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Oct 28 2022

Leaning in to NCMB’s vision statement

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Image for Leaning in to NCMB’s vision statement As the end of my term as NCMB President winds down, I am proud to report on what the Board has accomplished not just in the last year, but over the last five years. In 2017, my fellow Board Members and I, led by NCMB staff, developed a new mission and vision statement for NCMB.

The mission statement – To protect the people of North Carolina, and the integrity of the medical profession, through just and vigilant licensing and regulation – was an affirmation of the role NCMB has always played in ensuring the safety of the public. The Board also, for the first time in its more than 160-year history, adopted a vision statement, to describe in aspirational terms where NCMB is headed and what it aims to achieve. This is our vision: NCMB will be a proactive and progressive leader that addresses emerging challenges in medicine.

Looking back over the last five years, I believe that NCMB has leaned into this vision and is taking meaningful steps to become that leader. I will highlight several of those efforts.

Clinician wellness

NCMB has been working in this area for several years now, both to reduce barriers to care for licensees who are struggling, and to become an engaged partner in addressing professional burnout systemically. One of the changes that has received the most attention is NCMB’s decision to remove questions from the renewal and licensure forms that required licensees or applicants to reveal if they are in treatment for any physical or mental health condition. Eliminating those questions was intended to remove a potential barrier to treatment for licensees who may wish to seek care but fear reprisal from NCMB. In addition, NCMB has been encouraging early referrals for mental health and substance use issues, particularly during and after the pandemic. In most circumstances, licensees may self-refer to the NC Professionals Health Program (NCPHP) without any information about that referral, including their identity, being revealed to NCMB. NCPHP provides free initial consultations and can provide guidance and referrals to further care, as needed. Contact 919-870-4480 24 hours a day, seven days a week to set up a consultation.

Education on underrecognized maltreatment and neglect

Another recent project to address emerging challenges in medicine is a collaboration between NCMB, Wake Area Health Education Center (Wake AHEC) and leading subject matter experts in North Carolina that has resulted in new CME for clinicians. The initiative arose from concern about an increase of physical violence during the pandemic and a desire to better equip licensees to recognize and respond to cases of maltreatment or neglect of vulnerable patient populations. After consulting with various agencies and experts in the state, NCMB determined that there is a need for clinician education in recognizing and responding to both elder neglect and maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Our collaboration resulted in CME courses on both topics, which are now accessible at Search keywords “elder neglect and abuse” and “intimate partner violence” to find the courses. NCMB is also developing new educational strategies regarding child maltreatment and neglect and will highlight key resources and courses to make sure that licensees can easily access this information.

Preventing regulatory problems in the next generation

One of NCMB’s most active initiatives in recent years is its Regulatory Immersion Series – a mock disciplinary experience that teaches medical students, and PA students, ethics and professionalism through the lens of medical regulation. I am including this program in this message because it is a strong example of how NCMB is working to proactively and progressively address challenges in medicine. Our goal is to reach every medical school and PA program in North Carolina every year going forward (a goal we are on track to reach in 2023). Long term, we see this as an opportunity to help early career professionals anticipate and avoid many problems that may lead to regulatory action over the course of their careers. In essence, NCMB is hoping to prevent problems before they ever arise, thus fulfilling both its mission of protecting the public, and its vision of being a proactive leader.

In conclusion, it has been an honor to serve as NCMB President, and to be a part of the important work that the Board and staff do every day. NCMB has always sought to be a supportive resource that focuses as much on helping licensees avoid problems as it does on addressing substandard care and misconduct, which in turn supports its mission of patient protection. I am proud to highlight these recent projects, which are steps towards achieving the goals set forth in our vision statement.

Be well.

 Comments on this article:

Thank you for your service Dr Rusher!

By Stephen Mitchell MD on Oct 30, 2022 at 8:44am

Just retired my licence this year. Hope my comments can still be considered.There is a problem of physician burnout. Many of its causes are discussed alrady so I will not repeat them. Will mentionn a few that in my opinion are not stressed enough. 1) Weakening of bond between patient and physician due to increasgly medicine being treated as abusiness.Anyone that has worked with patients knows the value ofthe intangible payments we receive when a patien gets better or when he/she express heartfelt gratitude. This has become a rarity. leaving everyone feeling unfulfilled.causes are many but we need to do everything we can to strengthen that bond.2) as the political climate in the country is poisoned, comments about practitioners from differnt countries/racee/religions are also heard that devides us. The board needs to state its posion addressing both the issues. In my opinion they will reduce the number of suits or compaints filed against the practitioners and help reduce the MD burnout. I will be glad to help anyway I can to address the issues. regards.

By Vijaya Bapat M.D.M.P.H. on Oct 30, 2022 at 4:55pm
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