State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_90 > GS_90-14

§ 90‑14.  DisciplinaryAuthority.

(a)        The Board shallhave the power to place on probation with or without  conditions, imposelimitations and conditions on, publicly reprimand, assess monetary redress,issue public letters of concern, mandate free medical services, requiresatisfactory completion of treatment programs or remedial or educationaltraining, fine, deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, or other authorityto practice medicine in this State, issued by the Board to any person who hasbeen found by the Board to have committed any of the following acts or conduct,or for any of the following reasons:

(1)        Immoral ordishonorable conduct.

(2)        Producing orattempting to produce an abortion contrary to law.

(3)        Made falsestatements or representations to the Board, or willfully concealed from theBoard material information in connection with an application for a license, anapplication, request or petition for reinstatement or reactivation of alicense, an annual registration of a license, or an investigation or inquiry bythe Board.

(4)        Repealed by SessionLaws 1977, c. 838, s. 3.

(5)        Being unable topractice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason ofillness, drunkenness, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, chemicals, or any othertype of material or by reason of any physical or mental abnormality. The Boardis empowered and authorized to require a physician licensed by it to submit toa mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the Board beforeor after charges may be presented against the physician, and the results of theexamination shall be admissible in evidence in a hearing before the Board.

(6)        Unprofessionalconduct, including, but not limited to, departure from, or the failure toconform to, the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice, or theethics of the medical profession, irrespective of whether or not a patient isinjured thereby, or the committing of any act contrary to honesty, justice, orgood morals, whether the same is committed in the course of the licensee'spractice or otherwise, and whether committed within or without North Carolina.The Board shall not revoke the license of or deny a license to a person, ordiscipline a licensee in any manner, solely because of that person's practiceof a therapy that is experimental, nontraditional, or that departs fromacceptable and prevailing medical practices unless, by competent evidence, theBoard can establish that the treatment has a safety risk greater than theprevailing treatment or that the treatment is generally not effective.

(7)        Conviction in anycourt of a crime involving moral turpitude, or the violation of a law involvingthe practice of medicine, or a conviction of a felony; provided that a felonyconviction shall be treated as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(8)        By falserepresentations has obtained or attempted to obtain practice, money or anythingof value.

(9)        Has advertised orpublicly professed to treat human ailments under a system or school oftreatment or practice other than that for which the physician has beeneducated.

(10)      Adjudication ofmental incompetency, which shall automatically suspend a license unless theBoard orders otherwise.

(11)      Lack of professionalcompetence to practice medicine with a reasonable degree of skill and safetyfor patients or failing to maintain acceptable standards of one or more areasof professional physician practice. In this connection the Board may considerrepeated acts of a physician indicating the physician's failure to properlytreat a patient. The Board may, upon reasonable grounds, require a physician tosubmit to inquiries or examinations, written or oral, as the Board deemsnecessary to determine the professional qualifications of such licensee. Inorder to annul, suspend, deny, or revoke a license of an accused person, theBoard shall find by the greater weight of the evidence that the care providedwas not in accordance with the standards of practice for the procedures ortreatments administered.

(11a)    Not actively practicedmedicine or practiced as a physician assistant, or having not maintainedcontinued competency, as determined by the Board, for the two‑year periodimmediately preceding the filing of an application for an initial license fromthe Board or a request, petition, motion, or application to reactivate aninactive, suspended, or revoked license previously issued by the Board. TheBoard is authorized to adopt any rules or regulations it deems necessary tocarry out the provisions of this subdivision.

(12)      Promotion of the saleof drugs, devices, appliances or goods for a patient, or providing services toa patient, in such a manner as to exploit the patient, and upon a finding ofthe exploitation, the Board may order restitution be made to the payer of thebill, whether the patient or the insurer, by the physician; provided that adetermination of the amount of restitution shall be based on credible testimonyin the record.

(13)      Having a license topractice medicine or the authority to practice medicine revoked, suspended,restricted, or acted against or having a license to practice medicine denied bythe licensing authority of any jurisdiction. For purposes of this subdivision,the licensing authority's acceptance of a license to practice medicine voluntarilyrelinquished by a physician or relinquished by stipulation, consent order, orother settlement in response to or in anticipation of the filing ofadministrative charges against the physician's license, is an action against alicense to practice medicine.

(14)      The failure torespond, within a reasonable period of time and in a reasonable manner asdetermined by the Board, to inquiries from the Board concerning any matteraffecting the license to practice medicine.

(15)      The failure tocomplete an amount not to exceed 150 hours of continuing medical educationduring any three consecutive calendar years pursuant to rules adopted by theBoard.

The Board may, in itsdiscretion and upon such terms and conditions and for such period of time as itmay prescribe, restore a license so revoked or otherwise acted upon, exceptthat no license that has been revoked shall be restored for a period of twoyears following the date of revocation.

(b)        The Board shallrefer to the North Carolina Physicians Health Program all licensees whosehealth and effectiveness have been significantly impaired by alcohol, drugaddiction or mental illness. Sexual misconduct shall not constitute mentalillness for purposes of this subsection.

(c)        A felony convictionshall result in the automatic revocation of a license issued by the Board,unless the Board orders otherwise or receives a request for a hearing from theperson within 60 days of receiving notice from the Board, after the conviction,of the provisions of this subsection. If the Board receives a timely requestfor a hearing in such a case, the provisions of G.S. 90‑14.2 shall befollowed.

