Spotlight on California Medical Board in opioid-prescribing matter

Spotlight on California Medical Board in opioid-prescribing matter

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2021 | Ethics & Professional Responsibility

Some people might expect a California doctor recently disciplined by state medical authorities for her prescribing history of opioids to feel repentant and express remorse.

That’s far from the case. The physician – a primary care MD located in a small northern California community – says that she is actually “still incredibly angry about the whole thing” after reluctantly agreeing to a settlement with the state’s Medical Board.

The bottom line, from her perspective: She was forced to sign off on a number of unfairly doled out practice restrictions applicable to the next several years in order to preserve the continuity of quality care for her large patient pool.

“I have some guilt about caving,” the doctor stated following the settlement announcement. She coupled that declaration with a pointed comment concerning the Medical Board, charging it with notably uninformed and casually issued punishment of doctors prescribing opioids to select patients. And she noted that the delimiting practice controls now placed upon her were announced absent a board finding that any of her treated patients were harmed while under her care.

“I feel that the medical board is actually contributing to increased deaths in California,” she says, “as well as tragically harming our profession.”

The settlement enables the doctor to continue practicing while being under probation for the next 35 months. She must keep detailed prescribing records of controlled substances during that time and keep them readily available for regulatory scrutiny.

Moreover, she must be routinely monitored by another doctor and undergo educational training linked to opioid prescribing.

The doctor’s case underscores the close oversight and compliance powers of California regulators in professional licensing matters. Questions or concerns regarding an occupational challenge from state authorities can be addressed to a proven license-defense legal team.