Maryland Board of Physicians (the "Board") is
an agency of the state with the authority to license physicians
and other health care providers such as physician assistants,
radiographers, radiation therapists, radiologist assistants, nuclear medicine technologists, respiratory
care practitioners, psychiatrist assistants, polysomnographic technologists, and athletic trainers to practice
in Maryland, and to discipline licensees who violate the
Maryland Medical Practice Act.
to establishing qualifications for licensure, the Board
is responsible for investigating complaints against licensees
and for taking action against the license of those who fail
to maintain Maryland's high standards of medical care delivery
or who break the laws governing licensure.
IS THE MISSION OF THE BOARD? (back
THE BOARD'S MISSION is
to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Maryland
through strong enforcement of licensure standards for physicians
and allied health providers; and through an effective disciplinary
SERVICE DOES THE BOARD PROVIDE? (back
Board provides two principal types of consumer services:
1) information on licensing and 2) information about licensees
who have been charged or sanctioned for violation of the
Maryland Medical Practice Act. The Medical Practice Act
is the statute which outlines the grounds for discipline
and gives the Board the authority to enforce the statute.
Board does not act as a physician referral service. But
the Board can answer questions about a licensee's credentials
and training and can let you know if the licensee has been
disciplined by the Board.
KIND OF COMPLAINTS RESULT IN DISCIPLINE? (back
often become upset about the medical care that they receive
when they feel that they have been treated rudely or been
made to wait too long. Often, they feel that they have been
overcharged for the quality of the service they have received.
As the Board reviews complaints, the physician or health
care provider usually will be informed of a complaint and
may be asked to respond to the allegation. Often, after
hearing from the Board, the physician or health care provider
and the patient are able to come to a resolution of the
matter. A typical complaint resolved in this fashion might
deal with the prompt release of medical records or the cost
of copying the record.
The Board takes disciplinary action when
an individual violates the Maryland Medical Practice Act
in a manner determined by the Board to warrant prosecution.
The following are some of the more serious
infractions that lead to the Board placing restrictions
on a licensee or even revoking a license to practice in
of alcohol or drugs
contact with patients
of a criminal act
addictive drugs without a bona fide medical indication
money or other consideration in return for patient referrals
without a license or aiding others to do so
HAPPENS WHEN THE BOARD CONDUCTS AN INVESTIGATION?
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The Maryland law provides
that the Board is required to show by evidence that a licensee
has breached the Medical Practice Act. A thorough investigation
of the facts must precede the Board making a charge against
a physician or other health care provider. The Board employs
full time investigators who gather information and present
it to the Board members. If the Board has a reasonable basis
to conclude that a breach of the Maryland Medical Practice
Act has occurred, charges are then brought against the licensee.
The accused individual then has the opportunity to defend
himself/herself before an administrative law judge in a
formal administrative hearing. Anyone filing a complaint
might be called to testify at the hearing. In sensitive
cases, the identity of the witness is not publicly released.
After the hearing, if a violation of the Medical Practice
Act has occurred, the Board may invoke a penalty against
the licensee appropriate to the breach. Retraining, a course
in ethics, psychiatric treatment, community service, and
other requirements may be required in addition to, or in
lieu of, license suspension or revocation.
LONG DOES THE COMPLAINT PROCESS TAKE? (back
minor complaints are resolved within a few weeks in an informal
manner. When a full investigation results in the Board bringing
formal charges, the process takes longer. Cases involving
standards of quality care go through a peer review in which
other physicians examine the quality of care provided and
issue an opinion. Because the Board provides due process
to the licensees, the disciplinary process takes a long
time. Still, almost all of the Board's cases are resolved
within 18 months and most are resolved sooner.
SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A COMPLAINT?
the Board and request a complaint
form. The Board investigates ALL complaints it receives
to determine whether the licensee is fulfilling his/her
obligations under the Medical Practice Act. If there is
a breach, the Board has the authority to take action against
the license of the health care provider. These actions could
be as minor as a letter of concern informing the licensee
of the Board's attitude regarding a specific health delivery
problem, or as serious as a revocation of a license if there
has been a serious breach of the law. The Board also has
authority to reprimand, suspend the license to practice,
or assess fines up to $50,000.
The Board does not have the authority to
order a physician to make recompense to an individual who
thinks he/she has been harmed by a physician. This type
of complaint is pursued by contacting an attorney and initiating
a suit in the civil justice system. Even if the Board disciplines
a licensee, that information is not admissible in a civil
action, even though the disciplinary action may be based
on the same facts.
Board of Physicians
(local) or 1-800-492-6836 (toll free)
for the Disabled: 1-800-735-2258