MDNews - Minnesota

July 2015

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F EW SCENARIOS ARE more daunting for physicians as the prospect of responding to a complaint before the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (MBMP) or a report to the National Practitioner Databank (NPDB). The MBMP is statutorily authorized to impose disciplin- ary action, up to and including suspension or revocation of license and civil penalties, against physicians on a number of grounds (29 separate grounds are listed in Chapter 147 of the Minnesota Medical Practice Act), including: + Conviction of a felony that is "reason- ably related to the practice of medicine" within the past five years + Engaging in unethical, unprofessional or fraudulent conduct, including "demon- strating a willful or careless disregard for the health, welfare or safety of a patient" + Failure to satisfy the requirements for licensure + Revealing privileged patient information without authorization + Improper supervision of assistants or management of patient records + Engaging in sexual conduct or sexual communications with a patient + Failing to report any of the above conduct by other physicians to the MBMP. 1 According to state law, the "primary purpose of the Board of Medical Practice is to protect the public from the unpro- fessional, improper, incompetent, and unlawful practice of medicine." 2 The MBMP Process Once a complaint is received by the MBMP, additional information may be obtained by the board through a variety of methods — including an investigation by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office — usually after a written response is requested from the physician. It is impera- tive to retain experienced legal counsel in this process. Once information is gathered and the investigation is completed, the complaint may be dismissed, or the physician may be asked to meet with a panel of the board to discuss and further respond to specific allegations. The panel can recommend dismissal, disciplinary action, corrective action (memorialized in a written agree- ment) or the entry of a stipulation and order to be submitted to the full board for approval. If the board or physician is not agreeable to this resolution, a hearing will be scheduled, usually accompanied by an effort to settle and/or mediate the issue. If a resolution is achieved at that stage, a stipulation and order is forwarded to the board for approval. Once approved, the matter is concluded. If not approved, a formal hearing ensues. ++++++++++++++++++ + +++ + +++ ++++++++++++++++++ LEGAL EASE ❯ Defense against Complaints: All About the Process By Lawrence P. Schaefer, President and Owner, Schaefer Halleen LLC 2 2 | Minnesota MD NEWS ■ M D N E W S . CO M

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