MEDPAC Minute – Senate Bill Seeks to Improve Medical Board Procedures Legislation was filed this week

Senate Bill 958 – Disciplinary Proceedings/NC Medical Board (Nesbitt – D, Buncombe), aims to ensure fair treatment of doctors who may be the subject of a Board investigation or disciplinary proceeding. Among other things, the bill would:

1.    Require the Board to find cause prior to beginning an investigation (Individual Board members would be prohibited from unilaterally initiating an investigation).

2.    Set a time limit of six months for completing an investigation, unless the Board informs a licensee of the circumstances and reasons for extending the investigation.

3.    Require the Board to turn over to the licensee any exculpatory evidence it discovered during an investigation.

4.    When a physician has retained a lawyer, require the Board to communicate with the physician through their lawyer.

5.    Establish standards for expert witnesses that track standards for medical malpractice trials.

6.    Prohibit Board members from providing expert opinions in disciplinary proceedings against a licensee.

7.    Require the Board to have two concurring expert opinions before taking disciplinary action against a licensee, to provide all expert opinions to the licensee, and to inform the licensee of the experts’ qualifications.

8.    Permit licensees to challenge findings of fact when appealing a Board action to Superior Court.

9.    Limit mandatory reporting of doctors by hospital and HMO to matters related to professional competence or conduct.

The NCMS believes this proposal would improve the fairness of NC Medical Board proceedings and respond to concerns raised by many physicians that the Board lacks standards in critical areas.


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