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Can you lose your license if a patient alleges substandard care?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Professional Disciplinary Defense

According to the Colorado Hospital Association, there are approximately 96,000 healthcare workers throughout the state. As a healthcare professional, maintaining your medical license is vital for your career. You strive to provide the best possible care to your patients, but what happens if a patient alleges you failed to meet the standard of care?

This scenario can be unsettling, but it does not automatically mean you will lose your medical license.

Understanding the standards of care

In medicine, the standard of care refers to the level and type of care that a competent healthcare professional with a similar background would provide under the same circumstances. It is important to remember that a patient’s dissatisfaction with an outcome does not necessarily mean you failed to meet the standard of care.

Complaints to the Colorado Medical Board

If a patient believes you did not meet the standard of care, they can file a complaint with the Colorado Medical Board. The Board reviews all complaints, but not all complaints result in disciplinary action. Many factors can influence the outcome, such as the specifics of the case, your previous disciplinary history and the severity of the alleged misconduct.

The investigation process

When the Board receives a complaint, it begins an investigation. You will have an opportunity to provide your side of the story and present any supporting documentation. The Board then reviews all the information to determine whether a violation occurred.

Possible outcomes of an investigation

If the Board finds no evidence of a violation, it will close the investigation and no further action will occur. If the Board determines a violation occurred, it may take various actions, such as issuing a letter of admonition, placing you on probation or, in severe cases, suspending or revoking your medical license.

Protecting your medical license

If a patient files a complaint, it is important to respond professionally and promptly. Provide thorough documentation of your interactions with the patient and your treatment decisions.

A patient complaint alleging substandard care can be a stressful experience. Understanding the process can help you navigate the situation and take steps to protect your license and your career.