In every state, there is a state medical board that regulates physicians, physician assistants, and other medical professionals. In North Carolina, the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) provides licenses for doctors and their assistants. The NCMB also investigates complaints made against licensees, and when necessary, disciplines them for violating state law or professional regulations. The Board consists of 13 members appointed by the governor. It must include eight licensed physicians, one licensed physician assistant, one nurse practitioner, and three members of the public who have “no financial or professional interest in a health service or profession.”
If you are a medical professional licensed by the NCMB, and you have learned of a complaint filed against you, do not hesitate to contact the medical license defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys. Whether the complaint relates to patient care or your own conduct, we are here to aggressively defend you and fight for you to keep your professional license.
To learn more about the NCMB disciplinary process and how to defend yourself, contact a professional license defense attorney from our firm at (980) 237-4579, or schedule your free consultation through our online contact form.
Who Does the NC Medical Board License?
The NCMB is governed and given power through the Medical Practice Act, which can be found in North Carolina General Statute § 90. Through this Act, the Board has the authority to regulate and provide licenses for:
- Physicians (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctors of Medicine, and Resident Training Licensees [RTLs])
- Physician Assistants (PAs)
- Anesthesiology Assistants (AAs)
- Licensed Perfusionists (LPs)
Common Causes of NC Medical Board Disciplinary Actions
The NCMB is limited in the types of complaints it can review and when it can act against you. The Board will only investigate alleged conduct that violates a state law or professional regulation. Some of the most common reasons for complaints and disciplinary actions include:
The NC Medical Board’s malpractice complaints often involve quality of care issues. It receives many complaints each year regarding failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, incompetence, and failure to meet standards of care. Other issues involve inappropriately prescribing medication to patients, family members, and to themselves; improper or lack of patient communication; and poorly or improperly-maintained medical records.
Alcohol or Drug Abuse
Outside of quality of care and improper prescriptions, another very common complaint to the NCMB has to do with a physician’s alcohol or substance abuse or dependence. You may deal with the NCMB’s investigation and disciplinary process if you face accusations of being intoxicated or impaired due to alcohol or drugs while practicing, or if you are accused of abusing or being dependent on alcohol or drugs outside of your practice. It is important to note that you can be held accountable for alcohol and drug abuse that takes place outside of work. In this case it is in your best interest to contact a physician license defense attorney at (980) 237-4579.
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
One of the most common ways alcohol or substance abuse comes to the NCMB’s attention is through learning about a doctor’s drunk driving charge. When a doctor gets a DWI charge, they must report it to the Board. With a medical license attorney’s help, you can seek to mitigate the consequences of an arrest.
Reporting a DWI to the Medical Board
If you are convicted of a crime anywhere in the U.S., and you are licensed by the NC Medical Board, you must report the misdemeanor or felony conviction during your annual renewal, or within 60 days of the conviction. The Board reviews each conviction to determine if additional disciplinary actions are appropriate, and to determine whether it must publicly display the conviction on its licensee information page.
If you were arrested for a DWI, you must report the arrest to the Board within 30 days. The NCMB may investigate potential alcohol or drug abuse or dependency to determine if disciplinary action is appropriate.
If you fail to report a DWI or other arrest or conviction as required by the Board, or if you knowingly provide false information, then you can be found to have committed unprofessional conduct and may face additional disciplinary action.
Inappropriate Relationship With a Patient/Sexual Harassment or Assault
Each year, the NCMB deals with complaints that involve a medical professional conducting an inappropriate intimate relationship with a patient, performing non-consensual touching of a patient under the guise of medical treatment, and sexual assault of a patient. In some cases, complaints involve indecent liberties or sexual assault of a child. If you are accused of sexual misconduct with a patient, contact a medical license defense lawyer immediately.
Other common complaints to the NC Medical Board include criminal conduct, a criminal conviction, illegal prescribing, drug diversion, unlicensed practice, practicing outside the scope of a license, poor record keeping, fraud or misrepresentation, and unlawful billing practices. If you are accused of any of these actions, do not hesitate to contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys to speak with a medical license defense attorney. (980) 237-4579.
NC Medical Board Disciplinary Process
Any person or organization is entitled to file a complaint against a physician or other licensee of the NC Medical Board. Many patients, patients’ family members, colleagues, health care organizations, and other members of the public file complaints. Complaints can be based on a wide range of topics, from technical errors to serious ethical concerns and medical malpractice.
Once a complaint is filed, the NCMB will acknowledge the complainant within two weeks, and will evaluate it in regard to Board policy and state law. If it appears a policy or legal violation occurred, then the NCMB will take further action. If the complaint does not allege a legal violation, then the complainant and licensee will be notified that the complaint is closed and kept on file.
As a physician, you have the right to receive a copy of complaints made against you. You also are required to provide a written response to the NCMB. Once you receive a complaint, you should contact a Charlotte medical license defense attorney to help you craft an appropriate and thorough response.
To review the complaint and your response, the NCMB will obtain copies of medical records and other documents related to the case. The Board may obtain an independent expert’s opinion, particularly in quality of care cases.
Next, all complaints and any accompanying recommendations are reviewed by the Board’s senior staff. The Senior Staff Review Committee analyzes each case and makes a recommendation based on the Board’s established guidelines. If the committee receives a complaint that does not contain a legal violation, it will close the complaint without any formal action. However, if there is a legal violation or issues concerning behavior, the committee will recommend a private or public action. Committee recommendations are given to the full Board, which then makes the final decision.
Once the NCMB receives the committee’s recommendation, it may agree, disagree, make a new recommendation, or seek additional information before resolving the complaint. The Board votes on the final resolution of the complaint.
Possible Consequences of Medical Board Complaints
After the NCMB investigates the complaint against you, the potential disciplinary consequences are:
- No Formal Action – After the investigatory process, the NCMB may find there has not been a violation of the law. You will be notified that there is no violation and no disciplinary action. However, you must remember that this information is kept on file.
- Private Action – You may receive private disciplinary action. Such results include punishments such letter of concerns, or requirements for you to complete additional education and training.
- Public Action – If the NCMB determines you violated the law and created a risk to the public, it will take a public action against you. This action is posted on the NCMB’s website.
- Letter of Concern – A letter of concern may be private or public. This letter may warn you against certain conduct, which could lead to more severe disciplinary actions in the future.
- Reprimand – You may receive a public reprimand for unethical, immoral, dishonest, or unprofessional conduct.
- Fines – A common public action is a monetary fine.
- License Restrictions – Depending on the legal violation, the NCMB may impose certain conditions and restrictions on your license.
- Medical License Suspension – Your license to practice may be suspended for a specific period of time. To get your license back, you will need to go through the reinstatement process. If this is the case, call a Charlotte medical license defense attorney from our firm right away.
- Medical License Revocation – Your medical license may be revoked for certain egregious conduct or multiple legal or ethical violations. If you believe you are eligible to obtain a medical license again, you must go through the reinstatement process.
Can a Revoked Medical License Be Reinstated?
If your medical license was revoked, you might be eligible for reinstatement in the future, however, you will have to have completed the Board’s disciplinary requirements. Following a reinstatement application, the Board will require you to prove you are competent to practice.