Responding to an Inquiry Letter
After the Board receives a complaint concerning a licensee, the Board may send an initial letter to the licensee requesting a response to the allegations. The licensee is required to fully cooperate and submit a written response to a complaint, typically within 45 days of receipt.
In drafting a response to an inquiry, it is important for you to include all information and documentation necessary to fairly and fully respond to the allegations. However, it is equally important for you to include only the pertinent information and documentation. We help our clients make these judgments and determinations from an objective standpoint and with knowledge of and experience with the process in defending matters before the Medical Board.
The Medical Board may also ask a physician or other licensee to attend a non-public interview with members of the Board and staff to discuss a pending complaint or investigation. A licensee may retain and be represented by an attorney during the interview. Statements made or information provided by a licensee during this interview may be used against the licensee in any subsequent formal hearing.
As a result of the interview, the Board may: (1) dismiss the matter; (2) ask the licensee to take certain actions, (3) offer the licensee the opportunity to enter into a consent order or other public agreement; (4) institute a formal public hearing concerning the licensee; or (5) take other action.
The Pre-charge Conference
If the matter is dismissed or a settlement is not reached, the Board will initiate formal public proceedings. Prior to doing so, however, the Board will inform the licensee of the right to request a pre-charge conference. Upon receipt of a request for a pre-charge conference, the coordinator will schedule the conference to occur within 45 days and serve notice of the date and time of the conference on the licensee or on counsel for the licensee.
The pre-charge conference will typically be conducted by telephone conference. During the conference, the Board will provide information to the licensee regarding the possibility of settlement of the pending matter. We help our clients evaluate and determine whether they should accept a proposed settlement, including whether to negotiate the terms. The Board generally has more flexibility regarding disciplinary actions in negotiating and entering into settlements than it does after formal hearings. This flexibility is one reason we attempt to reach a consent order and avoid a formal hearing, whenever possible and in our client’s best interests.