When can the Nevada Medical Board impose discipline and suspend your license?


Doctors, physician assistants, and respiratory care practitioners face disciplinary action by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners for committing felony crimes or medical-related misconduct.

Medical providers accused of criminal offenses or other misconduct have the right to a hearing in front of the Medical Board. If the Board finds against the provider, the Board can impose various penalties, including:

  • a reprimand,
  • $5,000 fine,
  • conditions on the medical license,
  • license suspension, or
  • license revocation

Medical providers are advised to have an attorney present at these disciplinary hearings.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:

Female doctor with clipboard
Nevada doctors convicted of felonies face disciplinary actions by the Board of Medical Examiners.

1. How does Nevada's Board of Medical Examiners work?

The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners is a state association that grants medical licenses to doctors, physician assistants, and respiratory care practitioners. Additionally, the Board conducts investigations on and disciplines licensees for misconduct.

The Board is comprised of the following Nevada Governor appointees:

  • 6 doctors,
  • 1 representative of health care providers for the poor, and
  • 2 non-doctors to represent the general public

Board members can serve two consecutive terms of four years each. The Board meets several times a year and makes the agendas and minutes public online.1

2. Can I apply for a Nevada medical license if I have a criminal record?

The Medical Board may deny licenses to applicants who have been convicted of the following crimes in Nevada or elsewhere:

Cartoon rendering of medical license
Having a criminal record can impede a doctor from getting a Nevada medical license.

In sum, people with serious criminal convictions on their record may be automatically disqualified from becoming a doctor, physician's assistant, or respiratory care provider in Nevada.

Applicants with minor misdemeanors on their records such as trespass or even a DUI may still be eligible for medical licenses. But the Board will ask for documentation to show that the applicants have completed all the court-imposed sentencing terms.2

2.1. Can the Nevada Medical Board see my sealed criminal records?

The Board's Medical License Application instructs applicants to reveal all their past arrests and convictions, even if they have been expunged or sealed. Sometimes, even sealed records may surface when the Board runs the applicant's fingerprints...

gavel and stethoscope
The Nevada Medical Board may be able to see an applicant's sealed criminal records.

If the Board discovers that a person has a criminal record when he/she did not mention it on the application, the Board can consider the application "fraudulent" and deny the person a license. Therefore, applicants with sealed records are advised to consult with a lawyer while preparing the paperwork...

The lawyer can try to look into whether a fingerprint search yields the applicant's sealed records. This information could then help guide the applicant how to proceed with filling out the paperwork for the Board.3

Learn more about Nevada criminal record seals.

3. What crimes or misconduct can trigger disciplinary action against me by the Nevada Medical Board?

The Medical Board may initiate disciplinary proceedings against licensed doctors, physicians, and respiratory care providers for getting convicted of any of the following offenses:

  • a felony relating to the practice of medicine or the ability to practice medicine;
  • a violation of certain insurance-related laws (NRS 616D.200, 616D.220, 616D.240, 616D.300, 616D.310, or 616D.350 to 616D.440);
  • murder, voluntary manslaughter or mayhem;
  • any felony involving the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon;
  • assault with intent to kill or to commit sexual assault or mayhem;
  • sexual assault, statutory sexual seduction, incest, lewdness, indecent exposure or any other sexually related crime;
  • abuse or neglect of a child or contributory delinquency;
  • a violation of any federal or state law regulating the possession, distribution, or use of any controlled substance or any dangerous drug; or
  • any offense involving moral turpitude

The Board may also initiate disciplinary proceedings against licensed doctors, physicians, and respiratory care providers for various acts of misconduct, some of which include:

