Last week, we discussed how unnerving it can be for physicians to receive notice from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice that an investigation has been launched into a written complaint filed against them.
We also discussed why it's important for physicians not to become too flustered in these scenarios given that 1) the investigation can actually vindicate their position that they did nothing wrong, and 2) severe disciplinary measures are by no means a foregone conclusion.
To that end, we started examining Agreements for Corrective Action, which are essentially contractual agreements between the Complaint Review Committee and the physician that certain remedial measures will be taken to address the issues raised in the complaint.
How exactly do corrective actions differ from the more stringent disciplinary orders handed down by the Board?
Corrective action is usually taken in those situations where the misconduct on the part of the physician is less serious in nature and can usually be attributed to a lack of knowledge. Here, the remedy is typically the CRC ordering some type of education program and/or training regimen.
Conversely, disciplinary action is usually taken in those situations where the misconduct on the part of the physician is considerably more serious, including actions resulting in patient harm, sexual misconduct and fraudulent prescription writing practices, to name only a few. Here, the remedy is typically the CRC issuing some form of written reprimand, and/or restricting or suspending a medical license.
Other key differences between the two are that corrective actions are not required to be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and are not subject to the legislature's mandatory publication requirement. (However, it should be noted that corrective actions are still a matter of public record and, as such, may still be viewed by anyone.)
A final key difference between the two is that the Board is not involved in a corrective action given its contractual nature between the physician and the CRC, meaning they are not required to take any action on the matter.
If you are a physician who has received a letter from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice indicating that you are the subject on an ongoing investigation, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your license defense options.
Source: Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, "New corrective action option," Linda Close, Accessed Dec. 11, 2014