For any medical professional, writing prescriptions for a wide range of medical conditions is a crucial part of your job. But writing prescriptions, especially in significant numbers, can put your California medical license at risk. Even if you are within standards of care for your profession, writing many prescriptions, especially for controlled substances, can raise red flags for medical boards. Below, I’ll tell you more about protecting your license and when you may benefit from help from a professional license defense lawyer.
Investigation Process for Excessive Prescribing
If you, a family member, or a friend, is sick, it is tempting to write a quick prescription to help them feel better. Depending on what you’re prescribing, it can cause severe problems for your medical license. Whether you are a nurse, a doctor, a dentist, or work in another healthcare area if your board determines that you have excessively prescribed, furnished, dispensed, or administered drugs, your license could be suspended or revoked.
All it takes for the board to begin an investigation is a single complaint from a patient or colleague. Regardless of whether or not the complainant has evidence that you have done something unprofessional, the board can begin an investigation, including your prescribing habits.
Some prescriptions you have written will be visible to your medical board in the California Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). CURES is an online database that tracks all prescriptions of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances in California. During an investigation, the board can search this database to find out about your prescribing history.
They will also review patient records (such as exam records, treatment plans, and medical histories) to determine whether your prescribing habits follow the standards of care within your medical community. In other words, they will consider whether another medical professional with the same training and expertise would treat a similar patient in a similar manner. If they determine that you did not act within the accepted standards of care and that your excessive prescribing, furnishing, dispensing, or administering of drugs qualifies as unprofessional conduct, they may revoke your license.
The Potential for Criminal Charges
If the board discovers that you have been prescribing in an ethically or legally questionable manner and license restrictions, they may contact law enforcement to investigate potential criminal charges.
For example, if the board finds that you have repeatedly and excessively prescribed opioids, you will face a criminal misdemeanor. This instant could result in up to six months in jail, a criminal conviction, and expensive fines. Your license could also be revoked, either temporarily or permanently.
If you are facing criminal charges, the best course of action is to discuss your situation with a professional license defense lawyer.
How an Attorney Can Help
Whether you are being investigated by your professional board or are facing criminal charges for prescribing-related issues, a professional license defense lawyer may be useful. It is best to start working with a lawyer as soon as you know, a complaint has been filed.
Scott J Harris has used his deep experience with these types of cases to help clients continue to work with a restricted license. In many cases, he has shown the court that the client’s prescribing practices were valid, even if the board determined otherwise. Consultations are always free, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Contact Scott J Harris today at 323-794-0701.
This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.