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Aug 16 2016

2016 Legislative update

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Legislation passed in the final days of the recently adjourned session of the NC General Assembly – HB728 – made several changes that affect NCMB, its licensees and the practice of medicine.

Physician fee increases
The bill raises the physician license application and physician annual renewals fees in NC for the first time since 2005. Effective Oct. 1, the physician license application will be $400 (currently $350) and the physician annual renewal fee will be $250 (currently $175). The Board expects the fee increase to raise annual operating revenues by approximately $3.7 million.

Expanded protections for NCPHP participants
HB728 also modernizes and updates statutory language regarding the NC Physicians Health Program (NCPHP). New language requires that NCPHP participants have the opportunity to request written copies of any assessment or treatment recommendations, including information about the basis for recommendations. NCPHP currently has a procedure in place to fulfill this requirement.

Requirement to report medical records suspensions lifted
The bill repeals the requirement for hospitals to report suspensions due to delinquent medical records to NCMB. The Board found that these reports did not provide meaningful information. NCMB believes these issues are best handled at the facility/health system level.

Email communication with licensees
HB728 includes language to authorize the Board to use or make email addresses available for the purpose of disseminating or soliciting information “affecting public health or the practice of medicine.” This provision will allow NCMB to communicate more freely with its licensees via email. For example, NCMB may elect to email occasional policy updates and other news to licensees. The Board will not send frivolous or excessive email communications.

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