Opioids and Medical Licensure Risks

Hand writing prescription on RX pad

As a trusted resource for physicians applying for new medical licenses, renewing existing medical licenses or reinstating revoked or expired medical licenses, we have seen firsthand how opioid prescriptions can pose risks. We strive to help our clients avoid common licensing pitfalls and one way we do this is presenting information on each state’s guidelines for prescribing controlled substances. Prescribing opioids is an important tool for physicians in treating pain but this can also carry significant risks for the physician when prescribed inappropriately or when the medication is misused by the patients or others.  

How Prescribing Opioids Can Impact Your Licensure

Each state’s medical board publishes information on their stance on opioid prescriptions. Many states even offer resources such as opioid dose calculators, opioid assessment and screening checklists and approved lists of CMEs regarding opioid prescriptions. Since there is significant scrutiny by state medical boards related to opioid prescriptions, it is important to stay abreast of their guidelines to avoid licensing pitfalls. Keep in mind that a state medical board’s primary obligation is to protect the health and safety of patients through oversight of medical practice, particularly in vulnerable populations. If your record of prescribing opioids falls outside their published guidelines, your license may become jeopardized.

Medical License Review Cases Involving Opioids

If your medical license is reviewed due to your opioid prescription record, you should be open and honest with the medical board. Most medical license review cases involving opioids review excessive and unnecessary prescribing. These cases can reveal a variety of physician motivations and triggering conditions including financial gain, sexual favors or impaired judgement secondary to disease or disability, none of which comply with the physician’s primary professional and ethical obligations to the patient. The best way to avoid a medical license review is to familiarize yourself with your state medical board’s guidelines on opioid prescriptions and make sure your opioid prescription record falls within those guidelines. 

What to Do If Your Medical License is Under Review

In addition to being open and honest with the medical board, you should be able to produce accurate and detailed documentation to the reviewers per their request. As a client of MLG, you may request a copy of the records we keep on file for you at any time. This benefit has come in handy for many of our clients who have experienced a review of their medical license. Your licensing specialist at MLG can also assist in developing narrative statements to answer any questions that may arise from the reviewers.   

What to Do If Your Medical License is Revoked

If your medical license is revoked, it is important to respect the medical license reinstatement process. Some states require a specified period of time to pass before you can apply for reinstatement of your medical license. It may also be required to gather a number of witnesses who will attest to the reason why you want to have your medical license reinstated. If the medical board agrees to allow you to reapply for a medical license, your licensing specialist at MLG can handle this process from start to finish. 

If you are concerned about risks to your medical license due to prescribing opioids, call us at 850.433.4600. Our clients are able to take advantage of our experience in assisting physicians whose medical licenses are under review. We are familiar with each state’s guidelines surrounding prescribing opioids and work hard to support our clients in serving as a resource on all matters that may impact your medical licensure.