Avoiding Denial of a California Medical License by Withdrawing the Application

NOTE: The Medical Board no longer allows applicants to withdraw license applications to avoid a Statement of Issues (Updated June 29, 2017)

Medical license applicants in California may have the option to withdraw their applications before a final license denial.  Here is how it works:

The process starts when a medical resident or physician licensed in another state (or foreign jurisdiction) applies for a medical license in California.  The license application is made to the Medical Board of California where a medical license is formally called a physician and surgeon’s certificate. 

Inquiries or investigations will often be triggered in the medical licensing process if the applicant has been convicted of a crime or disciplined in another state.  Medical residents who have been disciplined or terminated from a residency program, or who left a residency (or fellowship program) under unfavorable circumstances will also face further inquiry or investigation. 

If a license application or criminal record check triggers an investigation, the California Medical Board may request a written statement from the applicant and obtain files from criminal courts, police agencies, residency programs and other state medical boards where the applicant is licensed.  Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Medical Board will typically take one of the following actions:

  1. Issue a clear medical license;
  2. Offer the applicant a probationary license; or 
  3. Notify the applicant of its intention to deny the license.

If situtations where the Medical Board does not issue a clear medical license, the applicant is typically afforded the opportunity to withdraw his or her license application prior to formal license denial.  This presents an important decision for the applicant because the potential consequences may include a permanent record of discipline and reporting to future employers through the National Practitioners Data Bank (NPDB).  License applicants facing this critical decision should seek the advice of an administrative law attorney with experience in California medical license defense.