Facing an investigation can be a daunting experience for any physician.
It is important to prepare and understand what lies ahead after receiving notification.
1. Information gathering
Investigators will collect all relevant information regarding the complaint. This may involve reviewing medical records, interviewing patients and witnesses and examining any other relevant documentation.
Physicians can expect to participate in an interview with the investigators. During this interview, they will have the opportunity to provide their perspective on the complaint and any supporting evidence. Physicians need to be honest and forthcoming during these interviews.
3. Expert opinions
In some cases, investigators may seek expert opinions from other healthcare professionals to evaluate the physician’s actions and decisions. These experts will assess whether the physician’s conduct met the standard of care expected in their field.
4. Resolution options
After the investigation is complete, the regulatory body will determine the appropriate course of action. This can vary from case to case. Possible outcomes may include issuing a warning, requiring additional training or education, imposing sanctions or, in severe cases, revoking a physician’s license. In 2022, 211 revocations occurred nationally.
Physicians who disagree with the outcome of the investigation may have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the regulatory body involved.
An investigation can have significant professional and personal consequences for a physician. It may affect their reputation, practice and ability to work in their chosen field. Prioritizing ongoing compliance with all relevant regulations and standards of care demonstrates a commitment to patient safety and professionalism.