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NCMB’s new and improved expert review process

The Board created a new staff position in fall 2018 to enhance its outside expert medical review process, with a goal of increasing the number of expert reviewers available to consult on quality of care cases. Paralegal Lynne DeVenny, who accepted the role of Quality of Care Paralegal in November 2018, spoke with Forum Editor Jean Brinkley to answer clinicians’ most frequently asked questions about providing outside medical reviews.

Q: Why does the Medical Board need outside medical reviewers?
A: Outside expert reviewers are truly critical to the Board’s case review process. NCMB’s success depends on its ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of medical experts regarding standards of care in their areas of practice.

Q: What is the specific service outside expert medical reviewers provide to the Board?
A: The reviewer’s role is to determine whether standards of care were met at the time of treatment. Reviewers are provided with bookmarked electronic copies of medical records, which they evaluate. They also receive a worksheet for the case review and provide their opinions to the Board in the form of a written report.

Q: Are outside expert medical reviewers compensated?
A: Yes. Reviewers are compensated at a rate of $175 per hour for the time spent reviewing records and writing their reports. It is also a wonderful way for clinicians to serve patients and the medical profession, by ensuring that standards of care are upheld in North Carolina.

Q: May outside expert medical reviewers remain anonymous or will the clinician under investigation know who reviewed his or her care?
A: Generally, yes, reviewers can remain anonymous. On rare occasions, when a case proceeds to a public hearing, reviewers may be asked to provide testimony. This is not needed in a significant majority of cases where outside reviews are sought.

Q: Am I at risk of being sued for serving as an expert reviewer or testifying at a hearing for the Board?
A: No, reviewers for the Board are provided statutory immunity from civil liability and will not be held liable in any civil proceeding for testifying before the Board in good faith and without fraud or malice.

To learn more about what might be required of an expert medical reviewer, check out the Board's Expert Reviewer Manual.

To indicate your interest in providing expert reviews, contact lynne.devenny@ncmedboard.org or 919-277-1874. The Board is always interested in establishing contact with qualified expert reviewers.