Were you served with an Administrative Complaint from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH)? Are you worried about the future of your career and reputation as a result of a complaint made against you? A complaint filed against a medical physician can be detrimental to your profession and long-term ability to earn a living. Because any license discipline could affect your existing employment and future employment opportunities, you must be attentive and defend against any complaint filed against your medical license.
At The Umansky Law Firm, our Orlando medical license defense attorneys can help through this trying time. We understand that doctors and medical professionals train for years to achieve their medical licenses. Our license defense attorneys advocate fiercely on behalf of our clients to safeguard their licenses that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Florida Statute 458.305 defines a physician as any person who is licensed to practice medicine in Florida. Florida law describes the practice of medicine as the following:
“Practice of medicine” means the diagnosis, treatment, operation, or prescription for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity, or other physical or mental condition.
Because doctors are responsible for their patients’ health and well-being, this occupation is more strenuous than most. Doctors must have a thorough knowledge of medicine and the ability to explain their conclusions to patients who have little to no medical knowledge.
Doctors have many duties, including the responsibility to:
Having a valid medical license is mandatory for anyone to practice medicine in Florida. Without a valid Medical Doctor license, medical professionals cannot treat patients or legally call themselves doctors. Being a licensed medical doctor instills trust in patients and other health professionals a doctor works closely with. A loss of license would take away a doctor’s ability to make a living and provide for his or her family.
It takes years of hard work and effort to build a career as a doctor. Any complaint could damage a doctor’s career, and it’s vital to address any complaint, no matter how insignificant it seems, immediately. If you suspect or know that a complaint has been lodged against you, you should waste no time securing experienced legal counsel.
To earn a Medical Doctor’s license with the ability to use the title of “Doctor” or “Physician”, medical school graduates must meet the requirements and apply through the Florida Board of Medicine. This Board was established to “ensure that every physician practicing in this state meets minimum requirements for safe practice.”
There are a variety of reasons why someone might file a complaint against a doctor. The most common complaints are allegations that a doctor exhibited unprofessional conduct or diverged from the recognized standard of medical care in Florida.
Some of the most common complaints include:
According to Florida Statute Section 458.331, over fifty actions can result in a doctor facing disciplinary action. Many of these actions, however, have descriptions that can be interpreted broadly. For example, a criminal conviction can lead to disciplinary action if it “directly relates to the practice of medicine or the ability to practice medicine.”
In general, the Florida Department of Health considers almost any criminal conviction to qualify for disciplinary action. Some other common examples when a doctor might face disciplinary action under Florida Statute Section 458.331 include:
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) performs the investigative and prosecutorial functions involving health care practitioners controlled by the department and imposes appropriate Florida Statutes. Anyone who wants to file a complaint against a doctor in Florida would do so through the Florida Health Care Complaint Portal.
When a doctor receives a complaint, an investigator from the FDOH will be assigned to review your case. The investigation consists of gathering enough information to decide whether the complaint can proceed to the next step.
Information gathered during an investigation generally includes:
Most times, the investigator will contact you to ask for a meeting. One mistake doctors might make is they fail to respond to the investigation notice or treat it as nothing to be concerned about and fail to provide a sufficient response. As a professional doctor, you must treat this complaint lodged against you seriously and contact an attorney as soon as possible before meeting with the investigator.
Hiring an experienced professional license defense lawyer will help you develop a thoughtful and robust response to the investigation procedure. Many times, a skilled attorney can end the investigation process before further actions are commenced. At this point, the investigation process is confidential, preventing you from enduring further damage to your career or reputation.
If the investigation acquires enough proof to move the accusation to the next step, the complaint will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel. That will typically involve members on the Board of Medicine and the FDOH who review the documents and evidence tied to the complaint.
During this process, it’s vital that you have your defense attorney, and you do not attempt to handle the situation alone.
The panel review can result in three possible outcomes:
A finding of “no probable cause” is a dismissal of the case, which means there was not enough evidence proving that you violated any rule or regulation. A “letter of guidance” is not a disciplinary action, but it’s issued when the panel finds that a minor violation did occur. The most severe outcome is when a formal Administrative Complaint is issued against you.
An Administrative Complaint against you describes the statements and evidence against you reviewed during the investigation, along with the specific laws or rules that you’re charged with violating. The complaint becomes public record at this point, so even if the complaint is dismissed, your reputation as a medical doctor can be sullied. After consulting with your attorney, you can choose to attend either an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.
If you choose to proceed with an Informal Hearing, that means you do not wish to dispute any of the allegations against you, nor do you intend to bring any new evidence to light. Instead, you’re accepting the complaints, and you’ll face the Board again, where they’ll make a final decision on what penalties will be imposed against you.
If you wish to dispute the allegations and facts found against you during the investigation, you move forward with a Formal Hearing. This hearing is before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ hears the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the Board of Medicine and FDOH. The Board then makes a final decision concerning disciplinary actions.
You can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review if your doctor’s license is suspended or revoked. Your lawyer is your most valued ally when going through this process – always consult with them before making any decisions.
At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense team investigates every case in detail to learn the facts and the best way to secure your medical doctor’s license. In general, some complaints against doctors can go to criminal court, and you can face criminal charges. Having an experienced criminal lawyer who handles professional license defense is paramount.
Umansky lawyers can benefit you in a variety of ways, including:
If you have been accused of committing an act that may prompt the Florida Board of Medicine to revoke your license, contact The Umansky Law Firm to advocate for you. As experienced trial lawyers, we understand the evidence code and can help prepare a robust defense for you that may include dismissal of the citation, complaint, or allegation against you.
Attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm include former prosecutors and defense lawyers, and some have experience working directly for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). That experience, along with our criminal defense background, enables us to build a strong defense for you and help you avoid license suspension and criminal prosecution in the administrative action. To speak with an Orlando medical license defense lawyer, complete an online contact form or call today.
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