Medical Board of California Laws and Regulations

Licensed medical professionals in California are subject to strict laws and regulations concerning various affairs. The Medical Board of California (MBC) is responsible for enforcing these laws for certain types of licensed medical professionals. 

Sometimes, a medical professional will break the law, violate their professional code of conduct, or otherwise act in a way that goes against the terms of their medical license. And when they do, they risk facing an investigation by the MBC. 

Medical Board of California (MBC) Licensing

The California Business and Professions Code outlines laws and regulations for a broad number of professions. The Medical Board of California enforces the laws that pertain specifically to certain licensed medical professionals.

The MBC is the governmental entity responsible for licensing and enforcement. The board issues licenses and handles complaints, investigations, and disciplinary actions against licensed individuals, including the following: 

  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Postgraduate training licensees
  • Licensed midwives
  • Research psychoanalysts
  • Polysomnographers

The MBC exists to protect healthcare consumers from dangerous, illegal, and unethical acts on the part of healthcare providers. Its primary responsibility is to enforce laws and regulations for the licensed care providers who fall under its purview. 

MBC Laws and Medical License Denial

As part of its duty to enforce medical licensing laws and regulations, the MBC reviews applications for medical licensure. The MBC’s responsibility is to uphold California law by either issuing the license or denying it based on legitimate grounds. 

The primary grounds on which the MBC might deny a medical license application include the following: 

  • Unprofessional conduct
  • Conviction of a crime
  • Discipline of another state license
  • Inability to practice safely

For each of these categories, the specific circumstances under which the MBC has the right to deny an application for medical licensure are laid out in detail in the Business and Professions Code Division 1.5 Chapter 2. Denial of Licenses.

Regarding conviction of a crime, the MBC reserves the right to deny licensure for convictions within the past seven years that directly impact an individual’s ability to safely and effectively provide the type of medical care associated with the license they are seeking. 

This broad definition typically allows the MBC alone to determine whether to approve an individual’s medical licensure application. The entity particularly considers crimes that involve alcohol, controlled substances, sexual misconduct, theft, and murder when deciding whether a criminal conviction should prevent an individual from obtaining or renewing their medical license. 

MBC License Suspension and Revocation Laws

In addition to determining whether a medical license application will be successful, the MBC takes complaints against licensed medical professionals. It is obligated to investigate every complaint received. Upon completing an investigation, the board will decide whether to drop a case or issue a formal accusation. 

If an investigation uncovers evidence that a complaint merits formal disciplinary action, the MBC will issue an accusation and set a date for a hearing. Based on the hearing outcome, the MBC holds the legal authority to revoke or suspend the medical license of the individual at the center of the complaint. 

The MBC may rule to revoke or suspend a license based on at least 20 different legal grounds. These primarily center around Business and Professions Code violations, unprofessional conduct, and illegal or unethical actions. 

MBC and Unprofessional Conduct 

Along with the laws enforced by the MBC, the board sets the terms that define professional conduct for physicians. In addition to criminal acts, licensed medical professionals can face disciplinary action if they exhibit unprofessional conduct as defined by the MBC.

Actions that constitute improper conduct by a physician, according to MBC guidelines, include the following: 

  • Breach of patient confidence
  • Record alteration
  • Insurance fraud
  • False or misleading advertising
  • Failure to provide a patient with medical records
  • Failure to sign death certificates promptly
  • Patient abandonment

This partial list is given by the MBC as an example of acts that constitute unprofessional conduct. During a hearing, the board has the authority to examine a licensed professional’s actions and the circumstances that led to them to determine whether a medical professional should face disciplinary action. 

Don’t Wait to Consult a California License Defense Lawyer

An MBC complaint can lead to an investigation by the medical board. The possible outcomes included suspension or revocation of your medical license. 

If you are a licensed medical professional under investigation by the MBC, you should protect yourself by contacting a lawyer as soon as possible. Call S J Harris Law today to learn how an experienced license defense attorney can help.

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When dealing with these complex issues, you need legal representation that has a long track record of success in these types of cases. Scott Harris and the rest of our team at S J Harris Law will be ready to help you pursue any option available that allows you to keep your license and continue working, no matter what industry you are in.


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