California Business and Professions Code section 2310 empowers the Medical Board of California to immediately and without prior notice suspend certain California physician licenses. Business and Professions Code section 2310 provides that if a California physician’s license in another state is suspended or revoked outright and that action is reported to the National Practitioners Data Bank, and the physician’s primary place of practice is outside of California, the physician’s California license can be immediately suspended. The suspension stays in place unless overturned by a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings, if the out-of-state order of suspension or revocation is overturned on appeal, or if the Medical Board fails to file an Accusation seeking permanent license discipline within 90 days of imposing the suspension.
While this is a powerful statutory tool for the Medical Board to suspend the California licenses of certain out-of-state physicians, the rules are complicated and give rise to a number of potential defenses. For example, if the out-of-state suspension or outright revocation is imposed solely based upon the discipline of yet another state, or if the physician can show that their primary practice actually has been located in California for at least one year, the suspension can be defeated. Also, the administrative law judge has the discretion to set aside the suspension.
One complicated aspect of the Section 2310 suspension order is that it requires that the Medical Board of California file an Accusation for permanent discipline within 90 days of issuing the suspension order. In the case of an out-of-state license that has been revoked outright, the California disciplinary case is rather straightforward as all out-of-state discipline usually has concluded. However, if the out-of-state action is a suspension order, the out-of-state action may be temporary in nature, and the ultimate fate of the affected out-of-state license may be uncertain. In this situation, important defenses may arise, such as the denial of due process should the proceedings on the Accusation be unduly delayed. Furthermore, an out-of-state suspension order does not necessarily lead to permanent out-of-state discipline. In such a case, the Medical Board of California may find itself prosecuting an Accusation without a proper cause for discipline.
The rules surrounding Section 2310 suspension orders are complex and give rise to sometimes difficult strategic issues. The attorneys at Ray & Bishop, PLC, are experienced in navigating these issues for California physicians who find themselves served with Section 2310 suspension orders.