Any number of events can trigger an investigation by the Texas Medical Board (TMB). A co-worker may have filed a complaint because they thought they smelled alcohol on your breath, a patient may have claimed that you provided inappropriate post-operative care, or another health care worker could have concerns you deviated from the accepted course of care for a patient.
Part of the reason so many different events can trigger a complaint is the fact that it is relatively easy to file a complaint. Those who wish to do so can simply log online, go to the TMB website, and submit an electronic complaint.
If you get notification of an investigation, know that you are not alone. The TMB receives over 7,000 complaints every single year. It does not investigate every complaint. First, it checks to see if the complaint falls within its jurisdiction and then it will check to see if there is evidence to support the allegations.
What if the investigation leads to litigation?
In these situations it is wise to start considering options for resolution. Resolution options can include license restriction limited to certain parts of practice, additional training, continued medical education course completion, rehabilitation, drug testing, prohibition from treating certain types of patients, an administrative penalty, or a public reprimand.
If a resolution is not reached through the initial process the TMB will assign a staff attorney who will take the case to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. This can lead to sanctions or a dismissal of the case. If you disagree with the finding, you can appeal it at the district court.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication