Reinstatement Physician Interview: Medical Board of California--Law & Policy

Reinstatement Interview: A Physician's Petition for Reinstatement with the Medical Board of California--a Matter of Law and Policy

When a California physician has surrendered his or her medical license or had their license revoked, California Business and Professions Code Section 2307 provides that he or she can petition the Medical Board for reinstatement following certain statutory waiting periods.  The usual waiting period is three (3) years from the effective date of surrender or revocation.  A shorter waiting period may be agreed to by the Medical Board in a negotiated Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order in which a surrender occurs.

A California physician seeking reinstatement is deemed a "Petitioner" and has the burden of proof to show he or she has been rehabilitated and deserves reinstatement.  The physician must file a formal petition with the Board, which also requires the submission of a narrative statement outlining the reasons the physician believes his or her license should be reinstated at this time. 

The narrative statement will form the basis for a required interview after the petition is filed.  The interview is typically conducted by a Medical Board investigator, may include a Medical Consultant (Board-paid physician) and is frequently conducted by telephone.  The interview will be tape recorded and a transcript made available.

Physicians seeking reinstatment of their surrendered or revoked California Medical License should familiarize themselves in advance with the sort of questions they are likely to encounter in the interview.  Following is an outline of a fairly typical reinstatement interview framework:

1. Rehabilitation: What has he/she done to show rehabilitation, e.g., community service, charitable work, educational work. Show insight into the original discipline and remorse.

2. Competency: Has he/she maintained CME, done any Grand Rounds or completed other medical training to stay current in his or her field or practice?  If it has been several years, they may want the client's agreement to take an oral clinical exam, written or P.A.C.E. exam.

3.  Responsibility: Is he/she taking full responsibility for his/her actions (not blaming others)?

4. Professional Ethics: Has the client taken an Ethics course or in other ways demonstrated that he or she understands that what he/she did was wrong and won't be repeated.

5.  Remediation: If the surrender or revocation related to prescribing practices, has he/she taken a Prescribing Course to ensure he/shee understands the rules and will not repeat the prior errors and conduct?  If the issues were primarily quality of care in nature, has the client undergone remediation training with the Physicians Assessment and Clinical Education (PACE) program or a similar program?

6.  Justification: He/she will be asked to explain why he/she deserves reinstatement at this time--what positive things will he or she do in medical practice if reinstated. Does the client have a job offer?  Will he or she serve in a needed area?  An under-served area? (the latter helps).

Being prepared for the interview is half the battle.  Consulting experienced counsel prior to and even during the interview process may be very helpful to the Petitioner's chances for success.

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