WHEN MEDICINE MEETS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
“Medicine and law are uncomfortable bedfellows,” the Public Health Law Map explains. The professions are similar in that both deal with intensely personal and life-affecting matters, but because of medical malpractice litigation, medical care practitioners’ view of the law and of lawyers is often negative, the Public Health authors observe.
There are actually three different branches of law: criminal law, civil law, and administrative law.
State medical and dental boards operate under administrative law, as Dentistry Today points out. The boards provide oversight on medical and dental licenses and lawful professional practice, for the purpose of protecting the public interest. But, from the point of view of medical and dental professionals, “although an agency such as a board cannot put you in jail, they can take away your livelihood”.
“It’s something that every physician dreads: a patient files a complaint with a state medical board. When this happens, physicians often enter into a cycle of worry and confusion”. In many cases, a complaint can leave the dreaded “black mark” on a physician’s record, and may result in severe restrictions or even revocation of a medical license.
Some of the most common complaints received by state medical boards include:
- Prescribing the wrong medicine
- Inappropriately prescribing controlled substances
- Failure to diagnose a medical problem that is found later
- Willfully or negligently violating the confidentiality between physician and patient
- Failure to provide appropriate post-operative care
- Failure to respond to a call from a hospital to help a patient in a traumatic situation
In addition to these things, under the Indiana Medical Practice Act, medical providers can have their licenses suspended or revoked for:
- Nonpayment of personal property taxes
- Nonpayment of child support
- Charging unreasonable fees
- Substance abuse
At Ramey & Hailey, we are called upon to fight for healthcare professionals who:
- have had their compensation unlawfully withheld
- have had their contracts terminated
- are the victims of unlawful and overly restrictive non-compete covenants
Is unfair disciplining of healthcare professionals a common occurrence? Unfortunately, yes. Licenses have sometimes been suspended and lost with little proof, inadequate due process, and procedural errors. For that very reason, our Indiana attorneys are dedicated to offering advice and representation through all phases of the disciplinary process.
When medicine meets administrative law, it may be time for healthcare practitioners to seek legal help!