This case involves two California agencies: The Dental Board and the Medical Board. Our client is a licensed dentist and physician.
As a California dental surgeon (DDS), our client entered an M.D. degree program in surgery. Unfortunately, in the last few months of residency, the surgeon suffered a DUI conviction. The DUI was an isolated incident, and the surgeon reported the conviction to the Dental Board. Our client does not have an alcohol problem. The Dental Board of California recongized that disciplinary action was not warranted in this case.
Unfortunately, when our client applied for a license as a Physician and Surgeon from the Medical Board of California, the Board offered only a probationary license based on the DUI conviction. Accepting a probationary license would mean exclusion from treating Blue Shield, Anthem and other insured patients, which in turn would likely end a pending offer of employment.
Over the last ten years, the Medical Board has taken a harsh position with respect to license applicants and DUI convictions. We have seen cases where the Medical Board has sought probationary licenses for applicants who have a single DUI, or even a "Wet Reckless," conviction. In contast, the Medical Board has treated licensed physicians better by declining to take action based on similar convictions. This discrepency is based on the Board's position that acquiring a medical license is a privilege and that the applicant should be monitored because of his or her lack of license history with the Board.
We asked the client to provide letters of support from physicians in the client's residency program who were aware of the conviction, and we prepared a written request for reconsideration to the Medical Board. We pointed out the disparity between the Dental Board's action and the proposed probationary license from the Medical Board, noting that both boards are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Affairs and should therefore have more consistent policies (especially given the common nature of the surgical practices under regulation.)
A short time after submission of our written request for reconsideration, with the letters of support, the surgeon received notice of the issuance of a free and clear Medical License.
Attorney Stephen M. Boreman actively represents medical residents and licensed physicians before the Medical Board of California.