For some time now, the Medical Board has been the only licensing board which did not impose cost recovery on licensees who violate the standard of care or any other violation of a licensing statute. This was per a statutory carve-out from the general cost recovery requirement for disciplinary cases contained in Bus & Prof. Code 125.3 (k). However, this carve-out has been removed from the law effective the beginning of the new year (i.e. Janiuary 1, 2022). What that means is that any settlement or administrative disciplinary finding against an MD after that date will have a cost recovery component in the settlement or proposed decision by the administrative law judge, like all other such orders in other professional board actions.
Boards are entitled to recover investigative costs and the legal fees charged by the Attorney General’s office, which I believe are calculated at $220 per hour. Also included are expert fees. I have seen fees on simple cases as low as $7,500 and as high as $80k for hotly contested cases. And those 80k cases are relatively old, so they would be higher today because the AG’s office has doubled it hourly rate since those old cases.
This only is of urgent interest to California physicians currently facing a medical board accusation who are deciding whether to partake in an administrative hearing. Of course, if you have a good defense, then it still might make sense to duke it out with the board. But if you’re just trying to buy time and delay the inevitable; just know that it’s going to cost you.
Rick Jaffe Esq.