  • any disciplinary action (such as revocation of one's medical license in another state);
  • malpractice;
  • the engaging by a practitioner in any sexual activity with a patient who is currently being treated by the practitioner;
  • the engaging in conduct that brings the medical profession into disrepute;
  • the engaging in sexual contact with the surrogate of a patient or other key persons related to a patient, which exploits the relationship between the physician and the patient in a sexual manner;
  • obtaining, maintaining or renewing or attempting to obtain, maintain or renew a license to practice medicine by bribery, fraud or misrepresentation or by any false, misleading, inaccurate or incomplete statement;
  • advertising the practice of medicine in a false, deceptive or misleading manner;
  • practicing or attempting to practice medicine under another name;
  • signing a blank prescription form;
  • charging for visits to the physician's office which did not occur or for services which were not rendered or documented in the records of the patient;
  • aiding, assisting, employing or advising, directly or indirectly, any unlicensed person to engage in the practice of medicine contrary to the provisions of this chapter or the regulations of the Board;
  • delegating responsibility for the care of a patient to a person if the licensee knows, or has reason to know, that the person is not qualified to undertake that responsibility;
  • failing to disclose to a patient any financial or other conflict of interest;
  • inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety because of illness, a mental or physical condition or the use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics or any other substance;
  • making or filing a report which the licensee or applicant knows to be false or failing to file a record or report as required by law or regulation;
  • failure to be found competent to practice medicine as a result of an examination to determine medical competency pursuant to NRS 630.318;
  • engaging in any act that is unsafe or unprofessional conduct in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board;
  • making or filing a report which the licensee knows to be false, failing to file a record or report as required by law, or knowingly or willfully obstructing or inducing another to obstruct such filing;
  • failure to make the medical records of a patient available for inspection and copying as provided in NRS 629.061, if the licensee is the custodian of health care records with respect to those records.
  • failure to comply with the requirements of NRS 630.3068;
  • failure to report any person the licensee knows, or has reason to know, is in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the regulations of the Board within 30 days after the date the licensee knows or has reason to know of the violation; or
  • fraudulent, illegal, unauthorized or otherwise inappropriate prescribing, administering or dispensing of a controlled substance listed in schedule II, III or IV.

It is also grounds for disciplinary action for licensees to not notify the Board if they have been convicted of a crime (other than minor traffic violations) or have been disciplined in another state.4

4. What happens if there is a complaint made against me to the Nevada Medical Board?

cartoon rendering of doctor with license
The first step of a Nevada Medical Board disciplinary proceeding is a complaint.

Anyone may file an informal complaint against a medical provider in Nevada. Once the Board receives an informal complaint, a Board committee will commence an investigation. The committee is comprised of at least three Board members (one of which must be a non-doctor), and the investigation may include asking the provider to speak before a Board committee.

If the Board determines that there is a reasonable basis for the complaint, it will serve the licensee with a formal complaint. The complaint should specify all the allegations of wrongdoing and any applicable law or regulation that the licensee allegedly violated.

The Board may also immediately suspend the licensee's license if it determines that the health, safety, or welfare of the public or a patient may be at risk.

Anyone served with a complaint is advised to retain legal counsel to represent him/her for the duration of the matter.

4.1. Answer and Case Conference

The licensee has 20 days to respond to the formal complaint. Then within 20 days of submitting this response (or within 20 days of when the response is due), the licensee must meet with the Board's investigative committee for a case conference.

At the case conference, both parties will:

  • discuss or attempt to resolve all or any portion of the evidentiary or legal issues in the matter;
  • discuss the potential for settlement of the matter on terms agreeable to the parties; and
  • set a date for a disciplinary hearing on the "earliest possible" opportunity

Scroll down to the next section for information on Nevada Medical Board hearings.5

cartoon renderings of two medical licenses
Attorneys may represent doctors at disciplinary hearings in Nevada.

5. What happens at a Nevada Medical Board disciplinary hearing?

The disciplinary hearing is an administrative proceeding that resembles a trial. The Board tries to prove that the licensee committed misconduct, and the licensee (or his/her attorney) may present evidence and witnesses in the licensee's defense.

If a majority of the Board finds "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the licensee committed a violation, it may impose one or more of the following forms of discipline:

  • license suspension;
  • license revocation;
  • probation;
  • public reprimand;
  • a $5,000 fine for each violation;
  • community service;
  • limitation of the person's practice;
  • requirement to complete rehab;
  • supervised practice;
  • a mental, physical, or competency examination; and/or
  • educational classes or training

Within 30 days of disciplinary hearings, the Board issues final orders of the proceedings, which are made public online. Anyone disciplined by the Board may request a judicial review (similar to an appeal).6

6. Can I go to jail for practicing medicine without a license in Nevada?

It is possible. Holding oneself out as a doctor or other health care worker without having a license is a felony. The category of felony depends on whether the defendant causes a patient substantial bodily harm in Nevada:7

Holding oneself out as a health care provider without a license

(NRS 630.140)

Penalties

Causing no substantial bodily harm

Category D felony

Causing substantial bodily harm

Category C felony

  • 1 – 5 years in prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)
gavel and stethoscope
Practicing medicine without a license is a crime in Nevada.

