Each year, about 150 California physicians lose their license to practice medicine due to surrender or revocation. However, only about 10 percent, 15 or so, attempt to reinstate their medical license through a petition for reinstatement. Reinstating a surrendered or revoked California medical license is not a lost cause. With proper preparation, organization, patience, persistence and the help of an experienced attorney, a California medical license can be reinstated.

California Law Enables Reinstatement of a Lost Medical License in Most Cases

A physician can petition for reinstatement once three years have passed from the effective date of a license surrender or revocation. If the reason for revocation was physical or mental illness, the waiting period is shorter, just one year. Also, if the order of surrender or revocation specifies a short period, that shorter period applies.

There are a few limitations: a physician asking for reinstatement cannot be under sentence for any criminal offense (including being on probation), no accusation or petition to revoke probation can be pending against the physician, and the physician cannot have lost their license due to certain sexual misconduct. Business and Professions Code section 2307 contains the details.

Preparation for a Petition for License Reinstatement Can Start at Any Time

Petitions for Reinstatement require that the physician petitioner must have two letters of recommendation from other physicians, show evidence or rehabilitation, and complete necessary paperwork. The key is rehabilitation. Regardless of when the window of eligibility opens to file the petition for reinstatement, taking appropriate steps to accomplish and document personal and positive growth, to rehabilitate, and to maintain and enhance medical knowledge and skill should start right away and be ongoing. Consulting with our experienced attorneys can show the way for laying the groundwork for a successful petition.

Petitioners Get a Hearing Before an Impartial Judge

Petitions for reinstatement of a California medical license are heard by administrative law judges at the California Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The assigned OAH judge makes a proposed decision which then must be adopted by the Medical Board of California. The administrative judge works for an independent California agency and must provide a fair hearing for the petitioner. While a fair hearing does not guarantee success, it means that despite the difficult history a physician may have with the Board, a physician has a fair chance to meet their burden of proof to regain their California medical license.

California Public Policy Encourages Second Chances

California licensing agencies may seem strict and harsh when it comes to regulating and disciplining licensees, including physicians. However, California law has a long established policy of giving second chances – from criminal diversion and expungements, and appeals of license denials, to the ability to reinstate a license lost for almost any reason. Through a bringing a petition for reinstatement or sometimes by simply allowing reapplication, every California licensing agency has a mechanism for regaining almost any lost license.

Opportunities to Reinstate are Few and Therefore Require Maximum Effort

Once the eligibility window opens to petition for medical license reinstatement, the process from filing the petition to final decision can take as long as two years. If the petition is unsuccessful, there is a two year waiting period before a new petition can be filed, which then could take another two years for adjudication. Due to these processing and waiting periods, steps must be carefully taken to increase the chances of success of any petition. A successful petition for medical license reinstatement stands out as a tremendous victory. Regaining a lost medical license is a proud accomplishment that can bring closure to a period of personal struggle and loss.

Ray & Bishop, PLC, advocates for physicians licensed by the California Medical Board. Our advocacy includes the effective and skillful representation of physicians seeking license reinstatement.