Tag: Oregon Board of Medicine

Beware when consenting to a temporary restriction on your medical license

How long? – Longer than you think, plan for the “duration”

Physicians, pharmacists and nurses under Board investigation are occasionally asked to sign an Interim Stipulated Order (ISO) or Interim Consent Order (ICO) accepting a voluntary restriction on their license or, worse, suspending practice pending the outcome of the investigation.  Although it may be suggested that the voluntary temporary restriction could soon be lifted, frequently the process necessary to resolve the issue will take six to 12 months, often longer for physicians due to the complexity and risks associated with a physician’s practice and the Medical Board’s case load.

What else? – Consider the following:

  • National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) reports

A physician, pharmacist or nurse consenting to a restriction on his or her license will also need to manage the consequences of a report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).  There are many events that will trigger a data bank report and consenting to a restriction on your license to practice medicine, pharmacy or nursing, is one of them.

  •  Board Certification, credentialing, and/or employment

A board certified physician consenting to a restriction on his or her medical license should assume, until it is established otherwise, that his or her board certification will be withdrawn, and that credentialing may be at risk too.  Further, some employer’s will terminate a restricted physician.  The Veterans Administration (VA), for example, requires every physician to have at least one unrestricted medical license.  While it is possible to practice with a restricted license or DEA Registration, it takes planning.

  •  DEA Registrations

A prescribing physician, physician’s assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP) should also consider the impact of a restricted license on his or her DEA Registration.  Remember, in order to hold a DEA Registration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requires every DEA Registrant to possess valid state authority to prescribe controlled substances.  Consequently, if you consent to a restriction on your prescribing privileges, or consent to voluntarily withdraw from practice pending the outcome of an investigation, you should be ready for a call from a DEA agent requesting the surrender of your DEA Registration.  Thus far I have had success convincing the DEA to await the outcome of the investigation, but nothing is certain, and you should need to plan accordingly.

Bottom line: Plan for all the consequences of a restricted medical license

If you are a physician, pharmacist or nurse under investigation and your licensing Board requests that you consent to one or more restrictions on your medical license, you need to know that the restriction will probably last more than a few months and there are numerous other consequences to consider depending upon your type of practice and level of licensure.  Each case is different and there may be more to consider than is discussed here. Diligence and planning is required to survive a restriction on your medical license.

Filing a complaint with your licensing board

As a licensed physician, pharmacist, or nurse, it may one day become necessary to file a complaint with the Oregon Medical Board, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, or the Oregon State Board of Nursing, reporting the conduct of another licensed professional. We all take this aspect of our professional responsibility seriously. In a close-call case, we may prefer not to file the Board complaint, and in a bad case, the ramifications of filing the Board complaint can make the act of doing so seem overwhelming.

What to do?

In a close-call case, no one wants to file a Board complaint that need not be filed, or is otherwise unnecessary, and some worry that an unfounded complaint will backfire, and no one wants that either. In a bad case, especially when the complaint turns you into a witness and you will become part of the ensuing investigation, the weight of reporting is heavy. In either case, you will be uncomfortable, left to wonder has best to proceed.

Consult an Oregon licensure lawyer

In a close-call case, your licensure lawyer can call the Board, whether it be the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, the Oregon Medical Board, or the Oregon State Board of Nursing, and discuss whether the report needs to be made in the first place and, if so, how best to present it. An experienced licensure lawyer will have existing relationships with investigators and others at each of the licensing Boards and will know whom best to call. In many cases, it will not be necessary to disclose your name to during initial discussion. If it turns out that the report needs to be made, the ground will have been prepared and the expectation that the complaint be filed is “shifted” somewhat to your licensing Board. If the Board complaint later turns our to be unfounded, this additional care taken while making the Board complaint will serve you well later.

In a tough case, your licensure lawyer can shoulder the burden of writing the Board complaint (an email will be fine), sending it to your licensing Board, and then following up the Board answering any follow-up questions the Board might otherwise direct to you.This approach will life some of the weight from your shoulders, and also ensure that the complaint is presented in an arms length fashion, which may be quite helpful in some circumstances. In one case earlier this year involving a pharmacy drug loss, my report to the Board of Pharmacy on behalf of the pharmacists, was just the beginning – the start of an investigation by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. In cases these, where the complaint will trigger an investigation that will involve you, it is highly recommended that your licensure lawyer be involved from the start anyway, providing just one more reason to consult a licensure lawyer.