Houston Medical License Defense Attorney
Representing Clients in Texas and Across the Nation - (713) 909-7323
At Hendershot Cowart, P.C., we represent professionals who are facing allegations and disciplinary actions against their Texas professional licenses. We provide aggressive, thorough representation in all cases involving licensure needs, from seeking licensure to disciplinary actions and administrative law judge disciplinary trials. We also represent hospitals and other health care organizations in licensing matters.
We serve the licensure needs of health care professionals throughout Texas. Schedule a consultation today by calling (713) 909-7323.
Why Hendershot Cowart? Preparation Matters.
We are the firm that experienced medical professionals turn to for aggressive, effective license defense when called before a Texas licensing board for a disciplinary hearing. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we know how to provide the defense to a disciplinary action against you and prepare the strongest case possible, whether before the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, the Texas Board of Nursing, or a hospital peer review.
We have a successful record helping licensed professionals defend their careers against all types of disciplinary actions and criminal charges when they are accused of:
- Improper diagnosis and treatment
- Surgical and medical errors
- Errors involving improper medications
- Standard of care issues
- Regulatory and licensure nonconformance
- Hospital records and communications issues
In any licensure matter, we focus on early, thorough preparation. We understand that licensure matters call for an aggressive defense, but not the same kind of defense used in litigation. Our license defense lawyers offer a more nuanced approach based on our years of experience with the Texas Medical Board and other licensing boards in the state.
Texas Medical Board (TMB) Complaints
Any matter involving a TMB complaint, no matter how innocuous it may seem at first, needs to be treated with the utmost care. Even a minor matter can quickly escalate into a career-altering ordeal if not handled properly.
Accordingly, doctors and physician's assistants who have received an initial complaint letter from the TMB should retain seasoned legal counsel immediately. We are well versed in TMB complaint cases and have successfully defended our clients' reputations and ability to continue to engage in the medical profession.
You may come to the Medical Board's attention in any number of ways, such as a patient complaint or a peer review proceeding at a hospital, a medical malpractice settlement or judgment, or reports from other doctors. Once the board has received a complaint, prompt, thorough attention is critical.
We aggressively defend clients through all stages of TMB complaints, including:
- Investigations by TMB staff: During the initial investigation that follows receipt of a complaint, the TMB staff will determine whether the complaint has merit and whether the TMB has jurisdiction over the case. The TMB may contact you for information. If you fail to provide it, you can harm your case and violate the practice act. Quickly and thoroughly responding to requests for information is part of our aggressive defense.
After conducting the investigation, the board will determine whether it believes a violation occurred. If it finds a violation, it will schedule an informal settlement conference.
- Informal settlement conferences (ISC): During this conference, at least two representatives from the TMB will consider allegations, review records and reports presented by the accused, and make an informal recommendation as to whether the charges should be dropped or pursued further.
The informal settlement conference is your chance to provide a full response to the complaint. You may call your own expert witnesses and provide other evidence, but you have a very short notification period to prepare your defense. Our job is to be ready to present a full defense, with the goal of eliminating the violation or substantially reducing it.
- Decision and proposed order: After the ISC, the board will deliberate and issue an immediate decision about whether a violation occurred and what sanctions will be issued. You will receive a formal proposed order as well. We can advise you of the impact of the order. If you disagree with it, you will have the option to request an administrative proceeding. Up to this point, the complaint process is confidential.
- State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) - mediation and trial: If an agreement cannot be reached, then a public complaint is filed. An administrative law judge will initially preside over a mediation process, where both sides will have another chance to find an amicable resolution to the matter. If no agreement is reached, an administrative trial will occur and the allegations, facts and all other relevant information will be presented.
The administrative proceeding is adversarial in nature, but it is not litigation, and strategies commonly used in litigation may not be in your best interest. We understand how to aggressively defend you against complaints before the TMB and in administrative hearings.
Nursing Board Licensure Defense
Nurses can face licensure matters just as physicians do. Procedurally, the complaint process before the Texas Board of Nursing is similar to that of the Texas Medical Board. In practice, however, the board takes different approaches within that same process. We understand the nuances of the Board of Nursing and we will build our strategy for your case based on our deep understanding.
We defend the licenses of other medical professionals as vigorously as we do those of nurses and physicians.
Peer Review Proceedings
You have the right to obtain legal representation if your professional credentials or standards of care have come under investigation in a peer review proceeding, but you must act quickly. Peer review proceedings are governed by hospital bylaws and due process procedures, which often have time limits governing when you need to respond or your rights will be waived.
There are no set standards for a peer review proceeding. Each hospital has bylaws and a fair hearing plan with strict notification requirements. If you miss one of the technical elements of the bylaws or plan, you will lose the opportunity to defend yourself.
If your privileges are removed as a result of the peer review proceedings, the consequences could follow you for the rest of your career. Your future employability could be affected, and you will be reported to the National Practitioners' Databank. These consequences can happen even if your privileges are merely limited at the hospital rather than taken away. In some cases, peer review proceedings can include a summary suspension in which decisions are made without your input.
Because peer review proceedings are unique and the stakes are so high, contact us as soon as you suspect you may have a peer review proceedings issue. We emphasize prompt, thorough preparation and aggressive defense.
Individual providers are not the only ones subject to a labyrinth of regulations and requirements.
Hospitals and other facilities also must deal with licensure and compliance-related issues such as:
- Medicare/Medicaid applications: We are well versed in the regulatory work necessary to obtain or transfer Medicare/Medicaid/managed care contracts. This includes preparing the 855/855a/855b forms for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
- HIPAA compliance: After an alleged HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violation has occurred, we can guide you through all of the steps necessary to prove that your facility is in full compliance with HIPAA or to mitigate any damage if an actual violation has taken place.
- Diagnostic test anti-markup statutes issues: CMS rules implemented in 2009 prohibit applying a markup to the technical component or the professional component of a diagnostic test purchased from an outside supplier with whom the physician shares a practice.
- Physician recruitment: We draft and review physician recruitment agreements that help hospitals and physicians develop productive relationships that are in compliance with Stark and fraud abuse prohibitions.
- Employment agreements: We draft and review physician employment agreements and advise clients on the impact of compensation agreements, covenants not to compete, confidentiality agreements and non-solicitation agreements.
Our understanding of these issues and related concepts is constantly evolving, as we are dedicated to remaining at the forefront of all emerging issues that can affect our institutional clients.
Skilled Nursing Facility/Assisted Living Facility Licensure
In addition to representing physicians, hospitals and clinics, we represent nursing homes, assisted living facilities and a wide range of other medical facilities that are regulated by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). From setting up business entities at the start of these institutions' life cycles to representation during investigations, we provide you with the guidance and insight you need.
A DADS investigation can affect the rating of a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. Your rating could affect many aspects of your facility. We often work with nursing home administrators before investigations and inspections are initiated. We help prepare and implement compliance programs, prepare for inspections, and challenge and appeal the results of investigations.
Protect Your License and Your Livelihood
Whether you need help obtaining licensure or need to mount a powerful criminal defense against allegations that can impact your existing medical license, call Hendershot Cowart, P.C. at (713) 909-7323 or fill out an online form to arrange a consultation.