Doctor with female patient

California physicians who wish to defend their CA Medical licenses need to be mindful of the legal jeopardy they face if they fail to adhere to appropriate doctor-patient boundaries especially when it comes to accessing private information and developing personal relationships with patients.

The increased adoption of electronic medical record systems (EMR and HER-S software solutions) by large health systems such as Kaiser, among others, now allows primary care physicians and specialists unfettered access to patient information including home addresses, phone numbers and other personal data. While these digitized medical record systems have greatly helped coordination of care within health care networks, they raise other issues of patient confidentiality.

Consider this recent scenario reported by the Medical Board:

Karen, a patient of Doctor Y, was seen by Doctor X exiting the office of Doctor Y at a Kaiser medical office. Doctor X was struck by how attractive Karen was and immediately launched a search to discover Karen’s identity. Having successfully found her phone number through the medical records system, Doctor X initiated contact with Karen with an offer to “consult” with her about her health care condition. The two began getting to know one another outside the hospital which progressed to smoking medical marijuana together and other consensual sexual relations. Ultimately, Karen, who was also being treated for anxiety and depression, became suicidal. When being admitted to an inpatient facility for her mental health issues, Karen revealed to the intake nurse that she was being “treated” by Doctor X and had been, for months. A complaint was filed by the hospital against Doctor X resulting in a formal Accusation and medical board investigation.

The advent of systems where patient data is freely available to practitioners places greater responsibility on all concerned to protect the confidentiality of this information.

If you are a California medical practitioner (physician, nurse, psychologist or social worker), you are putting your medical or nursing license at risk if you use medical record information to approach a patient outside the scope of their medical needs including out of “active benevolence”.

If you have been accused of or are under investigation for having an inappropriate relationship with one of your patients, of unprofessional conduct or misconduct, you need to retain the services of an experienced lawyer immediately. Your medical or nursing license is at stake and using an attorney who understands how to work with the California Board of Medicine and the California Board of Registered Nursing is paramount.

The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California licensed medical professionals including physicians, nurses, psychologists and social workers. We are experienced in handling all types of licensing issues as well as criminal issues. Let us help you protect your professional license, your reputation, and your livelihood.

For additional information or to schedule a consultation about your professional licensing issue, please contact us today Toll Free at (877) 280-9944.