Even three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there still is widespread misinformation regarding the virus. Physicians, as certified medical experts, are typically trusted sources by their own patients and the public at large for all medical questions and concerns. However, the country has noticed ongoing misconduct regarding COVID-19, including within the medical profession.
As a result, states like California are seeking to reprimand and correct this injustice by investigating physicians. With the passing of legislation related to the spread of misinformation, now more than ever physicians must be careful about following the compliance and regulations in place or risk revocation of their medical licenses.
California Assembly Bill 2098 was signed by Governor Newsom on September 30, 2022. AB 2098 seeks to challenge the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 patient care from physicians and surgeons. A large contributing factor to the low vaccination rate is related to public misinformation on the risks, prevention, and vaccines available.
Notably, this legislation would not apply to social media accounts, or any conversations not directly related to COVID-19 care in a patient-and-client relationship. This means physicians and surgeons, while not advised to do so, can still discuss or post as they see fit.
The act defines misinformation and disinformation as follows:
There are a variety of reasons why a medical license may be revoked. Some major contributing factors may be:
AB 2098 would also fall under the list. In all, revoking a physician’s license is in the physician’s and patient’s best interest. If they are not adequate to be providing care, then it is best for their license to be suspended or revoked.
However, in some cases, the revocation was not warranted. For example, if your medical license was revoked due to alcohol-related charges while off-duty you may be able to argue the lack of correlation between the instance and your ability to practice medicine. Similarly, there may be revocation defenses due to the denial of due process or self-incrimination. Each defense will be circumstantial and require professional guidance from a medical license defense attorney.
If you believe your medical license was revoked under false conditions, a healthcare attorney will assist you in the next steps. The typical course of action would be replying to the Board’s disciplinary action letter within the specified period. After that, a hearing will be conducted in which you will have the opportunity to present your defense including testimonials, and proper documentation. If the result of the hearing is still not favorable, you may file an appeal to the higher courts. Keep in mind that the process may be lengthy and costly. In some scenarios, it may not be in the best interest of the physician to go through the process.
If your revocation was proven to be accurate due to your actions, then you will be prohibited from practicing medicine in the state of California. As a result, the Medical Board will publicly post the documentation related to the disciplinary action for up to 10 years. After 10 years, the documentation will be available upon written request.
Those who choose to do so may file a petition for reinstatement. In doing so, so long as their skills and education are current, the physician or surgeon may not need to retake the Boards or recertify similar requirements. The petition for reinstatement must be completed at least 3 years after the initial disciplinary action while accounting for additional time considerations. It is important that the petition is filed after a significant time has elapsed to show the Board personal growth. The right medical license defense lawyer will help you determine how to approach the petition for the best results.
When AB 2098 is enacted, many physicians and medical practices will have to deal with the consequences. While those who are intentionally spreading misinformation about COVID-19 may struggle to appeal their medical license revocation, there is still hope for physicians facing accusations.
The right medical license defense lawyer will work with you to understand the alleged circumstances and provide appropriate legal actions to take. Fenton Law Group has over 30 years of experience in fighting for individual rights in medical revocation cases. Their medical license defense attorneys will use a personalized approach to examine your best course of action to get back to practicing medicine.
For those facing a medical revocation under AB 2098 or for any other reason, it is advised you seek immediate legal representation. Contact us today to speak with a medical license defense attorney.