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Does a Public Reprimand Affect Your Ability to Practice Medicine?

Doctor waiting to find out if public reprimand will affect his medical practice

The job of a healthcare professional can be fulfilling yet challenging at the same time. After all, you may face an investigation and can receive a public reprimand or another disciplinary action from the state medical board if you violate the laws and regulations. In the case of an intentional or unintentional mistake at work, you need to seek the defense services of a lawyer.

What Is a Public Reprimand?

A public reprimand is a form of disciplinary action imposed on healthcare professionals. It is commonly issued to individuals who performed minor violations of the Healthcare Practice Act or Nursing Practice Act. It is also popularly known as a Letter of Public Reprimand (LPR) or a public reproval.

In the state of California, two licensing boards mainly have the authority to issue a public reprimand to medical professionals:

Aside from the MBC and BRN, here are some other healthcare licensing boards that may issue an LPR:

  • Physical Therapy Board of California
  • Dental Board of California, Board of Pharmacy
  • Respiratory Care Board of California
  • Physician Assistant Board of California
  • Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Board of Optometry
  • Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • Osteopathic Medical Board of California
  • Board of Psychology
  • Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
  • Veterinary Medical Board of California

What Is the Public Reprimand Process?

These are the usual steps that you may encounter throughout the public reprimand process:

  • Step 1: Investigation: The MBC, BRN, or another licensing board will investigate if a complaint is filed against you as a healthcare professional or you are arrested for certain law violations.
  • Step 2: Outcome: The investigation may have one of two possible outcomes. The first potential outcome is the closure of the complaint. The second possible outcome is a referral to the California Attorney General’s Office for disciplinary action, which may be dealt with via a settlement or an administrative hearing.
  • Step 3: Issue of Public Reprimand: The MBC, BRN, or another medical board may issue you a public reprimand as a medical professional if you made a minor violation of the Healthcare Practice Act or Nursing Practice Act.

Does a Public Reprimand Affect Your Ability to Practice Medicine?

An LPR will not immediately affect your ability to continue working and is generally a preferable outcome compared to other serious disciplinary actions. A public reproval is considered a lesser discipline since it will not cause your medical license to be revoked or suspended.

Even if you receive a public demand, you can continue to work as a healthcare professional. Nevertheless, based on your situation, you may be required to complete coursework or pay fines as a part of your disciplinary action.

What Should You Do if You Receive a Public Reprimand?

While a public reprimand will not place any technical restrictions on your medical license, it may still negatively impact your healthcare career. In addition, you may miss out on employment opportunities because some employers view individuals who have any type of discipline on their work records negatively.

That’s why you need to seek the services of a lawyer who specializes in license defense if you receive a public reproval. A knowledgeable, experienced license defense attorney can help protect your medical career so you can continue your career unencumbered.

How Long Will a Public Reprimand Remain Online?

A public reprimand involves the public announcement of your disciplinary action. As a result, potential employers and the general public can access your disciplinary records if they search for your professional license online. The exact duration of the online availability of your LPR will be based on the kind of healthcare license you have:

  • Physicians and Surgeons: If you are a physician or surgeon licensed by the MBC, your public reproval will be accessible on the website for ten years.
  • Nurses: If you are a nurse licensed by the BRN, your LPR will remain available online for three years.

Note that other licensing boards may have their guidelines regarding the duration of a public reprimand. A license defense attorney can inform you regarding these timelines.

Keep in mind that the period only begins once the conditions of the public reproval have been completed. You should pay all the necessary fines and take up the recommended coursework as soon as possible.

Get Experienced Representation

A public reprimand from the medical board may not lead to the suspension or revocation of your medical license, but it can still affect your healthcare career.

Contact our law office if your licensing board issues you a public reproval or disciplinary action. We are ready to help you minimize the negative impact of your public reprimand on your career through our license defense expertise.