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Standard, burden of proof in physician discipline proceedings, P.1

In our last post, we mentioned a recent study which found that Minnesota was among a group of states with the most lenient medical boards in the country, and that this isn’t the first time this accusation has been made. As we noted, there are a variety of factors that go into physician discipline rates, and it isn’t necessarily the case that lack of disciplinary will is the primary factor in a low discipline rate.                         

The 2009 Public Citizen study mentioned last time found that states considered to have good disciplinary rates tend to have a number of characteristics, including: adequate funding and staffing; proactive investigation procedures; strong leadership; independence from state medical societies and other aspects of state government; the ability to use all available, reliable data about physicians, including data from Medicare and Medicaid, hospitals and malpractice payouts; and a lower legal standard for the imposition of discipline. 

Standard of proof and burden of proof are important issues in physician disciplinary hearings, because they concern the weight of evidence that must be presented in order for some discipline-related action to take place, and which party has the responsibility to provide that evidence. Here in Minnesota, the burden and standard of proof are determined by the Minnesota Administrative Rules, which govern physician disciplinary hearings.

In our next post, we’ll look briefly at what state administrative rules have to say about the burden and standard of proof in physician discipline cases, and why it is important to work with an experienced attorney during the disciplinary process.


Minnesota Administrative Procedure, Chapter 10.3: Burden of Proof and Standard of Proof, Revised 2014.

MINN. R. 1400.7300, Subp.5

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