The California Legislature regulates the conduct of Practitioners authorized to prescribe addictive (controlled) drugs under California Business and Professions Code Section 725. If you are a California physician, veterinarian or dentist, you know the risks of losing your professional license as a medical professional for writing prescriptions to service your own or someone else’s drug addictions as well as other charges alleging medical misconduct (unprofessional conduct).
Medical Board Investigations for Excessive Prescribing: Implications and Risks
A single complaint, easily submitted these days, online, by a patient, patient’s family, pharmacist or by another medical facility employee can trigger an investigation by the California Medical Board. No actual proof is needed to start the state’s investigation against you. And, with the internet, the capabilities of the Medical Board to track a medical professional’s prescribing habits has expanded exponentially. Board investigators can search all scripts by prescription name or number, prescription type and prescriber name using the CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System).
The California Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) is a database of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled-substance prescriptions dispensed in California. Access to CURES is limited to licensed prescribers and licensed pharmacists strictly for patients in their direct care; and regulatory-board staff and law-enforcement personnel for official oversight or investigatory purposes.
A charge of excessive prescribing can place your California license to practice medicine in jeopardy as well as opening you up to potential criminal charges. Excessive prescribing of Opioids is a misdemeanor criminal offense if the court finds that a physician, dentist’s or veterinarian’s prescribing behavior demonstrates “repeated acts of clearly excessive prescribing or administering of drugs or treatment.” Criminal conviction can result in court fines and/or imprisonment for a term of 60 days to 6 months and a criminal conviction can also result in permanent revocation of a medical license.
The Medical Board’s Investigatory Process
California Medical Board inquiries surrounding cases of excessive prescribing review of patient records to determine if the prescribing was in line with Standards of Care within the practitioner’s community. The Board will discipline the provider if it determines after its investigation that the medical professional committed repeated acts of excessive prescribing, furnishing, dispensing, or administering of drugs or treatment as determined by the standard of the community of licensees is unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon…” per Business & Professions Code Section 725(a).
The Board will conduct a detailed review of the provider’s patient records in order to make its assessment about whether the medical professionals has met the Standard of Care of the community for safe and effective prescribing of drugs. This includes medical histories, exam records, treatment plans, progress toward treatment objectives and informed consent records.
If you have been notified that you are under investigation by the California Medical Board as a result of a complaint against you, you should immediately contact the Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister. Our attorneys are experienced in both California Licensing Law as well as Criminal Law, an essential skillset for any physician at risk of losing their medical license and faced with possible criminal charges. We know how to advise medical professionals about the type and level of documentation necessary to satisfy the Medical Board’s investigators and/or demonstrate that the prescribing had a sound medical basis medical basis (under Section 725(c) or was part of a treatment plan for intractable pain (Section 2241.5).
The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California-licensed physicians with the California Medical Board. We understand the unique legal complexities facing medical professionals. We have the knowledge and experience to craft a comprehensive strategy and are dedicated to navigating your specific case from the accusation and through the investigation to the disciplinary process and we can legally defend your professional interests.
For additional information or to schedule a consultation about your professional licensing issue, please contact us today at (877) 280-9944.
CURES homepage link: https://oag.ca.gov/cures
Mandatory-use link: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/pdmp/cures-mandatory-use.pdf
FAQ link: https://oag.ca.gov/cures/faqs#top
CURES webinar (YouTube video) training link: https://youtu.be/cJJ_FLylU6I