Attorney Beth Collis quoted in Medscape article on Medical Board investigations

Attorney Beth Collis, of Collis Law Group LLC, was quoted in a Medscape article titled “The Dangers of a Medical Board Investigation: How to Protect Yourself”. In the article Ms. Collis addresses the 9,000 complaints that the State Medical Board of Ohio receives each year. “Many are minor or frivolous, such as allegations that the doctor or his staff was rude to the patient or family, billing questions, being forced to wait too long for an appointment, etc. The Board generally doesn’t take action in these cases and may not even inform the doctor of them.”

Ms. Collis also addresses how it is necessary for physicians to respond to Board investigations or inquiries. Ms. Collis warns physicians against ignoring inquiries from the Board, or from talking to the Board without counsel. “No complaint is too minor. Too many physicians think they don’t need a lawyer and can just talk the Board investigators into dropping the complaint. Doctors may sincerely want to help but they don’t understand the rules and pitfalls. They are often too chatty and explain things that weren’t even asked.” Legal counsel is recommended for any physician in connection with any Medical Board investigation or disciplinary action.

Read the article, written by Mark Crane, by clicking on the following link: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/899247_2

As always, if you have any questions about this blog or the State Medical Board of Ohio, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909 or email me at Beth@collislaw.com.

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Ohio Physicians: Timely open and respond to all letters from the Medical Board

Keep your address up to date

As a physician licensed to practice medicine in Ohio, you are required (under R.C. 4731.281) to maintain your current accurate mailing address with the State Medical Board of Ohio. You may update your address online at: http://med.ohio.gov/UpdateAddress.aspx

The address on file with the Medical Board will be the official address that the Board will use to contact a physician if they become the subject of an investigation, or if the Board proposes to take a disciplinary action against a physician.

Certified Mail

If the Medical Board takes an action against a physician, they will be mailed a letter outlining the charges to their address of record with the Board. Under RC 119.07, the Notice of a Board Order shall be given by registered mail, return receipt requested, and shall include the charges or other reasons for the proposed action, the law or rule directly involved, and a statement informing that the party is entitled to a hearing if the party requests it within thirty days of the time of mailing the notice.

If you receive a certified mail from the Medical Board, it is imperative that you open it!  If the Medical Board has mailed a certified letter to a physician, it will include important information and often requires an action to be taken by the physician within a short period of time.

For example, if the Medical Board issues a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing to a physician, the physician is only provided with 30 days (from the date of mailing by the Board) to request a hearing. Failure to timely request a hearing may result in a board-ordered sanction, and the physician would be provided with no means to defend their case. The sanction takes the form of a Final Adjudication Order under RC 119.

Failure to cooperate in an Investigation

Failing to respond to a subpoena request or to respond to Interrogatory questions sent from the Medical Board may also result in a disciplinary action taken against the physician by the Medical Board. R.C. 4731.22(34) provides that failure to cooperate in an investigation conducted by the Board, including failure to answer a subpoena or order issued by the Board, or failure to answer truthfully a question presented by the Board in an investigative interview, an investigative office conference, at a deposition, or in written interrogatories, will result in disciplinary action.

Publication notification

If you fail to accept delivery of certain notifications, the Medical Board has the authority to publish the notification in your local newspaper. If any notice sent is returned for failure of delivery, the agency either shall make personal delivery of the notice by an employee or the agent shall publish the notice once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the last known address of the party is located. When notice is given by publication, a proof of publication affidavit, with the first publication of the notice set forth in the affidavit, shall be mailed by ordinary mail to the party at the party’s last known address and the notice shall be deemed received as of the date of the last publication.

Refusal of delivery by personal service or mail is not failure to deliver and service is still deemed to be complete. Therefore, it is important to keep your address up to date in order to accept all certified mail that is sent from the Medical Board. Be sure to carefully review all letters from the Board as they often include short timelines in which a response may be required.

If you have any questions about this post or the State Medical Board of Ohio, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at the Collis Law Group LLC at 614-486-3909 or email me at Beth@collislaw.com.

Happy New Year! Don’t drink and Drive tonight

Happy New Year.

A quick public service announcement to all physicians licensed in Ohio. As you go out to celebrate the New Year tonight, do not drink and drive! It’s unsafe for you and others and may also have devastating consequences on your professional license.

If you are charged with an alcohol related offense, OVI, disorderly conduct, reckless operation (just to name a few), the Medical Board has the authority to take a disciplinary action against your professional license.

Yes. Keep in mind. The Medical Board is concerned about your behavior and conduct 24/7. Even if you are not scheduled to work tomorrow, or this weekend, if you are charged and convicted with an alcohol related offense, the Medical Board can take a disciplinary action against you.

Depending on the facts and circumstances, the Medical Board has the authority to order you to a 72 hour chemical dependency evaluation at a Board approved treatment center. Then, depending on the results of the assessment, you could be ordered to complete 28 days of RESIDENTIAL treatment. Your license would be suspended for an indefinite period of time (at least 30 days) and you would be required to enter into a five year monitoring agreement with the Medical Board once your license is reinstated.  If licensed in other states  you would need to disclose the Medical Board action.  This would be considered a public disciplinary action and would be noted on the Medical Board website indefinitely.

In the past, I have always encouraged physicians to appoint a designated driver if they plan to consume alcohol. But, too often, the “designated driver” leaves the party early or consumes alcohol themselves!  Before you go out tonight, schedule a taxi to pick you up or download the Uber app on your phone. I recently used the Uber app and caught a ride to the airport at 7am. I couldn’t believe the ease of using this app.

Even if you are just going to a low key party at a friend’s house “down the street”, don’t risk your professional livelihood. Order a driver, taxi or Uber BEFORE you leave the house tonight.

Have fun. Be safe and Happy New Year.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the State Medical Board of Ohio in general, please contact me at beth@collislaw.com or at my office at 614-486-3909.