Resources & Information

Position Statements

The retired physician/licensee

 Categories:  Termination of/Reentry to Medical Practice   Adopted: Jan 1997  | Amended: Jun 2012  Print Friendly Version  |   Share this item

The retirement of a licensee is defined by the North Carolina Medical Board as the total and complete cessation of the practice of medicine and/or surgery by the licensee in any form or setting. According to the Board’s definition, the retired licensee is not required to maintain a currently registered license and SHALL NOT:

  • provide patient services;
  • order tests or therapies;
  • prescribe, dispense, or administer drugs;
  • perform any other medical and/or surgical acts; or
  • receive income from the provision of medical and/or surgical services performed following retirement.

The North Carolina Medical Board is aware that a number of licensees consider themselves “retired,” but still hold a currently registered medical license (full, volunteer, or limited) and provide professional medical and/or surgical services to patients on a regular or occasional basis. Such licensees customarily serve the needs of previous patients, friends, nursing home residents, free clinics, emergency rooms, community health programs, etc. The Board commends those licensees for their willingness to continue service following “retirement,” but it recognizes such service is not the “complete cessation of the practice of medicine” and therefore must be joined with an undiminished awareness of professional responsibility. That responsibility means that such licensees SHOULD:

  • practice within their areas of professional competence;
  • prepare and keep medical records in accord with good professional practice; and
  • meet the Board’s continuing medical education requirement.

The Board also reminds “retired” licensees with currently registered licenses that all federal and state laws and rules relating to the practice of medicine and/or surgery apply to them, that the position statements of the Board are as relevant to them as to licensees in full and regular practice, and that they continue to be subject to the risks of liability for any medical and/or surgical acts they perform.