NCMB relies on professional opinions provided by independent expert medical reviewers to help determine the outcome of disciplinary cases that involve questions about the quality of medical care provided to patients. Independent expert medical reviews help the Board establish whether accepted and prevailing standards of care were met and, if not, how care departed from accepted standards.
The Board created a new staff position in fall 2018 to enhance its outside expert medical review process, with a goal of increasing the number of expert reviewers available to consult on quality of care cases. Paralegal Lynne DeVenny, who accepted the role of Quality of Care Paralegal in November 2018, was featured in the March-April 2019 Forum newsletter. Her Q & A interview discussing expert reviewers’ most frequently asked questions is reprinted below:
Q: Why does the Medical Board need outside medical reviewers?
A: Outside reviewers are truly critical to the Board’s case review process. NCMB’s success depends on its ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of medical experts regarding standards of care in their areas of practice.
Q: What is the specific service outside medical reviewers provide to the Board?
A: The reviewer’s role is to determine whether standards of care were met at the time of treatment. Reviewers are provided with bookmarked electronic copies of medical records, which they evaluate. They also receive a worksheet for the case review and provide their opinions to the Board in the form of a written report.
Q: Are outside medical reviewers compensated?
A: Yes. Reviewers are compensated at a rate of $175 per hour for the time spent reviewing records and writing their reports. It is also a wonderful way for clinicians to serve patients and the medical profession, by ensuring that standards of care are upheld in North Carolina.
Q: May outside medical reviewers remain anonymous or will the clinician under investigation know who reviewed his or her care?
A: Generally, yes, reviewers can remain anonymous. On rare occasions, when a case proceeds to a public hearing, reviewers may be asked to provide testimony. This is not needed in a significant majority of cases where outside reviews are sought.
Q: Am I at risk of being sued for serving as a medical reviewer or testifying at a hearing for the Board?
A: No, reviewers for the Board are provided statutory immunity from civil liability and will not be held liable in any civil proceeding for testifying before the Board in good faith and without fraud or malice.
To indicate your interest in providing outside medical reviews, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-277-1874.