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NCMB on the road: At the Federation of State Medical Boards Annual Meeting, April 18-20

Each year members of the Board and a delegation of Board staff attend the annual meeting of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to discuss current and emerging issues in medical regulation. This year’s meeting found Board Members and staff in Boston, just days after the bombing at the city’s iconic Boston Marathon. A day into the meeting, law enforcement put the city on lockdown as they circled in on the surviving bombing suspect. The NCMB delegation was confined to the hotel for almost two days.

Fortunately, there was no shortage of medical regulatory business to attend to. Ralph C. Loomis, MD, a recent former Board member and past president of the Board, continued the proud NCMB tradition of service on the Federation’s Board of Directors by winning a seat on that board. Loomis, an Asheville neurosurgeon who completed his final term on the NCMB in October, is one of many former NCMB members to serve in this capacity.

North Carolinians, including members of the NCMB staff and others who work closely with the Board, led and participated in panels at the FSMB meeting, and at the annual meeting of the Administrators in Medicine (the professional organization for medical board executives and staff). The AIM meeting took place in Boston on April 17.

• Michael C. Sheppa, MD, the NCMB’s associate medical director, led the Medical Board Staff Roundtable, which brings together staff from medical boards across the nation and territories to discuss the scope of their administrative work, issues they may have in common and challenges that they face.

• Warren Pendergast, MD, medical director of the NC Physicians Health Program, participated in a panel offered as part of a Joint Session of the FSMB and the Federation of State Physicians Health Programs, of which Pendergast is the current president. The panel discussion, entitled “Aging and Misbehaving: Two Special Topics in Physician Health” explored trends related to the aging of the physician workforce and the rise in “disruptive” behavior among physicians. The emphasis of the panel was on how PHPs can assist with aging and disruptive physician licensees.

• Thom Mansfield, the director of the NCMB’s Legal Department and its primary liaison to the NC legislature, co-presented a session on the Federal Trade Commission’s emerging interest in licensing board regulatory practices to attendees of the AIM annual meeting. The FTC has a particular interest in licensing boards’ efforts to limit unauthorized practice (In FTC’s view, potential “restraint of trade” activity). The session explored lessons from the recent FTC action against the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners, which is currently under appeal. The session provided practical advice on steps boards can take to minimize the risk of FTC scrutiny and tips on re