Resources & Information

Aug 27 2019

We’re the Medical Board and we’re here to help. No, really!

 Categories:  President’s Message Comments:   0 comments  Print Friendly Version  |   Share this item
Image for We’re the Medical Board and we’re here to help. No, really! At a national meeting I attended about a year ago, an international medical regulatory official shared a story that neatly summed up one of medical boards’ biggest challenges. The official spoke of writing to congratulate a physician colleague who had recently received an award. Upon receipt of the letter bearing the regulatory agency’s return address, the colleague suffered an apparent bout of angst, wondering what he had done wrong. “Thank you for your letter,” he replied. “Please never send me another.”

It’s a sad truth that few licensed physicians or PAs are glad to hear from their medical board. Most licensees are no doubt content to limit their contact with NCMB to completion of annual license renewal (and, in truth, even this can be delegated).

What’s especially tragic about this state of affairs is that NCMB has spent the last several years developing and compiling resources and information to help support its licensees in practice. That’s not doing anyone any good if physicians and PAs aren’t aware, or don’t even think of the medical board as a potential resource.

I’m excited to report that I’ve had the opportunity to spend part of my term as Board President working on this problem. Over the last few months, NCMB staff and I have worked with partners at Campbell University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) on a new program to integrate medical board information into the curriculum. If all goes as planned, NCMB will contribute a two-hour lesson to first year medical students during their “Introduction to Professionalism” unit. We’ll lecture on basic concepts, such as the medical board’s mission and main responsibilities, the complaint process and active enforcement topics, and bring the lesson home by having students participate in a mock Disciplinary Committee meeting, during which they’ll discuss cases and debate possible resolutions.

Our hope is to reach young physicians and help them understand the role of professional regulation in medical practice before they can come to the erroneous conclusion that medical boards are entities to fear and avoid.

As a DO and current member of Campbell University’s Board of Trustees, it seemed to me that CUSOM was an ideal partner to work with NCMB on this project. NCMB is tremendously grateful for the warm and enthusiastic response we have received. If our program is well received by CUSOM students and seems to add value to the educational experience, NCMB hopes eventually to partner with the state’s other medical schools on similar programs. NCMB's Assistant Medical Director, a PA, regularly presents to graduating students at North Carolina's PA programs.

Over time, as some of the students NCMB reaches through these efforts remain in North Carolina to complete postgraduate training and establish in practice, we may begin to slowly change how physicians and PAs view the medical board. We may help more licensees avoid regulatory problems. And more licensees will believe us when we say, “We’re here to help.”

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