The Texas Medical Board was established in 1907, and the board’s mission is to regulate the practice of medicine to enhance and protect public health. It governs the education, licensure, and discipline of physicians licensed to practice in the state of Texas.
Medical Board Hears Patient Complaints
Unhappy patients may report their complaints of a physician directly to the board, which takes all complaints seriously. A board complaint can directly affect an individual’s license to practice. Therefore, properly responding to a complaint is of the utmost importance. Call an attorney experienced with licensing board matters right away, so there is time to step in and help navigate the process.
Pay Attention to Response Timeline
The medical board sends the physician a letter notifying him or her of the complaint and details the response timeline. From the time the complaint is received, the board has 45 days to make its determination. Physicians commonly have 28 days from the date of the letter to submit a response and the requested documentation.
The board reviews the complaint, the physician’s response, and the supporting documentation provided to decide whether the complaint warrants further investigation. If the board’s decision favors the physician, it will send a letter notifying the physician of the dismissal and the matter ends. If the board decides to proceed with a formal investigation, the matter will move to the investigation stage.
Physicians Must Provide Documentation
If the board moves forward into the investigation stage, it will require additional information from the physician. This usually includes a questionnaire regarding the medical practice and additional documentation.
A physician who shares your specialization will review the complaint response and supporting material to help the board determine if the complaint has merit and warrants further investigation. This part of the process can take as long as a year, but the board must provide you with a status update every 90 days.
This stage of the investigation will either culminate in a dismissal of the complaint or it will determine that the Medical Practice Act has been violated. A finding of violation will move the process forward to what’s called an informal settlement conference.
Submit Materials Before Informal Settlement Conference
At this stage you should secure legal counsel if you have not already. Before the conference, you and your medical board lawyer will have a final opportunity to submit “rebuttal materials.” This packet requires a great deal of preparation, and your attorney will help you with the required documentation to prepare for the conference.
The conferences are held in Austin and are referred to as “informal,” but they will include a highly charged question-and-answer session between you and several board members.
Physicians Have Right of Appeal
The conference usually lasts up to an hour but can be longer. After it’s concluded, you and your counsel will wait downstairs while the panel discusses your case. When the panel has completed its discussion, it will summon you back to the room to hear the result. The panel’s power ranges from dismissal of the case to requiring continuing medical education to revocation of your medical license. Its decision will ultimately be submitted to the full board for confirmation. You have the right to appeal the decision.
If you’ve received a notice of complaint from the Texas Medical Board, don’t delay. Contact an experienced Texas medical board lawyer right away.