Medical Board Grants Petition for Early Termination of Probation

A California medical Resident suffered a criminal conviction based on a plea to “wet reckless” (reckless driving with alcohol involvement) in the second year of residency, just prior to PGY-3 (Post-graduate year 3).  In PGY-3 residents are required to acquire a license from the Medical Board of California in order to complete their residency program in-state. 

Prior to our representation, the resident applied for a California license and accepted an offer from the Medical Board for an initial probationary license based on the reported conviction.  (Note: all criminal convictions must be reported).

Business and Professions Code Section 2307 provides for early termination of probation under certain conditions. For a three year term of probation, the minimum term of probation is two years.  However, in California, a term of medical license probation carries with it certain disabilities.  

For example, HMO’s and health insurers like Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross may exclude physicians on probation from treating their insured patients.  In addition, the American Board of Medical Specialties may exclude physicians from taking Board Certification exams while on probation. Thus, a resident completing training with a probationary license will not be able to sit for board certification exams and will generally be excluded from employment in medical groups dependent on patients insured by Blue Shield or companies that exclude probationary physicians.

We sought early termination of probation through a Petition for Penalty Relief. We assisted the Resident with the Board's petition form, a narrative statement, letters of support, witness selection and hearing preparation, and testimony. After an administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), the Medical Board granted the Petition for Early Termination of Probation.  The resident is now free to pursue his or her specialty unrestricted and will sit for board certification exams later this year.  None of this would have been possible had the resident remained on Medical Board probation for the full three year term.

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