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Navigating medical board investigations: work with an experienced attorney, P.2

In our previous post, we began speaking about the duty of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice to investigate physicians for their fitness to practice medicine and the grounds upon which disciplinary actions may be taken by the board.

A recent example of disciplinary action taken by the board occurred earlier this month, when six Minnesota physicians were subjected to various disciplinary actions. One of the physicians, for example, was ordered to voluntarily surrender his license to practice medicine and surgery in Minnesota. In the event that the physician seeks re-licensure in the state, the board will reopen its investigation. The reason for the disciplinary action was that the doctor was disciplined in another state.

The board disciplined a total of six physicians on a variety of grounds, imposing various disciplinary actions, including public reprimand, suspension, temporary suspension, and voluntary surrender of license.  The cases where there is a suspension of a physician’s license to practice typically involve terms with which the physician must comply in order for the license to be reinstated. The cases are a typical example of the kind of actions the board will take after conducting an investigation into a physician’s fitness to practice.

Cooperating with the medical board in an ongoing investigation is, of course, important. In addition to the grounds for disciplinary action which we listed in our last post, the state medical board is also able to discipline a physician simply for failure to cooperate with the board in an investigation. Cooperation with a board investigation, according to state law, means “responding fully and promptly” to board inquiries and complying with reasonable requests for patient medical records.  

Physicians can, of course, go through a board investigation on their own, but it can be beneficial to have some guidance. Working with an experienced legal advocate in a board investigation, particularly when the investigation is based on weak grounds, can help ensure that a physician’s due process rights are respected and that the board acts fairly and properly throughout the process.

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