Petition to Reinstate Medical License

Posted in Licensing Defense

Physicians in California are regulated by the Medical Board of California (MBC) or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California (OMBC). Violations of the rules and regulations surrounding the practice of medicine may result in disciplinary action. Depending on the severity of the violation, the sanction may include a more serious penalty of suspension or revocation of a medical license.

The license reinstatement process can be lengthy and challenging. To succeed, you must not only meet the requirements for reinstatement but demonstrate to the Disciplinary Board that you have been adequately rehabilitated and possess sufficient competency to be allowed to practice again. If your medical license has been suspended or revoked, or if you are facing disciplinary action, a compassionate San Diego medical license defense attorney can help you through the reinstatement process.

Is It Possible to Get a Medical License Reinstated After a Suspension?

If your medical license has been suspended or revoked in California, it is possible to have it reinstated. To qualify for reinstatement, you must first meet the minimum requirements set forth by the Disciplinary Board. Specifically:

  • If your license was revoked or surrendered for unprofessional conduct, at least 3 years must have passed since the disciplinary action;
  • If your medical license was revoked for physical or mental illness, at least 1 year must have passed since the disciplinary action;
  • If you are seeking to modify a disciplinary action, then a Petition for Modification may be filed at least one year after the effective date of the disciplinary action; and
  • You must not be under a sentence for any criminal offense, including probation or parole.

In addition to these basic requirements, you will need to demonstrate to the Disciplinary Board that your medical license should be reinstated. In other words, you will have to show that you have been sufficiently rehabilitated, that you have maintained your professional knowledge and training while your license was suspended, and that you deserve a second chance. 

Based on the facts of the underlying disciplinary action, you may need to present different evidence to show that you have been rehabilitated and that there is little chance of you committing a similar offense in the future. For example, if your license was suspended or revoked for chemical dependency, then proof that you attended a rehab program and continue to attend 12 step meetings may be necessary. In addition, you may introduce evidence showing that you have received psychotherapy to address the issues that caused you to abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place.

Filing a petition for reinstatement can be costly, and may take a significant period of time. A San Diego healthcare license defense attorney can work with you to determine if your petition is likely to be successful. If you license has recently been suspended or revoked, or if you do not yet qualify for reinstatement, then your lawyer can offer guidance as to what you should be doing to increase the likelihood that a future petition will be successful. 

Filing a Petition for Reinstatement

In addition to meeting the minimum requirements for the petition for reinstatement (described above), you must submit at least 2 verified recommendations from physicians or surgeons licensed in any state to the Disciplinary Board. These recommendations must be made by colleagues who have personal knowledge of your activities since the date of the disciplinary action. 

In addition, you will be required to provide a brief and concise narrative statement describing your request and the reasons that should be granted. This statement must include a factual description of the offense, any history of prior actions and/or petitions, proof of continuing medical education and courses, and details and proof of rehabilitative efforts (such as therapy, programs, and/or medical treatment). For reinstatement, this narrative statement must include information on:

  • How you have earned a living since your license was suspended or revoked;
  • How your rehabilitation will protect against recurrence of the prior conduct; and
  • Your plans if your license is reinstated, including where you will practice and what type of medicine you will practice.

All applicants who seek a license reinstatement must also be fingerprinted. This can be accomplished through the California Department of Justice’s LIVE Scan service or, if you live outside of California, by submitting two fingerprint cards completed by any law enforcement agency.

After a petition has been submitted, the Disciplinary Board will schedule a hearing with an ALJ through the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Once your petition has been filed and processed, a hearing will be scheduled. An ALJ will preside over the hearing and will ultimately issue a decision within 30 days.

During this hearing, your San Diego healthcare license defense lawyer will present evidence to show that you have been rehabilitated and that the likelihood of you committing a similar infraction in the future is low. Importantly, you cannot challenge the underlying disciplinary action during this hearing or at any point in the process. The only way to overcome a license suspension or revocation is by introducing evidence of personal improvement and the ability to safely practice as a physician, with no risk to the public.

