As a doctor, if you’ve had a complaint filed against you with the Medical Board, how you handle your hearing can affect your entire future.

If you aren’t nervous yet, you should be — your license, your reputation and your livelihood are all at stake.

Here’s how to keep the problem from escalating:

1. Treat the board with respect.

You need to stay calm when you face the board — keep in mind that you’re in this situation because a patient complained, not because the board randomly picked on you for interrogation. The whole situation may be unfair, and you may be upset because you know you provided quality care to your patient — but check your anger at the door:

  • Don’t rant at the Board for having the nerve to question you even if you believe the basis of the question is clearly unfounded.
  • Answer direct questions with short, clear answers — don’t give long answers where they aren’t necessary.
  • Admit it if you don’t know the answer to something — that’s a valid response and better than speculating.

2. Provide the requested documents.

If the Medical Board requests copies of your records for that patient, provide only what is necessary for the situation.

  • If you send boxes of irrelevant material, that may be seen as an attempt to either thumb your nose at the proceedings or hide the relevant information.
  • If you have poorly-kept records and you know it, experts advise you to try to show the Board that you recognize the problem — take a course on record-keeping or hire a professional to handle the process for you so that you can show the Board the improvement that you’ve made once you get to the hearing.

3. Hire your own attorney.

Even though you may have malpractice insurance that will send an attorney along, that attorney is looking out for the insurer’s interests — not your personal interests.

Keep in mind that you have a lot invested in your license — you need to do everything in your power to protect it.

Source: Medscape, “4 Things Not to Do at a Medical Board Hearing,” Anne L Finger, MA, accessed Oct. 06, 2017