The Medical Board of California sought to revoke our client’s California Medical license and place him on probation based on disciplinary action in another state. The out-of-state medical board fined our client $20,000 based on allegations that he employed unlicensed individuals to dispense medications and administer local anesthetic. There are no allegations of patient harm.
The physician’s out-of-state counsel retained us as co-counsel for an administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in Oakland, California. A deputy attorney general representing the Medical Board asked the administrative law judge to revoke the physician’s California medical license, to stay the revocation and place the doctor on probation. We asked for a public reprimand.
In January of 2011, the ALJ issued a proposed decision finding that the out-of-state discipline was the result of practice mismanagement, which the doctor corrected, and she ordered a public reprimand. In March of 2011, the Medical Board adopted the ALJ’s proposed decision.
There were three key factors to our successful defense of the physician’s medical license in this case:
- Out-of-state co-counsel effectively demonstrated that the physician is a good doctor;
- The physician testified credibly about his correction of the management issues that led to his out-of-state discipline;
- We helped tip the balance towards a public reprimand and away from probation by showing the ALJ that the Medical Board’s standard term of probation number 33 provides for the automatic cancellation of a medical license after two years when a physician is out-of-state (and not on probation in another state). Since our client was not on probation in any other state, probation would have meant the automatic cancellation of his California Medical license in two years. By showing that, as a practical matter, probation meant revocation, we helped show the ALJ and Medical Board that a public reprimand would be the appropriate disciplinary action in this case.