Grounds for Discipline by the Oregon Medical Board

Licensed medical professionals are accountable to the governing body of their license. This body manages the quality, education, and discipline of those licensed under that body. This oversight is particularly important today when patients frequently feel dismissed or not heard by their care team.

Sometimes, we may be unsure of what a professional or ethical violation is, particularly compared to poor customer service. If a physician or medical provider’s mistake has caused you unnecessary injury, speaking with a Portland medical malpractice attorney with Paulsen Coletti Trial Attorneys may be the right move.

Oregon Medical Board

The Oregon Medical Board (OMB) can handle complaints and determine discipline regarding physicians for whom they license. So, the first step in determining if your situation may be grounds for discipline is to ensure the physician holds a license through the OMB. This information can be found under licensing on the OMB website.

The professional licenses that the OMB oversees include:

The OMB reports that they receive around 800 complaints per year. Regarding investigations, they complete about 400 of them per year. Any complaints not investigated may be due to being outside of their jurisdiction, or the complaint may be for something unrelated to ethical practice and licensure.

Submitting a Complaint

The OMB requires a written complaint form to be submitted. After you complete the form, it should be mailed to the Oregon Medical Board at 1500 SW 1st Ave, Suite 620, Portland, Oregon 97201. You may also provide a detailed written letter explaining your grievance.

Some of the information requested is:

Grounds for License Suspension or Revocation

The Oregon Medical Board website tells us that there are 27 reasons that a professional medical license in Oregon may be withheld, suspended, or revoked. According to 677.190 of the Oregon code, those reasons are as follows:

  1. Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct. This may include having dual or sexual relationships with clients.
  2. May not employ someone to solicit patients for the licensee, with the exception of professional associations or insurance contracts
  3. Telling a patient that you can cure an illness that the general medical community designates as incurable
  4. Taking payment by fraud or misrepresentation
  5.  Willfully or negligently sharing patient information without expressed consent.
  6. Convicted of a crime punishable by incarceration unless the conviction was for providing reproductive or gender-affirming care that is lawful in Oregon and the services were performed in accordance with standard of care practices
  7. Impairment
  8. Fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining your license
  9. Making knowingly false or misleading statements about the skill, quality, or efficacy of a treatment
  10. Impersonating another licensee or allowing someone else to use your license
  11. Knowingly aiding or abetting the practice of medicine or podiatry by someone who is unlicensed.
  12. Using your name under the professional designation (i.e., doctor/ Dr.) to mislead the public
  13. Gross or repeated negligence while practicing medicine or podiatry
  14. Incapacity to practice medicine or podiatry
  15. Disciplinary action taken by another state, except in the context of providing reproductive or gender-affirming care in accordance with medical standards
  16. Failing to designate the degree appearing on the license in accordance with requirements
  17. Willfully violating any part of the chapter or OMG requests
  18. Failing to report the change in the location of practice for the license
  19. Imprisonment
  20. Making a fraudulent claim
  21. Performing psychosurgery
  22. Refusing a request for an informal interview at the OMB request
  23. Violation of the Federal Controlled Substance Act
  24. Prescribing a controlled substance without a legitimate purpose
  25. Providing written documentation for debilitating illness that you have not observed and diagnosed
  26. Failing to report to the OMB any other action taken against another governing licensing agency.
  27. Failure to report resignation from a healthcare facility during an investigation

The majority of causes for discipline are ethical problems like misleading patients or fraud in documentation or billing. However, many lawsuits surround complaints about negligence or gross negligence. Cornell Law School defines gross negligence as a lack of care that demonstrates reckless disregard for the safety of others. This is negligence that is so extreme that it shows an almost intentional disinterest in the safety of others. Gross negligence is a more severe version of negligence, almost bordering on intentional.

Examples of Negligence

Frequently, cases of ongoing negligence or an act of gross negligence will result in a complaint to the OBM and a malpractice lawsuit. Examples of malpractice can include things like operating on the wrong side of the body or leaving instruments inside someone during surgery, which can lead to further complications.

Misdiagnoses are another common complaint. For example, suppose you went to the emergency room with abdominal pain, and the physician determined it was gas when any other reasonable physician would have taken steps to see it was a bowel obstruction. This condition is life-threatening and, if left untreated, may lead to permanent disability or become a Portland wrongful death lawsuit.

Other examples of negligence or malpractice may be delayed diagnoses. This can result in catastrophic injury in some cases. While some diagnoses will take time, it becomes negligent when any other competent physician would have appropriately diagnosed the condition.

Determining How to Proceed

Not all malpractice settlements will result in disciplinary action from the board so when in doubt, submit your complaint. If it does not meet the criteria of an ethical or code violation, the board will screen it out, and no harm will result. However, if you have a valid reason for filing a complaint, you deserve to see it through, and in many cases, you may be entitled to compensation with help from an experienced medical malpractice firm.