Unlicensed Practice Issues
In California, it is illegal to practice medicine without a valid license within the state. According to the Medical Practice Act, Business and Professions Code section 2052, "Any person who practices or attempts to practice, or holds himself or herself out as practicing…[medicine] without having at the time of doing so a valid, unrevoked, or unsuspended certificate…is guilty of a public offense." Even if you have completed medical school or hold a license in another state, you may not legally practice medicine in California. Licensed providers can also be charged with aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine if their employees, agents or independent contractors engage in such conduct. If convicted of unlicensed practice, the penalties may include fines or imprisonment, or both, whether or not an individual has suffered harm as a result. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. There can also be collateral consequences to one's professional license.
These cases usually arise when businesses who are not owned by medical professionals work with medical professionals and proper due diligence was not followed. Other states do not have laws as strict as California and face issues when they come into California. We see cases where third party companies "hire" physicians or where management companies enter into arrangements with medical professionals without obtaining a proper agreement.
If you have been accused of practicing medicine without a license in Los Angeles, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at Green & Associates has specialized knowledge and experience in criminal defense law and medical licensing, allowing us to effectively protect medical professionals charged with unlicensed practice. To learn about your legal rights and options, schedule a comprehensive consultation with us by dialing (213) 233-2260. We will fight on your behalf to protect your name, reputation, and future.
What Constitutes Unlicensed Practice of Medicine?
Without a valid license to practice medicine in California, medical professionals and providers, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, and other healthcare workers, may suffer serious legal, financial, and professional penalties. It is illegal to knowingly practice medicine without a license or with a suspended, revoked, or expired license. It is also illegal to practice outside the scope of healthcare provider's license (such as a nurse or physician assistant).
The following acts may constitute unauthorized practice of medicine if performed by an unlicensed individual or if outside the scope of a person's license:
- Ownership or control of a physician's medical practice by a layperson
- Practicing telemedicine for patients in a state where you are not licensed
- Attempting to diagnose or treat an illness or injury
- Prescribing or dispensing medications or controlled dangerous substances
- Performing surgery or using devices to penetrate tissues
- Practicing medicine beyond scope of training, beyond delegation of services or unsupervised by a licensed physician
- Signing a chart using a false name or the identity of another person who is licensed to practice medicine
Owners and employees at medical spas, non-profit hospitals, medical students, midwives, and employees are also prohibited from practicing medicine or providing services that require a professional license. It is also important to note that employing an individual who does not have a valid medical license may result in charges for aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine.
Additionally, under the Business and Professions Code section 2400 of the Medical Practice Act, "Corporations and other artificial entities shall have no professional rights, privileges, or powers." For example, non-physicians at the corporate level, such as managers, cannot perform the following:
- Determine or order diagnostic tests for a particular condition or patient
- Determine the need for referrals or medical consultations
- Assume responsibility for a patient's overall care and treatment
- Determine how many patients a physician must see in a given hour
- Hire or fire physicians, health staff, or medical assistants based on clinical competency or proficiency
You will need an attorney that has extensive knowledge and experience handling medical licensing issues and criminal defense cases if you are under investigation, have been arrested, or are currently facing charges for unlicensed practice of medicine.
For more information about current laws and regulations regarding the practice of medicine, please visit the Medical Board of California's website.
Protecting Your License and Reputation
Accusations or investigation for unlicensed practice in the health care industry can have serious, career-ending consequences, regardless of the outcome of the case. Take action as soon as you can. Green & Associates has helped numerous medical professionals and laypersons resolve allegations of unlicensed practice and will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights and reputation are protected. Contact us online or by calling (213) 233-2260 for a consultation.