The Medical Board of California (MBC) is the state agency that issues licenses and disciplines surgeons, physicians and other health care professionals who violate the Business and Professions Code BPC § 3527, also known as the Medical Practice Act (MPA). The MBC first sends notice of any medical professional’s alleged violations to the state Attorney General’s (AG) Office then to the physician oneself. You must understand what options you have when you receive a notice of pending disciplinary action.
Your right to an administrative hearings
Business and Professions Code BPC § 11506 allows all physicians subject to disciplinary action to request a hearing to answer pending allegations against them.
This code requires any doctor wishing to schedule such a hearing to either mail or hand-deliver a “Notice of Defense” to both the MBC’s Discipline Coordination Unit and Deputy AG’s office within 15 days of receiving any notice of pending disciplinary action.
The MBC will generally take any lack of response within that time frame to mean that the physician has waived a hearing in the matter. They may move forward with any hearings and in taking any appropriate disciplinary action in such instances.
How you can expect a disciplinary hearing to go
You should treat your disciplinary hearing much like you would a court trial, as they operate quite similarly.
There will be an administrative law judge presiding over the proceedings, and each side will have an opportunity to present their arguments, evidence and potential witnesses.
The onus then falls of the presiding judge to forward their decision over to the MBC, who ultimately decides whether to accept, modify or decline the court’s proposal.
Your rights at your hearing
The MBC doesn’t require, yet does allow, physician respondents to have legal counsel representing them at disciplinary hearings. You may find it helpful to have an attorney at your side as you navigate this unfamiliar medical license defense process in Sacramento. Doing so may be particularly important as your future ability to practice in your field in California is contingent upon how things go in your case.