Here’s a scary fact: The odds of being the focus of an investigation by your state’s medical licensing board is about five times higher than your odds of being sued.
With that in mind, it’s important to recognize the biggest mistakes you can commit if you receive a letter that you’re being investigated. No matter what:
Don’t assume that you can handle this yourself
You may be excellent at what you do, but you aren’t a lawyer. You cannot assume that this is all a mistake, that the board will listen to you and — very reasonably — realize their error. That’s unlikely to happen. Investigations like these often presume you are guilty and put the onus on you to prove otherwise. There are specific rules that have to be followed. — and you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t know them. Help defending your license is available.
Don’t contact the person you think may have initiated the process
If you believe that the investigation started with a complaint, don’t try to contact the person who filed it to appeal to his or her sense of reason or fairness. Absolutely nothing good can come of it. You can be accused of intimidation, harassment and retaliation — which will cost you your license even if the original complaint doesn’t.
Don’t discuss your case on social media or in public
It’s natural if you’re outraged, angry, offended and distressed. However, anything you say that’s damaging can end up being used against you. If you need to vent, talk to your spouse, your attorney or your therapist. Those are the only people you can be sure won’t relay the information elsewhere.
Don’t try to clean up or alter your records
This is a huge mistake that a lot of people make. Adding notes to an existing record or trying to correct an obvious mistake is very damaging and will make you guilty of unethical behavior even if you didn’t do anything wrong before. There are other ways to deal with an error in the records.
Being the focus of an investigation can be terrifying, but hold you head up high and continue to stay focused. How you handle yourself during this time may be just as important as whatever happened in the past.