The best time for a physician to retain a medical license defense attorney is immediately upon learning that he or she is under investigation by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure or the State Medical Board of Ohio. A physician increases the odds of a favorable outcome by securing a medical license defense attorney at the outset of a medical board investigation.
As stated on our Medical Licensing and Defense page, the medical board disciplinary process generally begins with a complaint filed with the medical board from a patient, a family member of a patient, co-worker or business partner, pharmacy, hospital, employer, law enforcement, administrative agency, a former romantic interest or self-report.
Hospital actions, such as probation or suspension of privileges, criminal charges or convictions and malpractice claims can also trigger a medical board investigation by the Kentucky Board of Medical licensure or the State Medical Board of Ohio.
The physician is typically notified that his or her medical license is under investigation by the Kentucky or Ohio Medical Board via letter or phone call from a medical board investigator. Sometimes a physician learns of a medical board investigation when a board investigator shows up at his or her office to execute a subpoena for patient charts.
If the physician has retained a medical license defense attorney, the Kentucky or Ohio Medical Board is prohibited from directly questioning or communicating with the physician. Accordingly, for all the reasons set forth on our Medical Licensing Page (including working proactively to prevent an investigation from turning into litigation or formal discipline), it is imperative for a physician to hire a medical license defense attorney to defend a medical license in Kentucky or Ohio immediately upon learning that he or she is under investigation by the medical board.
The medical board investigator gathers evidence regarding the allegations by interviewing witnesses and obtaining records and other documentation. Once the investigation is complete, the information and evidence is provided to a medical board attorney for review. If the medical board determines that probable cause exists to believe the physician has committed a violation, it may issue a formal board complaint initiating litigation, an emergency order or suspension or restriction, or tender an offer of settlement.
If the Kentucky or Ohio medical board offers to settle the matter, you should consult with a medical license defense attorney before signing it. The agreement will be scrutinized by Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies, DEA licensing authorities, other licensing agencies and potentially by law enforcement. This can result in unanticipated consequences, such as exclusion from third party payor programs, restrictions on or loss of other state medical or professional licenses, loss of a DEA license or criminal charges. In addition, the medical board may forward disciplinary orders or consent decrees to the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Elder & Good attorneys have reviewed many proposed settlement agreements, often negotiating a more favorable agreement or candidly advising a physician to sign it. On those occasions, the physician has the peace of mind that he or she entered into a favorable agreement or, in the alternative, entered into the best agreement possible under the facts of the case. There are occasions when we may advise against signing an agreement. Each case is dependent on the individual facts and evidence of that case.
If the Kentucky or Ohio Medical Board files formal complaint initiating litigation against a medical license, a physician can request a formal disciplinary hearing on the matter. In the event the medical board believes that a physician’s medical practice is a threat to patients or the public, the Board may simultaneously impose an emergency restriction or suspension on a medical license. If that happens, the physician has a right to challenge the restriction or suspension by requesting a formal hearing to have the restriction or suspension overturned or modified until the final medical board hearing on the underlying complaint.
When a formal medical board complaint initiating litigation against a medical license is filed against a physician, Elder & Good attorneys file formal, written responses to each allegation as required by law. If a formal response is not filed on behalf of a physician to a medical board complaint in Kentucky or Ohio, the physician can forfeit the opportunity to defend his or her medical license. In that event, the Kentucky or Ohio Medical Board is free to discipline the physician in any manner it deems appropriate, including revocation or suspension of a medical license. Our attorneys will defend your Kentucky or Ohio medical license at every turn before the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure or the State Medical Board of Ohio.
Elder & Good lawyers also coordinate with the hearing officer to formulate a discovery schedule in order to ensure the physician has ample time to review all the evidence related to the particular case. Depending on the case, this may include obtaining copies of all patient charts at issue, witness statements, expert reports drafted by medical board consultants, KASPER and OARRS reports, pharmacy records, law enforcement records, incriminating letters, emails, text messages, photographs, audio or video tapes and any other relevant evidence.
Elder & Good attorneys also ensure that all pre-hearing deadlines are met in a timely manner. For example, a hearing officer will require expert reports, witness lists, exhibit lists, pre-hearing motions and other evidence to be exchanged by certain dates prior to a scheduled medical board hearing in Kentucky or Ohio. If the deadlines are not met, the hearing officer may exclude the physician from presenting favorable witnesses or evidence at a hearing.
In addition, our attorneys attend all pre-hearing conferences with the hearing officer and medical board attorney, file appropriate pre-hearing motions and subpoena all necessary documents and witnesses. In cases where expert testimony may assist the physician, or prove to be crucial, our lawyers secure reputable and respected experts engaged in the appropriate medical specialty to review the pertinent medical records and information.
Our goal is to be well prepared to not only defend a medical license in Kentucky or Ohio, but also to provide the physician with the best and most effective medical license defense possible. As a result of doing so, we have obtained favorable rulings from hearing officers and courts of law. In addition, our diligent medical license defense and effective advocacy of physicians often results in favorable negotiated settlements after a medical board complaint has been filed in Kentucky or Ohio but prior to a formal disciplinary hearing.
In the event that the medical board or the physician in Kentucky or Ohio disagrees with the ruling of the hearing officer, either party may appeal to a court of law. Elder & Good lawyers are well prepared to engage in medical license defense for any physician before the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure or the State Medical Board of Ohio at any step in the proceedings.