Compliance With Medical Board Licensing Requirements
By: KENT G. HARBISON
Renewing your license to practice medicine is routine for most Minnesota doctors. Complete the necessary form, submit to the Board of Medical Practice on time with your annual fee each years, and renewal is essentially automatic. Failure to meet the simple requirements makes the process more complex.
License renewals are considered timely if postmarked or received by the Board on or before the deadline. the Board can impose a penalty fee for submission that are not complete by this deadline. Also, under new provisions in the physical licensing statutes, physicians are subject to disciplinary action for practicing with a lapsed license.
The Board of Medical Practice has followed a relatively flexible policy on late renewals. If a doctor did not submit the renewal form to the Board by the deadline (usually the doctor's birth month), the Board typically gave the doctor a 30-day grace period. The Board considers physicians who do not meet this grace period to have allowed their licenses to lapse and, consequently, no longer licensed to practice medicine in Minnesota. It is possible for the Board to re-issue or "renew" lapsed licenses but the process is much more rigorous and expensive. Thus, timely renewal is very important.
The renewal process also includes verification that doctors have satisfied a minimal number of CME course credits. Verification usually is not very difficult. The Board does, however, conduct a random audit of a very small percentage of minnesota doctors to determine whether they have met these requirements.
One of the best methods of verification is good record-keeping. The Board itself relies substantially on the course evaluations that each physician is expected to complete for every CME course. By failing to turn in an evaluation, the physician runs the risk of raising doubts as to his or her attendance. He or she ultimately may be able to provide the necessary verification through other means, but this could require significant additional effort, time, and expense. Alternative documentation might include copies of all CME course materials reflecting the titles, dates, and locations. Copies of receipts or cancelled checks are also helpful. The best safeguard against any questions during a Board audit is the submission of an evaluation after each CME course.
In some rare instances, the Board has referred matters involving CME verification to its complaint review committees for investigation and potential disciplinary action. A physician who receives notice of an audit is well advised to respond promptly to the notice and to provide all necessary documentation.