienced counsel.
A group of physicians and others concerned about these issues is being convened at the Physician Advocacy Exchange (PHAX) group on Linked In. You are encouraged to visit that page and to join if you wish. Some of the materials shared there will also be listed here.