California Medical Board Disclosures Relating to a Criminal Conviction & Subsequent Disciplinary Action

| Posted in Medical Malpractice on August 7, 2022

The Medical Board of California is responsible for regulating the practice of medicine in the state. In this role, the Board issues licenses to physicians and surgeons and also investigates allegations of professional misconduct. When appropriate, the Medical Board may also take disciplinary action against a licensee.

In order to ensure that California doctors are both competent and safe, the Board requires physicians to make certain disclosures regarding disciplinary action and criminal convictions, pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 802.1. These disclosures must be made when applying for and renewing a medical license, and when a licensee is facing felony Indictment / Information or has been convicted of a crime. Depending on the facts of the case, a disclosure may result in disciplinary action by the Medical Board.

If you must make a disclosure to the Medical Board, you should consult with a California healthcare license defense attorney. Your lawyer will help you make a disclosure in a way that protects your rights. Reach out to the Law Office of Nicole Irmer today to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.

What Has to Be Disclosed to the Medical Board?

There are multiple times when you must make disclosures to the Medical Board. Notably, you have an affirmative duty to report if a felony indictment or information is filed against you or if you are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense. A failure to report a criminal action is a violation of Business and Professions Code Section 802.1 and could lead to a fine and more severe discipline.

When you apply for a medical license, although you may not be required to disclose any prior criminal history, you should evaluate with an attorney the prudence of making such a disclosure, as if you do have a criminal record, the MBC will learn of it when it receives your fingerprint results. At this time, the Board may or may not ask you to voluntarily provide an explanation and any evidence of rehabilitation and can proceed to discipline based upon the conviction alone. Applicants are also asked to disclose any disciplinary history, as well as anything that may impair their ability to practice, such as substance abuse disorder, or a medical or mental health issue.

When you are renewing your license, you must make certain disclosures. This includes whether you have been subject to any disciplinary action or convicted of a crime in any jurisdiction since your last license renewal. For MBC purposes, discipline includes any action against your medical license by a government agency or disciplinary body, such as suspension, revocation, voluntary surrender, probation, or any other restriction.

Criminal convictions are defined more broadly for disclosure purposes than they may be otherwise. Generally, you must report:

  • A conviction in any jurisdiction for any crime, including some infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies;
  • A plea of no contest;
  • Deferred Entries of Judgment;
  • Any conviction that has been set aside or deferred; and
  • Infractions with a fine of less than $300 if the case involved alcohol and/or controlled substances.

When disclosure is required, it is important to seek legal advice. Once the Board has this information, it may decide to take adverse action against your license – including denial of an initial application, denial of a renewal application, or disciplinary action. An experienced California medical license defense lawyer familiar with the nuances of the disclosure requirements can work with you to ensure that you comply with all disclosure requirements and that your disclosures are framed in a way that protects your interests.

What Happens After Disclosure?

There is no straightforward answer to what happens after disclosing a disciplinary action or criminal conviction to the Medical Board. Each disclosure is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with an assessment of the underlying facts of the case, the impact to public safety, and how it may impact a physician’s ability to practice medicine. 

For example, a doctor convicted of disorderly conduct may or may not face any disciplinary action depending on the circumstances of the case and affirmative steps to mitigate conduct. If the charge arose from an argument with a family member that got too heated, then the Board may or may not take disciplinary action. However, if a physician is convicted of disorderly conduct because of something they did while intoxicated, the Medical Board may determine that this indicates a substance abuse issue that relates to the doctor’s qualifications, functions, or duties. 

The Medical Board takes allegations of substance abuse (including DUIs) and sex crimes seriously. These cases often result in disciplinary action. 

The Medical Board will examine the details of each case, along with any prior criminal history or disciplinary action in California or elsewhere. The Board will also consider other factors, such as mitigating circumstances, compliance with court orders, and efforts to rehabilitate oneself without being ordered to do so by a court.

In this respect, a skilled healthcare licensed defense lawyer can help to reduce the potential impact of disclosure. In addition to assisting with the disclosure itself, your attorney can begin to gather evidence of mitigation and/or rehabilitation. They can also advise you of steps that you can take to protect your license or reduce the likelihood of disciplinary action.

If you are applying for or renewing your medical license or if you are facing criminal charges, it is vital that you reach out to an experienced California professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will work with you to ensure that your disclosure is made correctly and that your ability to practice medicine is protected to the fullest extent possible.

Need to Make a Disclosure of a Criminal Conviction? Reach Out Today.

It is easy to become overwhelmed and consumed with anxiety when you have to make a disclosure to the Medical Board of California. After all, a disclosure may result in disciplinary action – and limitations on your ability to practice medicine. An experienced California professional license defense lawyer can help.

Attorney Nicole Irmer counsels and represents physicians and surgeons in all proceedings before the Medical Board, from initial applications to renewals to disciplinary hearings to license restoration. She understands just how devastating it can be to face disciplinary action – which is why she works hard to protect her clients’ rights. To learn more or to schedule an initial consultation, give our law office a call at (619) 237-6130 or contact us online.

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