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How to avoid losing your state medical license. (This From the Chair of a State Board).

PALM BEACH, FLA. -- Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah, chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine, has the following tips for avoiding a run in with your state board:

* Don't have sex with patients. "If you ever want to lose your license instantly, have sex with your patients," Dr. Zachariah said at the annual meeting of the Florida Society of Dermatology A sexual relationship can easily lead to blackmail if narcotics are ever prescribed for that patient. The patient may say that he or she will inform the authorities about the relationship unless the physician meets their demand for the drug.

* Document what you prescribe to yourself, family, and friends. Although it is legal for a physician to give a prescription to a friend, that physician must do the necessary exams and tests and document them. "Maybe your golfing buddy is allergic to the penicillin you gave him and he has a complication," Dr. Zachariah said. "You're responsible for that."

Dr. Zachariah described a case in which a physician gave narcotics to his wife and did not document doing so.

In divorce court, she claimed that her physician-husband was a drug addict who got her addicted to the medications. "Family does not always stay family," he said.

* Read the fine print at license renewal. Oversee the renewal process, Dr. Zachariah advised. "It's not the office manager's license, it's yours." In Florida, CME requirements are audited, and physicians must keep their CME receipts for 4 years. Any financial responsibility requirements are also subject to an audit.

* Check a prospective employee's credentials before you hire. That physician assistant or nurse practitioner you're thinking of hiring may be a persuasive phony Aiding the unlicensed practice of medicine can result in license revocation.

* Don't presign any prescriptions. Some patients may fill in a blank, presigned prescription with a narcotic for themselves or their friends. In Florida, the maximal penalties for this include a reprimand, $5,000 fine, and 2 years of probation.

* Notify your state's board of medicine before you move to a new practice. A physician without a current address on file with the state board of medicine is practicing with an inactive license--a criminal offense. Insurance companies may take back 6 months of payments from a physician practicing without an active license. And if that physician with an inactive license leaves Florida for another state, that state also may take action against the physician.
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Author:Evans, Jeff
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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