Resources & Information

Aug 3 2010

Licensee Information Pages: An update

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It’s been nearly a year since the NCMB called on physicians and physician assistants to help with the enormous task of expanding the licensee information available to the public on the Board's website. The expanded Licensee Information Pages, authorized by a 2007 state law, went live at www.ncmedboard.org in early December. The pages, which allow users to call up information on individual licensees by clicking “Look Up a Licensee” and typing in a licensee’s name, are the most popular feature on the Board's website.

Below is a review of selected data collected through the Licensee Information Pages initiative and some clarifications about licensees' obligations to report certain information.

The Board appreciates its licensees' continued participation with this initiative.

Participation
As of June 2010—six months after the public launch of the expanded pages—about 84 percent of the Board's more than 31,000 MD/DO licensees had logged in to the online portal that the NCMB built to allow licensees to report their expanded information. To date, about 5,000 of the Board's physician licensees have not responded to the NCMB's requests to update and expand their information.

A closer look at the numbers is more encouraging: More than 90 percent of the more than 21,000 physician licensees who are based in NC (the rest of the 31,000 hold NC licenses but practice elsewhere) have logged in. While the Board would like to see 100 percent participation from in-state physicians, it is pleased to see such a strong response rate among its NC-based licensees. About 90 percent of the Board's nearly 4,000 physician assistant licensees have logged in. The vast majority of the Board's PA licensees practice in-state.

Review of selected data: A critical information gap
As you may recall, the expansion of the Board's Licensee Information Pages included both new required and new optional information. This article deals only with required information.

As expected, relatively few licensees have reported required information of a prejudicial nature, such as hospital privilege suspensions, malpractice payments or certain criminal convictions (View link at the end of this article for an account of specific types of information reported.) Data for these new categories of public information are consistent with the Board's historical information (The Board has tracked malpractice payments, changes to hospital staff privileges and criminal charges/convictions for non-public investigative purposes for some time).

Reporting of new required information of a non-prejudicial nature, such as hospital affiliations or area(s) of practice, appears to have been appropriately robust, with one notable exception. As of June 2010, only about 19,586 licensees have reported their residency and fellowship training information. In other words, more than 7,000 of the physician licensees who have logged in to provide their information to the Board did not provide this important information as required by North Carolina law.

Residency training was one of the categories of information displayed on the Board's website prior to the recent update and expansion of information, so it may be that these licensees assumed their training information would automatically be transferred into the new system. This is not the case. As part of the recent changes, the Board changed how it captures and displays postgraduate training information to provide details about the specific area of training. As a result, all licensees must update their information for their training to appear. Those who have not provided updated information have no residency training on the Board's website. This creates a conspicuous gap in the information available to the public. Patients may look up their physician's information page, see "None Reported" under residency training and mistakenly conclude that their doctor did not complete postgraduate training.

The Board is in the process of amending its annual license renewal process so that all licensees will be prompted to update their training information if they have not already done so. However, a faster way to ensure that your residency training information is complete and accurate is to login to the Licensee Information system on the Board's website now.

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Need to update your information page?

  • Go to www.ncmedboard.org and click on “Update Licensee Info Page” (second item in Quick Links list at right)

  • Click on Training to enter your internship, residency and fellowship training (enter all that apply)

  • Once you are done, take a moment to see what the public sees. From the Board’s Home Page, click on “Look up a Licensee” and enter your name to pull up your info page.

  • Remember to update your page regularly, especially if you have new “required” information.

  • Encourage your colleagues to do all of the above.

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