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Top Issues for Physician Licensing Boards

Monday, February 27, 2017  
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Top Issues for Physician Licensing Boards

Published on January 13, 2017

DonnaVanderpool, MBA, JD

VP, Risk Management at PRMS, Specialists in Professional Liability Insurance Programs


The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is an organization representing all US medical and osteopathic licensing boards. The FSMB surveyed its member boards and announced the following medical regulatory topics were the most important to state licensing boards in 2016:

#1 Telemedicine. According to the report, 75% of responding boards indicated telemedicine was one of the most important topics for their board. I have several posts addressing this topic:

Another Controlled Substance Prohibition in Telemedicine
Another Telemedicine Setback
Telemedicine – Still So Many Unknowns
Telepsychiatry Updates
What Does Ryan Haight Have To Do with Telemedicine?
Top 4 Things to Consider Before Using Skype for Telemedicine

#2 Opioid prescribing. Opioids came in a close second, with 70% of responding boards identifying opioid prescribing as an important topic. You may want to contact your risk manager for state-specific resources regarding informed consent and treatment plan requirements. Here are two posts related to opioid prescribing:

Do You Have to Check the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)?
Physician Online Marketing – Tips to Avoid Drug Seekers

#3 Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. 47% of responding boards chose this as an important topic. Under this compact, physicians who hold licenses in states that are members of the compact can easily obtain licenses in other member states. The FSMB is highly supportive of the compact and has issued model legislation for states to enact and join the compact, originally set to go into effect this month. At this point, 18 states have joined the compact. However, some states, including Minnesota, Montana, and Nevada, received letters from the FBI indicating that their state law does not meet requirements under federal law for the sharing of criminal background check information. According to a recent Medscape report, at least one state expects the problem to be solved with legislation, which the governor is expected to sign without delay.

#4 Physician reentry into practice. 44% of responding boards indicated that physician reentry into practice was an important topic.

#5 Medical Marijuana. 42% of responding boards identified medical marijuana as an important issue. Here’s my post on the issue:

Why Marijuana is Still a “High” Risk for Physicians

It’s always good for physicians to know what topics their licensing board(s) are concerned about!


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