Everyone knows that physicians have worked hard to earn their medical licenses. They have endured four years of college, four grueling years of medical school, and then completed residency to pass their board exams. They may have even completed fellowship training to specialize in a specific area of care.
But however much hard work and expertise physicians bring to their jobs, many doctors will wind up facing lawsuits and/or board investigations before their careers come to a close. If you are a medical professional who is being investigated by the board, there are several actions that you should consider taking that will likely help to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
Check the Malpractice Insurance Policy
Every physician knows that they should have malpractice insurance that will help to cover the costs of a lawsuit; however, physicians who are being investigated also need to check the fine print on their policy to ensure that they know exactly what is covered. Does the policy cover the cost of being investigated by the board?
There are several costs that might come up, including hiring an experiencedlawyer and paying potential fees or fines. Having a policy that covers a board investigation will help a physician respond to this investigation with a high-quality defense in a manner that won't place that doctor and their family under a significant amount of financial stress. If the policy doesn't cover this cost, it may be prudent to switch policies.
Seek Appropriate Consult from the Experts
If a difficult case is coming up, it might be helpful to consult with experts about a certain test or treatment plan before the board comes visiting. Having experts who back challenging decisions can go a long way towards a successful defense. Many investigations are hinging on what a "reasonable" doctor with an "appropriate" level of training would do if they were in the same situation. Having people who are willing to go to bat for a certain test or treatment decision can help minimize the stress of a potential board investigation. If can also help alleviate any potential ethical issues. Discussing your "expert" approach with your attorney can be a uniquely beneficial process.
Meticulous Records are Important
It is vital that every physician collects and maintains a meticulous record of their decision making. A paper trail can help demonstrate a physician's line of thinking as well as establish a strong timeline of certain events if an investigation gets to that point. Furthermore, having solid documentation can help contradict false statements that might be made by other parties. If a physician can point to a certain decision that has been charted in the medical record, this can go a long way.
Physicians spend their lives caring for others. If a board investigation comes up, it is time to let an attorney experienced in this area of law care for the physician. Anyone being investigated by the medical board should consider reaching out to an attorney for assistance in order to better ensure a positive outcome.