4 Things Not to Do at a Medical Board Hearing

Anne L. Finger, MA


March 13, 2014

In This Article

Minimizing Your Chances of a Board Summons

"One of the major things is to keep doctors from going before the board at all," says Zachariah. "If you don't know your own state's medical practices act -- advertising rules, what and when to delegate -- you can get in trouble."

In Illinois, he points out, you need both state and federal licenses to prescribe narcotics. "One doctor moved from another state, and she didn't know that," Zachariah recalls. "If you can find continuing medical education (CME) courses on the relevant state laws, take them, as well as periodic updates as the laws change," he advises.

Communication is key, says Lisa Robin of FSMB. "Try to communicate well with your patients and their families," she says. Make sure they understand informed consent -- "what the treatment will be, how to comply, and the risks and benefits of the procedures and medications. Do it -- and then document that you did it."

Be sensitive to issues of privacy and confidentiality.

"People go crazy when it comes to medical privacy, whether or not there's been an adverse effect," says Bilimoria. "I tell my clients to be privacy advocates. Hold your patient's hand, tell them you'll improve your HIPAA policy, and assure them it won't happen again. Don't say or act as though it's not a big deal."

One useful source of materials is the FSMB Website, which offers guides on prescribing opioids and use of social media, among others; a new policy on professional issues with electronic health records is in draft form for consideration in April.

Lisa Robin advises that physicians do some self-reflection.

"If some physical, mental, or knowledge problem is affecting your practice, address that," she advises. And keep in mind that board members' first goal is to protect the public -- not, she says, to take the physician out of practice.

"They'd rather monitor, recommend CME, or refer to a physician health program," she says, "so they can keep the individual as a resource in the community."


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