(d)        Repealed by SessionLaws 2006‑144, s. 4, effective October 1, 2006, and applicable to acts oromissions that occur on or after that date.

(e)        The Board and itsmembers and staff shall not be held liable in any civil or criminal proceedingfor exercising, in good faith, the powers and duties authorized by law.

(f)         A person,partnership, firm, corporation, association, authority, or other entity actingin good faith without fraud or malice shall be immune from civil liability for(i) reporting, investigating, assessing, monitoring, or providing an expertmedical opinion to the Board regarding the acts or omissions of a licensee orapplicant that violate the provisions of subsection (a) of this section or anyother provision of law relating to the fitness of a licensee or applicant topractice medicine and (ii) initiating or conducting proceedings against alicensee or applicant if a complaint is made or action is taken in good faithwithout fraud or malice. A person shall not be held liable in any civilproceeding for testifying before the Board in good faith and without fraud ormalice in any proceeding involving a violation of subsection (a) of thissection or any other law relating to the fitness of an applicant or licensee topractice medicine, or for making a recommendation to the Board in the nature ofpeer review, in good faith and without fraud and malice.

(g)        Prior to takingaction against any licensee for providing care not in accordance with thestandards of practice for the procedures or treatments administered, the Boardshall whenever practical consult with a licensee who routinely utilizes or isfamiliar with the same modalities and who has an understanding of the standardsof practice for the modality administered. Information obtained as result ofthe consultation shall be available to the licensee at the informal nonpublicprecharge conference.

(h)        No investigation ofa licensee shall be initiated upon the direction of a single member of theBoard without another Board member concurring. A Board member shall not serveas an expert in determining the basis for the initiation of an investigation.

(i)         At the time offirst communication from the Board or agent of the Board to a licenseeregarding a complaint or investigation, the Board shall provide notice inwriting to the licensee that informs the licensee: (i) of the existence of anycomplaint or other information forming the basis for the initiation of aninvestigation; (ii) that the licensee may retain counsel; (iii) how the Boardwill communicate with the licensee regarding the investigation or disciplinaryproceeding in accordance with subsections (m) and (n) of this section; (iv) thatthe licensee has a duty to respond to inquiries from the Board concerning anymatter affecting the license, and all information supplied to the Board and itsstaff will be considered by the Board in making a determination with regard tothe matter under investigation; (v) that the Board will complete itsinvestigation within six months or provide an explanation as to why it must beextended; and (vi) that if the Board makes a decision to initiate publicdisciplinary proceedings, the licensee may request in writing an informalnonpublic precharge conference.

(j)         After the Boardhas made a nonpublic determination to initiate disciplinary proceedings, butbefore public charges have been issued, the licensee requesting so in writing,shall be entitled to an informal nonpublic precharge conference. At least fivedays prior to the informal nonpublic precharge conference, the Board willprovide to the licensee the following: (i) all relevant information obtainedduring an investigation, including exculpatory evidence except for informationthat would identify an anonymous complainant; (ii) the substance of any writtenexpert opinion that the Board relied upon, not including information that wouldidentify an anonymous complainant or expert reviewer; (iii) notice that thelicensee may retain counsel, and if the licensee retains counsel allcommunications from the Board or agent of the Board regarding the disciplinaryproceeding will be made through the licensee's counsel; (iv) notice that if aBoard member initiated the investigation then that Board member will notparticipate in the adjudication of the matter before the Board or hearingcommittee; (v) notice that the Board may use an administrative law judge ordesignate hearing officers to conduct hearings as a hearing committee to takeevidence; (vi) notice that the hearing shall proceed in the manner prescribedin Article 3A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes and as otherwise providedin this Article; and (vii) any Board member who serves as a hearing officer inthis capacity shall not serve as part of the quorum that determines the finalagency decision.

(k)        Unless theconditions specified in G.S. 150B‑3(c) exist, the Board shall not seek torequire of a licensee the taking of any action adversely impacting thelicensee's medical practice or license without first giving notice of theproposed action, the basis for the proposed action, and information requiredunder subsection (i) of this section.

(l)         The Board shallcomplete any investigation initiated pursuant to this section no later than sixmonths from the date of first communication required under subsection (i) ofthis section, unless the Board provides to the licensee a written explanationof the circumstances and reasons for extending the investigation.

(m)       If a licenseeretains counsel to represent the licensee in any matter related to a complaint,investigation, or proceeding, the Board shall communicate to the licenseethrough the licensee's counsel.

(n)        Notwithstandingsubsection (m) of this section, if the licensee has retained counsel and theBoard has not made a nonpublic determination to initiate disciplinaryproceedings, the Board may serve orders to produce, orders to appear, orprovide notice that the Board will not be taking any further action against alicensee to both the licensee and the licensee's counsel.  (C.S., s. 6618; 1921, c. 47,s. 4; Ex. Sess. 1921, c. 44, s. 6; 1933, c. 32; 1953, c. 1248, s. 2; 1969, c.612, s. 4; c. 929, s. 6; 1975, c. 690, s. 4; 1977, c. 838, s. 3; 1981, c. 573,ss. 9, 10; 1987, c. 859, ss. 6‑10; 1993, c. 241, s. 1; 1995, c. 405, s.4; 1997‑443, s. 11A.118(a); 1997‑481, s. 1; 2000‑184, s. 5;2003‑366, ss. 3, 4; 2006‑144, s. 4; 2007‑346, s. 14; 2009‑363,ss. 2, 3; 2009‑558, ss. 1.2, 1.3, 1.4.)