It’s common for the nightly news to run stories featuring California medical professionals who are now facing licensing issues.

As in most states, the Medical Board of California is involved in disciplinary action more often than the general public, or perhaps many doctors, might know.

In 2019, by the first week of June, licenses had been suspended, revoked or surrendered or an order to cease practice had been issued in a total of 91 instances, according to the spreadsheets posted on the board’s website.

Anyone can file a complaint

Anyone can file a complaint against anyone holding a license to practice in California. In the words of the state’s statutes, the board can consider complaints from “the public, from other licensees, from health care facilities, or from the board.”

The statutes very broadly define the kinds of complaints the board can consider, only specifying complaints “that a physician and surgeon may be guilty of unprofessional conduct.” The board is also authorized to look into a medical practice if large awards or a “high number” of awards have been paid out for error, negligence, or omission.

Some disciplinary actions the board can take

With certain important prerequisites, in some cases including a ruling from a California administrative hearings judge, the board has a wide range of options it can use to discipline a licensee.

It can order a license revocation, the suspending of the license to practice for up to a year, a probationary period with monitoring, a public reprimand and more. The public reprimand may include a requirement that the licensee complete an education program approved by the board.