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Accused physicians: work with experienced attorney to defend rights in complaint review process

We’ve been looking at the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice’s physician complaint review process in recent posts. Last time, we noted several potential outcomes of the complaint review process, including dismissal, public corrective action, and disciplinary action.

A stipulation and order, which we briefly described in our last post, is one form of disciplinary action that may be taken after a complaint is thoroughly reviewed. Usually, in cases where the Complaint Review Committee determines that a written reprimand is desirable, it will first attempt to resolve a case with a stipulation and order first. If the physician refuses to cooperate with that, the committee will impose other disciplinary action. 

Physician discipline can take various forms, including restriction or suspension of the physician’s medical license. In cases where there is a serious risk of harm to the public, immediate suspension of the physician’s medical license may be ordered. Procedural rules give the accused physician the right to a hearing within 30 days of when an order for immediate license suspension is issued. The hearing gives a physician the opportunity to make his or her case for why an immediate license suspension is not warranted.

The complaint review process we’ve briefly commented on in recent posts applies not only to health care providers with medical licenses, but also to complaints filed against allied health professionals falling under the jurisdiction of the medical board, including complaints involving physician assistants, respiratory care practitioners and licensed acupuncturists.

Whenever a physician or allied health professional comes under the investigation of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for a complaint, it is important for that professional to have a sound understanding of the process used to investigate the complaint, and their procedural rights. Working with an attorney who understands the process, and how to negotiate with the board, can help ensure an accused physician is best situated to defend his or her rights and interests.