Medical Board Investigations: How California Doctors Should Respond

Medical Board investigations are generally triggered in the following ways:

  1. Complaints by patients, employees, co-workers or insurance companies;
  2. Reporting of malpractice settlements or judgments by insurance companies and attorneys;
  3. Reporting of the termination of employment or hospital privileges (Business and Professions Code section 805 reports); and
  4. Self-reporting of criminal charges or a criminal conviction or disciplinary action disclosed on a license application

The interview will take place in a conference room at one of the Medical Board's regional offices. The investigator and a physician consultant to the Medical Board will be present. The interview will be recorded. An experienced license defense attorney may instruct a client not to answer some questions on topics that are irrelevant and/or unnecessarily invade the doctor's right to privacy. Examples of questions that may be inappropriate include questions on habits related to the drinking of alcoholic beverages and questions on the physician's medical history and prescription drug use. The investigator may also ask the doctor to provide a urine sample for drug and alcohol screening. Providing a urine sample may be appropriate for a physician with a history of drug or alcohol abuse who wants to show that he or she is clean. On the other hand, declining to provide a sample is a valid exercise of the right to privacy.

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