Updated: Oct 24
The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is responsible for regulating the practice of medicine in the State of Texas. When a complaint against a doctor is filed with the TMB, a series of steps are taken to investigate the allegations and determine if any disciplinary action is warranted. In this first article of a six-part series, we will provide a more detailed overview of each step of the process for a physician defending a board complaint. The focus of this piece is on the submission of a complaint.
How Submission of a Complaint Begins
Complaints may be tendered to the TMB by patients, other healthcare professionals, or anyone who believes they have a valid concern about a doctor's conduct or competence. The TMB has an online portal where complainants can make their submissions electronically. Complaints may also be presented by mailing a written document to the TMB's official address. Or, individuals may call the TMB's complaint hotline. The online portal, mailing address, and hotline number are available on the TMB's website.
When submitting a complaint, the TMB requires the complainant to complete a specific form or provide detailed written information about the alleged misconduct. The form typically includes fields for the complainant's contact information, the doctor's information, a description of the alleged wrongful conduct, and any relevant supporting documents or evidence. It is important for the complainant to provide as much detailed and accurate information as possible in order the for the agency to conduct its initial review.
The TMB takes privacy and confidentiality seriously. Complaints are typically treated as confidential, but it is important to be aware that in certain circumstances, the identity of the complainant may become known during the course of the investigation or legal proceedings. The TMB does accept anonymous complaints, but it is generally more challenging to investigate and resolve complaints without the cooperation of the complainant, especially when details are limited.
After a complaint is submitted, the TMB usually sends an acknowledgment or confirmation of receipt to the complainant. This correspondence may include a reference number or case number for tracking the progress of the complaint. And throughout the investigation process, the TMB may request additional information or clarification from the complainant.
Facing a board complaint and its various processes and possible litigation proceedings is a frightening set of circumstance for physicians. But, the best course of action is to understand each step in the progression of the filing, not panic, and seek legal assistance. There are various stages to the process and each must be understood and undertaken, one step at a time, to ensure the best possible outcome in terms of success on the merits and in a manner that is economically efficient.