In our last post, we began looking at the complaint process as overseen by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. As we noted last time, one of the aims of the investigating complaints is to determine whether the physician who is the subject of the complaint met the minimum standard of care under the circumstances. This, of course, is also a central issue in medical malpractice litigation.
In some cases, complaints will be closed out early on when certain requirements or conditions aren’t met. These include cases where the matter of the complaint falls outside the jurisdiction of the medical board; where two or more member of the Complaint Review Committee agree to dismiss the case; the medical coordinator recommends closing the case; or the physician’s license is cancelled after two years of failure to renew. Complaints may also be dismissed when the physician satisfies the requirements of a corrective action agreement and there is a vote to dismiss, or when the medical board approves a stipulation and order.
Corrective action is a potential outcome of the complaint review process in which the Complaint Review Committee strikes an agreement with a physician requiring the physician to take remedial action to address the issues raised in the complaint. It is not a disciplinary action, but it is on public record.
A stipulation and order is another type of agreement that can be struck between a physician and the Complaint Review Committee. It involves the imposition of restrictions on the physician’s medical license when it is determined that the physician violated the Medical Practice Act. A stipulation and order can be rejected by a physician or the full board, in which case a contested hearing is held before an Administrative Law Judge. The outcome of the process depends on whether the physician or the complaint review committee is successful in making its case. If the committee prevails, disciplinary action may result.
In our next post, we’ll say a bit more about disciplinary action and how an experienced attorney can provide advocacy during the complaint review process in general.