As a physician, your license to practice medicine is not just a professional requirement but a symbol of years of study and sacrifice on your part. A complaint filed against your license not only threatens your future to practice medicine but could also threaten your freedom. If you are a doctor facing a complaint and/or criminal charges, you need to know how to dispute charges against your medical license.
Jonathan Rose is dedicated to protecting and defending doctors and other healthcare professionals faced with the possibility of professional disciplinary action or criminal prosecution.
What Is the Physician Complaint Process in Florida?
Complaints filed against a licensed doctor in Florida are filed with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). An investigator will notify you of the complaint through traditional mail, email, or telephone. The investigator forwards the complaint to the Prosecution Services Unit (PSU), a group of lawyers who prosecute potential statutory violations by healthcare providers. After review of the case, including all materials provided by the doctor’s attorney, PSU will make a recommendation to your board whether to proceed with a formal, public complaint or to close the case. If the case is closed, it remains confidential. If a formal Administrative Complaint is filed, the matter becomes public, and will be reported to the NPDB and FSMB. If you receive notification of a complaint, do not ignore the notification. The best time to begin disputing allegations made against you – especially those that could result in criminal charges – is the moment you learn of the complaint – while it is still confidential. In many instances, formal charges can be avoided, thereby maintaining the confidentiality of the complaint.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Complaint Against my Medical License?
If a complaint is referred for investigation, and that investigation ultimately leads to administrative discipline, that discipline could include:
- A private or public reprimand
- Payment of fines and costs
- Completion of remedial education
- Restriction of practice
- License suspension or revocation
Disciplinary action against a doctor is also reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Federation of State Medical Boards is permanent unless modified or removed by the reporting entity.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Criminal Conviction Related to the Practice of Medicine?
If the allegations are referred to the state and/or federal prosecutor’s office for a criminal prosecution, a doctor faces all the above potential consequences plus the possibility of paying additional fines and being sentenced to a period of incarceration.
By way of illustration, a complaint filed against a doctor for violating the state and/or federal anti-kickback statutes would almost certainly be referred for criminal prosecution in addition to any administrative action taken against the physician. Anti-kickback laws prohibit paying or receiving any type of commission or remuneration for patient referrals. In the State of Florida, the Florida Patient Brokering Act governs illegal kickbacks, while at the federal level, the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits kickbacks involving federal health care programs. A conviction under the Florida Patient Brokering Act is a felony conviction that carries the potential for a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $500,000. At the federal level, a conviction of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute is also punishable by a term of incarceration, depending on the charges and amount of purported loss to the victim, hefty criminal and civil fines, and exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs.
How Do I Dispute Charges Against My Medical License?
Knowing how to dispute charges against your medical license before they threaten not just your medical license, but your freedom as well is imperative. If you are notified that a complaint is being investigated by the FDOH or have reason to believe you are the target of a state or federal investigation, contact an experienced Florida medical license defense attorney immediately.
The strategy employed to dispute the allegations against you will depend on several factors, including which agency is conducting the investigation. If the FDOH has not referred the allegations to a state or federal prosecutor, an experienced defense attorney will advocate on your behalf to prevent that from occurring and to avoid or minimize any disciplinary action against your license. If a state and/or federal criminal investigation is already underway, your attorney will focus on protecting your rights and preventing the investigation from escalating to criminal charges being filed against you. If an arrest has already occurred, or cannot be prevented, your medical license defense attorney will aggressively defend you and your license throughout the ensuing criminal prosecution.
Contact an Experienced Medical License Defense Attorney
Your medical license is not just the culmination of years of study and sacrifice, it is your current and future livelihood. As such, it must be immediately and ardently defended at the first indication of a threat. If you are a physician who needs to know how to dispute charges against your medical license, contact experienced medical license defense attorney Jonathan Rose today by calling 407-894-4555 or filling out our online contact form.