Physicians: Avoid These Mistakes After a Licensing Board Complaint Is Filed
Patients, their family members, and other healthcare practitioners can all file licensing board complaints. The number of complaints filed has increased in recent years, likely due at least in part to an increase in public awareness about patients’ legal rights. Regardless of whether a complaint has merit or not, physicians should never take these issues lightly. As soon as a notice is received, physicians must protect themselves with qualified legal representation.
Mistake: Ignoring the deadline.
No matter how meritless the complaint is, it won’t simply vanish if you ignore it. Read the notice carefully and take note of the deadline to respond. The notice will likely require a written response and the production of the patient’s medical records. Consult an attorney right away regarding the written response. Submit all required records in a way that is compliant with HIPAA and any applicable state privacy laws.
Mistake: Failing to notify the malpractice insurance carrier.
Your attorney may advise you to notify your medical malpractice insurer of the complaint. You might not be anxious to share the fact that you are the subject of a complaint, but you might be required to do so under the terms of your policy. Violating the terms may jeopardize your policy and coverage. Additionally, talk to your attorney about notifying your employing organization. Unless you’re a sole practitioner, you may be required to provide prompt notification of any complaints.
Mistake: Failing to address every charge.
A licensing board complaint may include multiple charges. It’s a mistake not to address all of them in the written response. The response should explain every issue in a way that an average physician (not necessarily a member of the same specialty) can understand. However, the written response shouldn’t be longer than necessary.
The healthcare lawyers at Mesch Clark Rothschild provide effective risk management guidance and legal advocacy services to physicians, hospitals, and nursing homes. Our law office in Tucson is known for strategic defense that seeks a financially advantageous outcome for our clients. Call (520) 624-8886 for an appointment.