Every couple weeks North State Law will be publishing the processes for a different licensing board. We will include the governmental authority that allows the licensing board to issue and govern licenses as well as the process for disciplinary procedures and what you, the licensee, may be able to do to safeguard your occupational license. Today we start with medical licensure.
Did you know that a physician can practice medicine in North Carolina prior to technically graduating from medical school?
Now don’t think that any new med school enrollee is allowed to start practicing right away. In fact, the North Carolina Board of Medicine has strict requirements for licensure applicants. One of the first being that the applicant submit verification of all her/his medical education. That includes proof that he/she has completed all the requirements for a medical degree but has just not yet been granted the license. Another is that the applicant must have a letter from a North Carolina residency program verifying appointment. More on medical license eligibility can be found here.
NC Board of Medicine’s authority
The NC Board of Medicine’s authority to issue and regulate medical licenses comes from Article 1 Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. NCGS section 90-14 allows the Board of Medicine to act as the disciplinary body over all physicians licensed to practice in the state of North Carolina.
Does that mean that the Board can unilaterally suspend or revoke a medical license?
No, the Board of Medicine must send notice to a license holder allowing them the opportunity to request a hearing under NCGS 90-14.2. The public hearing in front of the Board of Medicine must take place “not less than 30 days from the date of the service of notice upon the licensee, at which the licensee may appear personally and through counsel, may cross examine witnesses and present evidence in the licensee’s own behalf.” NCGS 90-14.2(a). It is very important for a licensee to act quickly when they receive notice of an allegation by the Board. Failure to timely act can result in a penalty being implemented against the licensee without the licensee being heard.
What type of penalties can the Board of Medicine impose against a licensed physician?
The Board of Medicine has numerous penalty options at its disposal. If it has found that a licensed physician has committed certain enumerated acts or conduct under NCGS 90-14(a)(1-15). The Board can fine a physician, revoke or suspend his/her license, issue a public reprimand or public letters. Those are just to few options that the Board has. If the Board has found that a licensed physician has violated one of the Board’s rules, he/she can appeal that decision by filing a “Petition for Judicial Review” complaint in Superior Court to have her/his case heard by a Superior Court Judge.
We hope you enjoyed this brief synopsis of Medical Licensing. This blog is not intended to be taken as legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.