Most physicians’ only contact with the California Medical Board comes with submission of Continuing Medical Education (CME) or payment of licensing fees. Some, however, find themselves the subject of scrutiny by Board investigators after seemingly minor omissions or errors in the administration of their practice. An example is failure to file a fictitious name permit. Another is the requirement that medical partnerships must have a majority of physician members.
Business and Professions Code sections 2416 and 2417 pertain to medical partnerships and business organizations. It would be prudent to have some familiarity with each of these code sections, particularly when a physician is associating with a new business entity. Business and Professions Code sections 2285 and 2415 regulate the use of fictitious business names by physicians. Compliance is usually simply a matter of registering the fictitious name with the Board and avoiding misleading names or advertising.
Surprisingly, a number of doctors each year find themselves the recipient of a letter from the Board advising that they are in violation of one or more of these provisions and thereby subject to fine or disciplinary action absent prompt remediation. In the case of deceptive advertising issues, the complaining party (which may be anonymous) as often as not is another doctor with a competing practice in the same or nearby community. Regulations, then, can potentially become a competitive business weapon.
While compliance with these sections may seem inconsequential at first, a record of problems with the Medical Board can lead to greater scrutiny if quality of care issues subsequently arise and the physician already has a record of trouble with compliance issues. It pays, then, to avoid problems in the first place.
Another area of frequent trouble for physicians in their dealing with the Medical Board is failure to keep and maintain adequate and accurate medical records. Business and Professions Code section 2266 governs record keeping. While electronic record keeping has made compliance easier than ever, it is still a fact that failure to keep adequate and accurate records remains one of the most frequently cited areas of violation. Routine Board inquiries following substantial malpractice case settlements, for example, may lead to further scrutiny and possible disciplinary action if the records are incomplete or unclear. If appropriate treatment and care is not adequately recorded, it may as well never have occurred.
While each of these areas of potential violation may seem trivial at the time, ensuring compliance with simple care and attention to detail can avoid the headache of a more full-blown Medical Board investigation later on.
If you have questions, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.slotelaw.com.