The Indiana Medical Licensing Board and Disciplinary Actions
When a complaint has been made against a practitioner’s medical license, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board has the power to take a handful of different disciplinary actions. In some cases, they may simply elect to issue a letter of reprimand or require the practitioner to pay a small fine. However, in more serious cases, practitioners may face a possible suspension or revocation of their medical license, ultimately limiting their ability to practice and threatening their livelihood. In situations like these, it’s best to hire an experienced Indiana medical licensing defense attorney to help navigate the disciplinary proceedings and craft a sound defense aimed at limiting any potential sanctions.
If your medical license is at risk, it’s best that you do not attempt to remedy the situation on your own. Instead, you should contact the professional licensing defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP as soon as possible. Our team is made up of skilled litigators who understand how to navigate the administrative processes of the Indiana medical licensing board and can capably craft a robust defense strategy to protect your license, livelihood, and reputation. To speak with an attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Indiana Medical Licensing Board and Standards of Practice
As prescribed by Indiana Code 25-22.5, the Indiana medical licensing board is responsible for issuance and renewal of licensure for all physicians practicing within the state. They’re also charged with overseeing and evaluating complaints against a licensed physician, and if necessary, taking disciplinary actions against the physician.
Complaints against an Indiana doctor may arise from a variety of sources, including patients, family members of a patient, a fellow physician, or the Board itself. Most often, these complaints are directly related to an alleged violation of Health Professions Standards of Practice located in Indiana Code 25-1-9 or the Standards of Professional Conduct and Competent Practice of Medicine located in Article 5 of Title 844 of Indiana Administrative Code.
Standards of Practice for Indiana Physicians
The rules and regulations set forth in the Health Professions Standards of Practice require practitioners to abstain from a variety of unethical practices. Per Indiana Code 25-1-9-4, this includes actions such as engaging or cooperating in fraud or material deception in order to obtain a license to practice, or in the course of professional services or activities; or advertising services in a false or misleading manner. It also stipulates a handful of crimes that, if convicted, could put a physician’s license at risk. These crimes include fraudulent billing practices, like Medicare or Medicaid fraud, or violation of any state or federal rule, statute, or regulation, regulating the profession. More broadly, it states that any practitioner who “has been convicted of a crime that has a direct bearing on the practitioner’s ability to continue to practice competently; or is harmful to the public,” may face disciplinary action by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.
While the Health Professions Standards of Practice apply to a variety of licensed medical professionals, the Standards of Professional Conduct and Competent Practice of Medicine directly apply to any person “who holds an unlimited license to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine in Indiana or a limited license or permit as may be issued by the board.” This set of standards sets forth a variety of practices and behaviors that practitioners must abide by in order to stay in compliance with the medical license. The standards broadly cover professional conduct; the appropriate use of the internet in medical practice; prescription practices, procedures performed in office-based settings that require moderate; general or regional anesthesia; and telehealth services.
Examples of Standards of Professional Conduct and Competent Practice of Medicine
- Practitioners must maintain patient confidentiality
- Practitioners must provide patients with truthful, candid and reasonable information
- Practitioners shall report illegal, unlawful, incompetent, or fraudulent conduct in the practice of medicine to appropriate authorities
- Practitioners shall refrain from paying, demanding or receiving compensation for the referral of a patient
- Practitioners shall refrain from providing treatment or issuing a prescription based solely on an on-line questionnaire or consultation
The Process of Investigating Complaints Against a Medical License in Indiana
All complaints against a medical license are to be filed with the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of the state attorney general’s office. Upon receipt of the complaint, the CPD shall notify the Medical Licensing Board and allow them 30 days to reach a settlement with the licensed medical practitioner, or the person/entity who filed the complaint.
If no settlement is reached, the Board or the CPD, may then investigate the allegations set forth in the complaint. As stated in Indiana Code 25-22.5-2-8, the Board is required to handle investigations involving the following allegations:
- Licensure renewal fraud
- Improper Termination of a physician and patient relationship
- Practicing with an expired medical license
- Providing office-based anesthesia without proper accreditation
- Failure to perform duties required for issuing birth or death certificates
- Failure to disclose, or negligent omission of, documentation requested for licensure renewal
- Failure to complete or timely transmit a pregnancy termination form, under Indiana Code 16-34-2-5, with each failure constituting a separate violation
Upon completion of the investigation, if the allegations are deemed credible, a hearing may be called by the Board to prosecute the complaint. These types of administrative hearings are typically held before the Board or an administrative law judge, and while this is not a criminal case, the accused are still entitled to due process. This includes the right to legal representation by an experienced Indiana medical licensing defense lawyer, as well as the right to call and cross-examine witnesses.
If you have been called for a hearing before the Indiana medical licensing board, it’s vital that you contact an Indianapolis attorney with ample experience navigating these types of hearings. The Indiana professional licensing attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have successfully defended dozens of Hoosiers facing complaints against their professional license, including both physicians and nurses. They understand how the medical licensing board operates, and what it will take to secure the optimal outcome in the case against you. To speak with an attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Possible Disciplinary Actions Taken by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board
As clearly stated in Under 844 IAC 5-1-3, failure to comply with the standards set forth in the Health Professions Standards of Practice or the Standards of Professional Conduct and Competent Practice of Medicine may result in disciplinary action being taken against the offending practitioner. Per Indiana Code 25-1-9-9, possible sanctions that may be imposed by the Indiana medical licensing board include:
- Permanent revocation of a practitioner’s license.
- Suspension of a practitioner’s license.
- Censure of a practitioner.
- Issuance of a letter of reprimand
- Placement of the practitioner on probationary status with requirements to:
- Report regularly to the Board upon matters that are the basis of probation
- Limit practice to those areas prescribed by the board
- Continue or renew professional education
- Perform or refrain from performing any act that the board considers appropriate to the public interest to the rehabilitation or treatment of the practitioner
- Assess a fine against the practitioner in an amount no greater than $1000 for each violation
The disciplinary actions taken by the Indiana medical licensing board will vary case-by-case. For less serious violations, the Board may elect to simply reprimand the practitioner or issue them a fine. While this may not seem like a harsh penalty, it’s important to understand that these types of actions are public information and can be accessed by colleagues, potential employers, patients, and other members of the community. This means that while your ability to practice may be directly affected by the action(s), and your reputation may be impacted.
Serious violations, on the other hand, have the potential to completely derail a practitioner’s career and permanently damage their reputation as a physician. Given this, any practitioner who answered in the affirmative on their license renewal questionnaire; has been charged with or convicted of a crime; or has been accused of any sort of misconduct should contact an Indianapolis medical license defense attorney as soon as possible. Given all that’s at stake, it’s best to work with a trusted professional who understands how the medical board operates and handles cases of this nature.
Facing Disciplinary Actions by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board?
If you’re currently facing disciplinary action by the Indiana medical licensing board, the professional license defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are here to protect you. Our Indianapolis attorneys have handled cases before the medical board in the past and can capably guide you in providing explanations to the Board, navigating disciplinary proceedings, and crafting a sound defense to protect both your license and career.