Facing possible “sunset” this year (expiration of the legal authorization to exist), the Medical Board of California is nearing a renewal for another four years after having successfully avoided a major overhaul. SB 304 will move the Medical Board’s investigators to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Medical Board currently maintains its own force of investigators. Earlier proposals would have consolidated the investigation and prosecution functions of the Medical Board under the California Department of Justice. Preserving the separation of these functions maintains a greater measure of Board enforcement control over its own investigations and should closely resemble the present status quo.
Although major reforms are not being enacted, significant criticism of the Medical Board in the press has been a shot across the Board’s bow. Since the Board has been shaken by this negative attention, physicians should expect more aggressive investigations, greater cooperation between the Attorney General’s Office and Board investigators, and more disciplinary cases filed.
In this environment, it is more important than ever for any physician who is being investigated or is likely to be investigated to seek experienced license defense counsel. The importance of an experienced attorney to make critical tactical decisions cannot be underestimated. Doctors who are assured by an investigator that he :”just wants to ask a few questions” are usually shocked to find themselves facing across a table a thoroughly prepared investigator, a deputy attorney general, and sometimes even an expert physician, an assembled prosecution team attentive to any missteps the physician may make on which to build a prosecution case.
If you have received a call or letter from the Medical Board of California or an associated board, please call our office today for a consultation at (949) 557-4888.