The NC Medical Board is pleased to announce a recurring column that will provide updates on legislation, administrative rules and new laws that affect the Board and its licensees.
H703: Lawmakers impose higher reporting threshold for malpractice
House Bill 703 disapproves certain Board rules regarding which malpractice payment information will be made available to the public on the NCMB's web site later this year.
The Board passed rules setting the threshold at settlements greater than $25,000 that occurred on or after October 1, 2007. House Bill 703, which was signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue on June 30 and is now Session Law 2009-217, increases the dollar threshold to payments of $75,000 or greater. It also shortens the retrospective period to those settlements occurring on or after May 1, 2008.
Because of another pending bill in the General Assembly, the rules not affected by House Bill 703 will not go into effect until after the legislature adjourns later this month.
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The Board is preparing for the roll out of its expanded licensee information pages, which will include malpractice information. The Board will send notices to every physician and physician assistant prior to making the information public. The notices will direct each licensee to review, update and add to the information that will appear on the Board's web site. The Board expects to begin send notices to licensees in early September and aims to have the information available to the public in December.
S958: An ill-advised overhaul of NCMB's disciplinary processes
Senate Bill 958 is a bill filed at the request of the North Carolina Integrative Medical Society and supported by the North Carolina Medical Society. It would make numerous changes to the Board's investigative and disciplinary process.
The Board is meeting with the bill sponsor and interested parties to understand and address their concerns. However, the Board opposes the current version of the bill, which would severely undermine its ability to regulate substandard medical care and address serious misconduct. The Board considers the bill a hasty, overbroad approach that does not serve the best interests of the public or of the Board's licensees.
The Board takes very seriously the concerns that have been expressed about a need for greater transparency in the investigative process and to insure that every licensee is treated fairly. However, the Board believes that these concerns will be best addressed through a careful, deliberate process. To that end, the Board President is creating an advisory committee of experts and stakeholders to provide consultation and input into a thoughtful and effective strategy to seek legislation and promulgate rules.
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H878: Essential assistance for impaired medical professionals
House Bill 878 (regarding assistance for EMTs impaired by chemical abuse or dependence) gained several additional provisions in the Senate Health Committee on July 1 and is headed to the floor of the Senate.
The law currently allows the North Carolina Physicians Health Program to assist physicians and physician assistants. The new provisions permit NCPHP to extend its assistance to all NCMB licensees. The Board began licensing anesthesiologist assistants and perfusionists in the last three years. Without the passage of House Bill 878, NCPHP's services are unavailable to these new licensees.
The Board is encouraged at the prospects of this bill passing into law in the next month.
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