Predictably, it is also against the law for unlicensed “doctors” to perform actual medical procedures. The harshness of the penalties turns on the following factors:

  • whether the defendant performed surgery,
  • whether the defendant performed a health care procedure that caused the victim's death or substantial injury, and
  • whether the defendant has been previously convicted of conducting a medical procedure with no license8

6.1. Unlicensed practice of medicine with non-surgical procedures

Unlicensed Practice of Medicine with non-surgical health care procedures

(NRS 200.830)

Penalties

Causing no substantial bodily harm or death

Category D felony:

  • 1 - 4 years in prison, and
  • maybe $5,000 in fines

NOTE: The punishment may be less depending on the type of health care worker the defendant is.

Causing substantial bodily harm

Category C felony:

  • 1 - 5 years in prison, and
  • maybe $10,000 in fines

or

Category B felony (if the defendant had a previous conviction):

  • 2 - 20 years in prison, and
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines

Causing death

Category B felony:

  • 2 - 20 years in prison, and
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines

NOTE: The judge may not suspend the sentence or grant probation

6.2. Unlicensed practice of medicine with surgical procedures

Unlicensed Practice of Medicine with surgical procedures

(NRS 200.840)

Penalties

Causing no substantial bodily harm or death

Category C felony (if the defendant has no previous convictions):

  • 1 - 5 years in prison, and
  • up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

or

Category B felony (if the defendant has a previous conviction):

  • 2 - 20 years in prison, and
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines

Causing substantial bodily harm

Category B felony:

  • 2 - 20 years in prison, and
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines

Causing death

Category B felony:

  • 2 - 20 years in prison, and
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines

NOTE: The judge may not suspend the sentence or grant probation

Learn more about the unauthorized practice of medicine in Nevada.

7. Other occupational licenses in Nevada

7.1. Nursing

Nurses and nursing assistants are regulated by the Nevada Nursing Board, which adopts regulations, holds hearings, and imposes penalties for misconduct. Learn more about Nevada nursing license revocations and suspensions.

7.2. Dentists

Dentists and dental hygienists can lose their licenses if they commit crimes of moral turpitude or unprofessional conduct. See more in our article on license revocations or suspensions for Nevada dentists.

7.3. Contractors (Builders)

Licensed contractors who do substandard work or engage in unprofessional conduct or serious criminal activity face disciplinary actions, including having their license suspended or revoked. Learn more in our article on disciplinary proceedings and license revocations for Nevada contractors.

7.4. Real Estate Brokers and Salespeople

Selling and brokering real estate outside the laws and regulations of the Nevada Real Estate Commission can jeopardize the seller's or broker's license. Learn more in our article on disciplinary proceedings and license revocations for Nevada real estate brokers and salespeople.

7.5. Attorneys

The Nevada State Bar may impose disciplinary punishments on attorneys for getting convicted of felonies or DUI, or for violating the Rules of Professional Conduct. Learn more about Nevada attorney license disbarment or suspension.

7.6. Accountants

The Nevada State Board of Accountancy issues complaints and imposes discipline to CPAs accused of committing a crime or unprofessional behavior. Learn more in our article about disciplinary proceedings and license suspensions for Nevada accountants.

7.7. Social Workers

The Nevada State Board of Examiners for Social Workers has the discretion to revoke social worker licenses as a penalty for crimes or misconduct. Go to our article about suspending or revoking social worker's licenses in Nevada disciplinary hearings.

7.8 Teachers

Educators face disciplinary proceedings for getting convicted of serious crimes or committing unprofessional conduct. Go to our article about suspending or revoking teaching licenses in Nevada.

Male receptionist waiting for your call.
Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation.

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

Are you at risk of losing your medical license? Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to talk about your matter for free. We will do everything to save your license and your livelihood.

Facing discipline in California? See our article on California disciplinary actions for doctors.


Legal References:

  1. NRS 630.050 - NRS 630.070.
  2. NRS 630.301; Nevada Medical Board License Application.
  3. Id.
  4. NRS 630.301 - NRS 630.3066.
  5. NRS 630.311; NRS 630.339; NRS 630.3675 (Note that a person's license is immediately suspended whenever he/she gets convicted of a felony for a violation of any federal or state law or regulation relating to the holder's practice.).
  6. NRS 630.652; NRS 630.656.
  7. NRS 630.400.
  8. NRS 200.800 - NRS 200.840.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370