California Board of Podiatric Medicine Lawyers
The California Board of Podiatric Medicine, also known as “BPM,” is the organization responsible for licensing, regulating, and disciplining all podiatric medicine licensees in the state of California. The Board is also responsible for protecting the public from negligent practitioners. Consumers may file complaints against a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) through the Board’s website or in writing. The BPM will consider the severity and nature of the complaints and the allegations against a doctor before deciding whether to act upon those complaints.
There is a range of responses and actions which the Board any take in response to a consumer complaint, including disregarding it without further investigation as baseless, investigating further, or even forwarding it immediately to the Attorney General’s office for consideration for a filing of a “Accusation”, which is a formal legal proceeding in which the Board seeks to revoke the doctor’s license. Additionally, the Board may seek and Interim Suspension Order, also, commonly called an “ISO,” which immediately suspends a doctor’s right to practice podiatry pending a hearing under specific time frames. Given the great range of actions the Board may or not take, as it deems fit, a practitioner who is facing such a situation should immediately contact counsel to determine what the best course of action is in response to notification or even suspicion that a complaint may be filed against the practitioner.
Many factors are considered by the Board in determining its course of action, including aggravating and mitigating factors, whether there was actual patient harm, the prior record of the podiatrist, whether a criminal case has been filed or was previously filed, the doctor’s defenses to the allegations, etc. It is crucial to have counsel retained as soon as a podiatrist suspects or learns that a complaint has been filed against him or her, as insulating the practitioner from making inadvertent admissions against his or her own interest is of paramount concern. Our attorneys are well versed in handling matters at eh investigation or even pre-investigation phases and will aggressively intervein to insulate our podiatrist clients from inadvertently making statements which may be harmful to their license and ability to later defend the case if it proceeds to a formal Accusation.
Protect Your California Podiatric Medicine License from Discipline
Being served with an Accusation by the BPM can result in the revocation of your license if not aggressively and competently defended. The BPM typically has a short period of time, usually only 15 days from the date that the Accusation was served to file a Notice of Defense. If the BPM fails to file such a responsive document within the prescribed time frame, it is possible that the Board will seek a Default against the Podiatrist, which is obviously devastating. This may result in the Revocation of a podiatrist’s license occurring without the practitioner’s ability to defend against it, which is unthinkable, but is a situation which has arisen in the past. Our attorneys can assist you if you have missed the 15-day window in which to file your Notice of Defense, with a goal of allowing you to do so, even if you have missed the initial window. This is a very delicate and tricky situation to navigate, and it is essential to have counsel retained if you find yourself in this unfortunate position.
These cases are not “do-it-yourself” cases, as the Board and its attorneys (the Attorney General) may tell you. They require extensive experience to have a favorable outcome. By trying to handle an Accusation yourself you may end up forfeiting important legal rights just by not knowing how to approach the situation or even by a simple mistake. The disciplinary process is a time consuming, complex, and procedural process. It is not to be taken lightly. Our firm is focused almost entirely on administrative law as it relates to the healthcare professions and podiatrist board defense. We have helped literally thousands of healthcare professionals in our history and we are certain we can help you too.
An Accusation by the BPM is a serious matter which can result in the suspension or revocation of a podiatrist’s license in California. Often times, our attorneys are successful in negotiating what is known as a “Stipulated Settlement” which is a formal agreement between the podiatrist, also known as the “Respondent” and the Board. In many cases our attorneys have been successful in negotiating favorable terms of settlement for our clients which allow them to continue to practice podiatry under the best possible terms and conditions which can be negotiated. It is precisely due to our vast experience that our attorneys know what is and is not an optimal settlement in each client’s optimal case. If a settlement is not obtainable, then the parties must proceed to a formal hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings, also known as “OAH.”
The Hearing will take place before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will hear the evidence and witnesses and then issue a proposed decision approximately 30 days after the hearing, although this time frame is not always adhered to. The Board will then, incredibly, the ALJ’s proposed decision is merely that—a proposed decision, which is not binding upon the Board to accept. In fact, the Board may then review the proposed decision and may then adopt it in its entirety, modify part of it or reject the decision entirely and require the parties to submit additional briefing on issues which may have arisen or to again proceed to an administrative hearing. Once the Board takes its final action in any of these scenarios, it issues its “Decision and Order”. This Decision can be appealed, but you must act within specific time frames in order to appeal it. The first step in appealing the Boards final Decision and Order is to consider whether a Petition for Reconsideration should be filed, or whether a doctor should proceed to the Superior Court and file a Writ of Mandamus seeking to have the Decision of the Board overturned upon order of the Superior Court. This is a very time and labor-intensive undertaking but is one which is available to a doctor who feels that the Decision reached by the Board was erroneous for a variety of reasons.
Petition for Reinstatement Lawyer
A Podiatrist who has received a Podiatrist License Revocation can submit a Petition for Reinstatement. The Petition must show legal, as well as factual, reasons to warrant the reinstatement before the California Board. To have a successful outcome, you need an experienced reinstatement lawyer on your side. The burden of proof falls on the Podiatrist, and we have the knowledge and experience to gather the necessary documents of proof for a favorable outcome.
