If you are a veterinarian facing a citation from the California Veterinary Medical Board (Board), the following are five tips for evaluating the citation and determining its impact on the future of your practice:
1. Forget about the fine.
Carefully review the language of the citation to see if it is something detrimental to your career, something you cannot live with, and something that will be utilized against you in any future proceeding by the Board. The amount of the fine should be low on your list of initial priorities.
2. Malpractice Insurance.
Review your malpractice insurance to see if you have coverage for appealing the citation. This might help you to pay for experts, legal fees, and the costs of appeal. You may not have insurance that will cover the fine, but at least you should know whether you can afford to fight it. Furthermore, how will the citation affect your rate?
3. Consult with Attorney.
At least meet or discuss your options with an experienced attorney. You do not necessarily need to obtain legal counsel at this juncture. Rather, an initial consult should be enough to review the language of the citation and to see if you may negotiate with the Board about modifying the citation at the mandatory informal conference the Board is required to conduct.
4. Proactive Defense and Rehabilitation.
Is the subject matter of the citation in an area where you have had any issue before or fear that you may have an issue again in the future? For example, if you have been sued for negligence or have had another Board complaint, how does the citation relate? When consulting with your attorney, it should be something you discuss. You should get ahead of the underlying issue and ensure that the next time you hear from the Board, it is not in an Accusation.
5. Proactive Informal Resolution.
Most citations and license discipline are triggered by consumer complaints. So, to avoid Board interaction, get ahead of the issue. As painful as it may be, engage the pet owner prior to the owner filing a complaint with the Board. We recommend dealing with them directly to prevent such complaints and possible citations and disciplinary actions.
For further information regarding Board citations, please review our website or feel free to give us an a free initial consultation.