How to Avoid Losing Your Medical License
Practicing medicine in the United States requires valid licensure from the designated state in which you choose to work. This license indicates that you meet the necessary education and training requirements needed to be a physician. This license does not come with a lifetime warranty, and therefore, it can be revoked for many different reasons. The following six proactive steps and the help of an experienced California healthcare attorney can help you avoid losing your medical license.
Renew your license on time
The Medical Board of California (MBC) requires that practicing physicians must renew their license every two years. Failure to renew your license within 90 days of the deadline results in penalty fees. After five years, the license is considered canceled, and physicians must apply for a new license to demonstrate their skills are up-to-date. California does not offer a grace period for expired licenses. Practicing medicine with an expired license can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the offense, and the penalties can range from hefty fines to jail time. Therefore, it is imperative to renew your medical license in a timely manner and be aware of all renewal dates.
Avoid committing insurance fraud
Insurance fraud, whether intentional or not, is a potential reason why physicians lose their licenses. Insurance fraud can occur due to error or oversight, and it is vital to take the appropriate steps to mitigate such fraud. Using standard billing codes that are clear and accurate can protect your practice from allegations of fraud. Verify that all billing codes accurately depict what was done at the time of service. Keep track of all medical records and be prepared for audits. If you are facing an audit, do not panic. It is essential to review billing practices to ensure that all invoicing is ethical.
Watch out for prescription drug violations
Possessing a medical license grants physicians the power and authority to prescribe medication. Healthcare professionals must practice good judgment when utilizing the prescription pad. This includes only prescribing the necessary medication and being extra cautious with controlled substances such as opioids. California law limits the amount of controlled substances dispensed to a supply of no more than seven days. The state of California regulates not only the quantity of prescriptions but also the time and manner in which certain medications are prescribed. For example, narcotics such as hydrocodone used for pain management after an operation can only be authorized when the operation is completed, to prevent the prescription of unneeded medication. Being aware of what constitutes a drug violation can protect you against the loss of licensure.
Know and avoid patient abuse and unethical behavior
Patients and their families rely on healthcare professionals for fair and just treatment. If physicians violate that trust, medical licensing can be revoked. Acts of abuse such as physical, verbal, or sexual abuse constitute grounds for the loss of a medical license. In addition, acts of discrimination based on race or religion can prompt an investigation, also leading to the loss of license. Avoid criminal law violations, including those pertaining to the abuse of alcohol and drugs. As healthcare professionals, physicians play an important role and are expected to maintain a standard of professionalism. Criminal law violations can not only impact your professional reputation, but they can also jeopardize the validity of your medical license. Although the Medical Board of California accounts for the severity of a charge and looks at all offenses on a case-by-case basis, any conviction that is substantially related to the duties and qualifications of a physician will result in disciplinary action. Also, a thorough review is completed for offenses that may not, at first glance, seem to pertain to a physician’s ability to complete tasks, such as reckless driving or DUIs. However, underlying issues are considered along with a history of offenses.
Abstain from negligent behavior
Physicians are expected to provide a certain standard of care to all patients. Failure to provide this care can cause licensure to be revoked. Negligence is the failure to act with the care and caution that other professionals would use in a similar situation. Ordinary negligence refers to the failure to take certain precautions, while gross negligence is the extreme disregard for the safety of others.Negligence can occur due to human error, oversight or mere sloppiness, and the consequences can be severe.
Protect yourself and your medical license
For assistance with matters pertaining to your practice, licensing or any other legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Art Kalantar for a free initial consultation in Los Angeles or statewide at 310-773-0001.