After the ALJ issues a decision, the Disciplinary Board will review it and issue a final decision. The ALJ’s decision is not binding on the Board. From the date that the completed petition is received by the Disciplinary Board, it may take as long as 1 year for a final decision to be rendered.

Should I File a Petition for Reinstatement?

The decision to seek a medical license reinstatement is a personal one. Not every petition will be successful. In fact, it may take several attempts to succeed. 

One of the most important factors that the Disciplinary Board will weigh in making a reinstatement decision is the amount of time that has passed since the prior disciplinary action. This helps to show that the changes made by a physician have longevity, decreasing the odds that they will commit a similar offense in the future. If you file a petition for reinstatement too soon after your license was suspended or revoked, then the likelihood of success may be lower.

While the type of conduct that was the basis for the disciplinary action matters, even physicians with serious wrongdoing in their past can get their medical license reinstated with the right presentation. A skilled healthcare license defense lawyer can evaluate every facet of your case and put together a comprehensive strategy designed to demonstrate that you should be given a second chance.

Keep in mind that the reinstatement process may be costly. At a minimum, you will be required to pay any cost recovery ordered at the time that your medical license was suspended or revoked in order to have your license reinstated. Other factors to consider include the possibility of being on probation for a period of time if your license is reinstated, and whether you will be able to secure employment even if you get your license back.

In almost every case, a successful petition for reinstatement will require the assistance of a San Diego healthcare license attorney. Your lawyer will have the experience and objectivity to help you determine when you should file a petition, and what evidence will be needed to achieve a favorable outcome. They can also craft a narrative and put together arguments for the ALJ to prove that you deserve a second chance at practicing medicine.

Will I Have to Retake the Boards to Get My Medical License Back?

No. If your medical license has been suspended or revoked, you will not have to meet the initial qualifications for licensure again through taking the medical boards. Instead, you will be required to file a petition for reinstatement and comply with the procedure set forth by the MBC or OMBC.

However, you must be able to demonstrate that you kept your skills and education current during the time that your medical license was suspended or revoked. A seasoned San Diego healthcare license defense attorney can help you with the process. Reach out to the Law Office of Nicole Irmer today to schedule a consultation.

Will Reinstatement Erase My Disciplinary History?

No. The purpose of California’s Medical Boards is to protect the public through the licensure and regulation of physicians and surgeons. For this reason, even if the Board determines that you have been successfully rehabilitated and reinstates your license, your disciplinary history will remain public.

Having a prior disciplinary action on your record may make it hard to find employment or to attract patients to a new medical practice. This is a factor that should be carefully considered in consultation with a San Diego medical license defense attorney before beginning a petition for reinstatement.

I’m on Probation for a Criminal Offense. Can I File a Petition for Reinstatement?

No. While a criminal conviction is not necessarily a bar to reinstatement, if you are currently on probation or parole, you are not eligible to apply for reinstatement. You must wait until the term of probation is over before you can file a petition for reinstatement.

During this time, you can start or continue to work on rehabilitation and continuing medical education. Doing so will help your case when you are ultimately able to seek reinstatement. A San Diego healthcare licensing attorney can advise you as to what you should be doing in order to bolster your chances of a successful petition for reinstatement.

Help For Physicians Seeking License Reinstatement

If your medical license has been suspended or revoked, you may worry that your career is over. In most cases, this is simply not true. A skilled San Diego healthcare license defense attorney can work with you to help you get your license reinstated – and your career back on track.

The Law Office of Nicole Irmer represents physicians, surgeons, and other licensed professionals throughout every stage of the disciplinary process. From the initial investigation to reinstatement, we work hard to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. For a confidential, no-risk discussion of your legal options with a compassionate medical license defense attorney, call us at (619) 237-6310 or email us at any time.