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Aug 3 2010

A quicker path to an NC physician license

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The NC Medical Board has developed an expedited path to licensure for experienced physicians, answering concerns raised by North Carolina hospitals and others that the Board's licensing process takes too long. The Board's Licensing Department currently advises applicants that it may take four to six months to process their applications.

The NC Rules Review Commission approved rules establishing the expedited physician license application in July and they are in effect as of August 1. The new application is intended to make it faster and easier for out-of-state physicians to obtain a North Carolina license, while ensuring the same high quality standards for admission to practice.

Applicants who qualify for the expedited license application will not have to document their medical or osteopathic education, their postgraduate medical training or USMLE or other examination scores, among other things. In addition, qualified applicants will not need to submit letters of recommendation.

It is anticipated that about 20 percent of the approximately 2,000 physicians who seek licensure in North Carolina each year will qualify to use the new process. Diverting qualified applicants to the streamlined application also should expedite the licensing process for all other applicants by reducing the workload of the Board’s licensing staff.

The Board is working on an expedited licensure process for physician assistants, which could be in effect by this fall.

21 NCAC 32B .2001 is adopted, with changes, as published in 24:19 NCR 1694 as follows:
Section .2000- Expedited application for physician license
21 NCAC 32B .2001 Expedited application for physician license

(a) A specialty board-certified physician who has been licensed in at least one other state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territory or Canadian province for at least five years, has been in active clinical practice the past two years; and who has a clean license application, as defined in paragraph (c) below may apply for a license on an expedited basis.
(b) An applicant for an expedited Physician License shall:
  1. complete the Board’s application form, attesting under oath that the information on the application is true and complete, and authorizing the release to the Board of all information pertaining to the application;

  2. submit documentation of a legal name change, if applicable;

  3. on the Board’s form, submit a photograph taken within the past year, at least two inches by two inches, certified as a true likeness of the applicant by a notary public;

  4. supply a certified copy of applicant’s birth certificate if the applicant was born in the United States or a certified copy of a valid and unexpired U.S. passport. If the applicant does not possess proof of U.S. citizenship, the applicant must provide information about applicant’s immigration and work status which the Board will use to verify applicant’s ability to work lawfully in the United States;

  5. (Note: there may be some applicants who are not present in the U.S. and who do not plan to practice physically in the U.S. Those applicants shall submit a statement to that effect);
  6. provide proof that applicant has held an active license to practice medicine in at least one other state, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territory or Canadian province for at least five years immediately preceding this application;

  7. provide proof of clinical practice providing patient care for an average of 20 hours or more per week, for at least the last two years;

  8. provide proof of certification or recertification by an ABMS, CCFP, FRCP, FRCS, or AOA approved specialty board within the past ten years;

  9. submit an AMA Physician Profile; and, if applicant is an osteopathic physician, submit an AOA Physician Profile;

  10. submit a NPDB/HIPDB report dated within 60 days of the applicant’s oath;

  11. submit a FSMB Board Action Data Bank report;

  12. submit two completed fingerprint record cards supplied by the Board;

  13. submit a signed consent form allowing a search of local, state and national files to disclose any criminal record;

  14. pay to the Board a non-refundable fee of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00), plus the cost of a criminal background check; and

  15. upon request, supply any additional information the Board deems necessary to evaluate the applicant’s qualifications.

(c) A clean license application means that the physician has none of the following:
  1. professional liability insurance claim(s) or payment(s);

  2. criminal record;

  3. medical condition(s) which could affect the physician’s ability to practice safely;

  4. regulatory board complaint(s), investigation(s), or action(s) (including applicant’s withdrawal of a license application);

  5. adverse action taken by a health care institution;

  6. investigation(s) or action(s) taken by a federal agency, the U.S. military, medical societies or associations;

  7. suspension or expulsion from any school, including medical school.

  8. graduation from any United States or Canadian medical school that is not LCME or CACMS approved; or

  9. has passed no licensing examination other than Puerto Rico Written Examination/Revalida.

(d) All reports must be submitted directly to the Board from the primary source, when possible.
(e) The application process must be completed within one year of the date on which the application fee is paid. If not, the applicant shall be charged a new applicant fee.

History Note: Authority G.S. 90-9.1; 90-5; 90-11; 90-13.1 Eff. August 1, 2010.

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