Although the overall chances of facing a professional license accusation are relatively small, the fact is that if you practice medicine in any form, you must still take steps to prepare for an event like this.

You must keep in mind that it is the duty of boards to protect the public and regulate your profession, so you must take any inquiry seriously. Although you may initially be approached about an accusation in a non-threatening way, you must remember that these boards have a lot of power when it comes to your career, and you must never let your guard down when dealing with them.

First steps to take if you are being investigated

To give yourself the best chance of being exonerated, there are several things you must do immediately after you become aware that you are being investigated.

Contact an experienced attorney. Even the smallest misstep early in an investigation can carry serious repercussions later on. An attorney will immediately start mounting a strong and strategic defense to best protect your interests.

Contact your malpractice insurance carrier. This is often required by your policy, as well as being a smart thing to do.

Identify experts who can be helpful to your case. Your attorney may already know several experts, but you can help matters by combining your efforts to produce the best possible expert testimony.

Other issues to consider

Sometimes issues get resolved quickly. Sometimes they do not. Depending on your circumstances, especially if the board decides the complaint against you has no merit, your case may be dismissed in short order. Other times, large amounts of records will need to be gathered and several witnesses contacted and interviewed before you go through an actual board hearing. Always plan for the long haul, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Never meet with a board investigator without legal representation. This could be the most dangerous error you can make. Simply don’t do it.

Do not turn over any records without getting legal advice first. The rules of evidence can be quite complicated, and while you must cooperate, you do not want to take a bad situation and make it worse.

The Law Office of Ginger Kelley serves clients in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and communities throughout Orange County, California.