On March 1, 2017, Partner Andrew Hyams testified before the Board of Registration in Medicine at a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Board’s disciplinary regulations. Attorney Hyams was on a panel of four physician defense attorneys opposing the changes. The panel spoke on behalf of 19 attorneys who have defended physicians before the Board, on average 20 years each, and collectively offered extensive knowledge of the impact the proposed regulations could have on physicians in Massachusetts.
Mr. Hyams addressed the Board’s proposal to add a new ground for Complaint: “conduct which is in violation of the ethical standards of the profession.” Mr. Hyams noted that private professional practice associations are not all in lockstep on the “ethical standards of the profession,” and that there is disagreement on many issues, e.g. physician-assisted suicide. “Ethical standards can be fuzzy and aspirational,” Mr. Hyams said. “Physicians are entitled to notice of what is legal and what is illegal, what is ethical and what is unethical. This proposed regulation undermines that.”
Mr. Hyams also reminded the Board that previous Board members had proposed almost the exact same amendment to its regulations in 2008, that there had been substantial opposition, and that the Board had withdrawn the proposal. “This feels like the movie Groundhog Day,” he told the Board.
About Andrew Hyams
Andrew L. Hyams specializes in representing physicians and other health professionals in licensing and disciplinary matters before their respective regulatory boards, and in peer review matters. He served as the General Counsel at the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for five years. He has also been Deputy General Counsel at the Boston Public Health Commission. Mr. Hyams is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 997-1566.