Applicant for Podiatry License Attorney
All applicants for podiatrists’ license are investigated by the Board. Podiatrists from other states and countries and California Podiatry, including students in California can be denied a License by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine. These denials are often stem from misstatements or omission on the podiatrist license application, past criminal convictions, or other issues which the Board may deem material in determining whether to deny or grant a podiatrist license. Some other issues which may result in denial include discipline against an applicant in another U.S. State by its State Licensing Board, or issues that may have arisen during training and post-graduate study. If the Board decides to deny your license application, you will typically receive a “Statement of Issues” which provides you a due process right to Appeal. You should immediately hire counsel in this situation as this is a delicate situation requiring the assistance of a highly experienced attorney. The burden of proof in this type of case is on the Applicant, and you should immediately retain counsel to assist you in formulating a defensive strategy and approach at hearing. Sometimes, our attorneys are able to avoid a hearing all together and negotiate a settlement with the Board allowing you to receive your license, whether on probationary terms or not, and proceed with your career.
California Board of Podiatric Medicine License and Criminal Convictions
Podiatrists can be disciplined by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine for criminal convictions. This discipline happens for criminal convictions which are “related to the qualifications and duties of a Podiatrist,” and which includes a vast array of convictions which may not seem related to the practice of podiatry, but nevertheless are.
We are proud of our successful defense of Doctors of Podiatric Medicine, who may be facing accusations against their licenses due to arrest, conviction, or allegations of:
- Allowing Unlicensed Assistants to Work Under You
- Altering and/or Forging a Prescription
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Brandishing a Firearm
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Child Abuse and/or Child Endangerment
- Domestic Violence
- Drug/Alcohol Addiction
- Elder Abuse
- False Imprisonment
- Failure to Refer a Patient to Another Physician When Needed
- Hit & Run
- Identity Theft
- Insurance Fraud or Other Forms of Fraudulent Activity
- Negligence, Gross Negligence, or Incompetence in the Performance of Your Duties
- Obtaining a Podiatric License by Fraud
- Patient Abandonment
- Practicing without a License
- Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance and/or Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Public Intoxication
- Real Estate Fraud
- Sex Offenses
- Unprofessional Conduct
- Vehicular Manslaughter
You may view a full list of possible allegations and disciplinary actions the Board may take regarding various allegations online at The Podiatric Medicine Manual of Disciplinary Guidelines at: https://pmbc.ca.gov/lawsregs/1399_710_guidelines.pdf
In some rather egregious cases, the Board can order the Attorney General to seek a California Penal Code § 23 Order against the Podiatrist in cases where a criminal filing has occurred. This California Penal Code § 23 Order seeks to immediately suspend the Podiatrist’s license while the criminal matter is resolved and is a very harsh action that can be taken against a podiatrist. In these situations, it is certainly in your best interest to immediately hire our attorneys to assist you in opposing such a Penal Code 23 action by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine.
You will certainly need experienced representation in this situation, as well as with any disciplinary proceedings, and our attorneys will aggressively and promptly advise and defend you. Give Brown and Brown a call today for a free consultation.
Important Points to Remember From Your Healthcare Defense Attorneys Regarding Any California Board of Podiatric Medicine Case
The most important advice we are constantly giving our new and prospective clients is NOT TO TALK to anyone other than your lawyer about your case. This includes the Board’s representatives, investigators, inspectors, the Attorney General, etc. If you hire the highly experienced attorneys at Brown & Brown, we immediately take the matter over and insulate you from discussing your case with anyone but our firm, which is always in your best interests. This will drastically reduce the possibility of you inadvertently making a case against yourself, which we have seen time and time again. However well meaning you may be, speaking directly to the adversary in such a matter is always risky at best and devastating to your license at worst. Let our attorneys speak for you, which is what we do daily and protect you from the outset in a situation involving discipline or potential discipline of your podiatry license.
Many of our clients come to us when they have been given notice or a subpoena to appear at an investigative conference to discuss an event or events with a Board investigator. If this happens to you, CALL US IMMEDIATELY as we have very specific and important advice for someone in this position! Time is of the essence. Do not wait. You only have 15 days to file a notice of defense – 15 days from the order’s MAILING date.
The bottom line we would ask our potential clients to do is this: Do NOT feel obligated to talk to anyone other than your healthcare defense attorneys about your case. This advice cannot be emphasized enough and will protect you from doing great harm to your case and potentially to your license.
Trust the Highly Experienced Attorneys at Brown & Brown to Help You Keep Your License
Our founding partner, Donald B. Brown, practiced for over 68 years before retiring and his son, Adam B. Brown, is now proudly celebrating over 15 years of successful practice defending licensed professionals before nearly all California Boards and Bureaus. He thoroughly enjoys the feeling of accomplishment he gets when a client’s license is saved and his career is allowed to proceed, thus ensuring both his license and his family are protected and assured a future stream of income.
We know how to achieve winning results for our clients, and we can assure you that-- there is certainly no substitute for experience.
We look forward to providing you with the benefit of over 80 years of combined legal experience and welcome your call or email. Call us today at (310) 792-1315.