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What do state medical boards do?

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2023 | Health Care Law

Ensuring that the physicians in the U.S. are capable of taking care of patients starts with licensing. That is where the state medical board comes in.

Candidates who wish to become medical practitioners must pass rigorous exams to ensure they have the knowledge to care for patients. This is the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This ensures that state medical boards have a standard bar that they can use to license practitioners. Below, you’ll find more information about what a state medical board does.

Issue examinations

The USMLE is a three-step test that the medical board will begin administering after two years of medical education. It ensures that doctors have the necessary scientific foundation to practice medicine, the skill to apply what they learned in medical school, a solid understanding of healthcare laws and a lifelong commitment to learning.

Enforce professional conduct standards

Aside from having to prove that they are capable through initial examinations, doctors have to meet rigorous professional conduct standards. Physicians must maintain their credentials and face people’s criticism about their work ethics if they deviate from the norm. Additionally, they must refrain from using illicit drugs and reveal any details about arrests and convictions to the state board. Anytime there is a complaint, the medical board must examine the details and determine whether any remediation or sanction is appropriate.

Today’s state medical boards have a tough job. They have to draft professional conduct standards and enforce them. They also have to ensure that new doctors meet all of the requirements to practice and grant them licenses. While the board designed these tasks to protect patients, the board can sometimes take them too far and doctors can face punishments they do not deserve.  While courts give tremendous deference to the board’s actions, the courts are available to seek redress of egregious decisions.