Welcome to the second installment of our business and healthcare law firm’s monthly medical board meeting review, focusing on the Georgia Composite Medical Board (“Medical Board” or “GCMB”). As a healthcare law firm with physician clients, it is our duty to stay up to date with the Medical Board’s positions and changes so as to better inform our clients. If you have licensing or other GCMB questions or would like to discuss this blog post, you may contact our healthcare and business law firm at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, email@example.com. You may also learn more about our law firm by visiting www.hamillittle.com.
A main theme during the introductory Executive Director’s Report involved preventing and responding to sexual misconduct in the healthcare field. The Board was presented with an article, “State Medical Board Recommendations for Stronger Approaches to Sexual Misconduct by Physicians,” available here. The Board also discussed House Bill 458, which passed the House and Senate and goes into effect on January 1, 2022. A blog post examining HB 458 in more detail is forthcoming from Hamil Little.
The Board also reviewed an email relating to conflicts of interest and marijuana. Specifically, a regulatory analyst asked the board whether “a physician that certifies patients to use low THC oil [may] have a financial interest, whether direct or indirect, in an out-of-state marijuana business. For example, would having an interest in a marijuana business in a state like Colorado or Washington violate [O.C.G.A.] § 16-22-224(b)?” The Board referred the regulatory analyst to the Laws and Rules without further comment.
The Rule Committee reported the following rules for comments: Rule 360-32-.01 “Definitions” (APRN) and Rule 360-32-.02 “Requirements for Nurse Protocol Agreement Pursuant to Code Section 43-34-25.” The Board also submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for review, Rule 360-5-.12 “Guidelines Concerning Prescriptive Authority,” Rule 360-35-.01 “Definitions” (Laser), and Rule 360-35-.05 “Practice.” Lastly, the committee will undertake a review of Rule 360-3-.05 “Medical Assistants, Polysomnography Technologists, and Radiology Technologists.”
The Physician Licensure Committee approved one petition to waive rule 360-2-.02(6), which is the rule requiring the applicant to pass all Steps of the USMLE within seven years. The committee also responded to an inquiry about whether a physician can treat patients in other states via telemedicine under an institutional license. In response, the committee provided that the “Telemedicine rule has to be followed. If performed through [an] institution, [that] would be allowed by GA law; otherwise, [you have] to be licensed where patients are located. No DEA per Institutional License code 43-34-33(e). Apply for full license of complete Clinical Skills Test.” The committee also denied five physician licensure applications for different reasons, including one denial because of “disciplinary action by [New York] and previous malpractice harmful to the public” and two denials for failing to provide sufficient information under O.C.G.A. § 43-34-8(a)(1) to demonstrate sufficient qualifications for a Georgia license.
The Nurse Protocol Advisory Committee clarified three questions presented to the committee. First, the committee clarified that a physician can supervise four nurse practitioners, unless the physician is exempt, in which case the physician can have eight NP’s but only four may work at a time. “PA’s went from two to four in 2020.” Second, a question was submitted regarding the prescriptive authority of CRNA’s and PA’s. The board answered: “(1) CRNA’s do not have the ability to prescribe in Georgia. Please defer to law. Language refers to nurses. (2) Yes, PA’s can order controlled substances in hospital setting. (3) No mandate for PA to register with DEA.” Third, the Board clarified that an APRN needs separate protocol agreements if he/she will be working with different physicians.
The Physician Assistant Committee approved many APRN’s applications for additional duties, including for Rapid Sequence Intubation, Micro Needling, Chemical Peels, Dermal Filler, Arterial Lines, and Central Lines.
The Respiratory Care Advisory Committee addressed a question regarding qualification to obtain a Georgia Respiratory Care Professional License. The committee determined the inquirer was unqualified and suggested she contact The National Board for Respiratory Care for credentialing information.
The Acupuncture Advisory Committee made clear that “at the current time for acupuncture license renewal, the Board only accepts CEU courses that are approved by NCCAOM,” the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
The Genetic Counselors Advisory Committee accepted as information an email “regarding how other states may be responding to the [American Board of Genetic Counseling] decision to allow unlimited attempts to pass the board examination.”
The Board issued six public orders in June. In one public consent order, the Board issued a public reprimand to a physician for having a disciplinary action against him from the Maryland State Board of Physicians for failing to submit a criminal background check with his renewal application. O.C.G.A. §§ 43-1-19(a)(5) and 43-34-8(a)(5) grants the Medical Board the authority to discipline a licensee who has had disciplinary action against him by another licensing authority. The board issued another public reprimand with fines against a physician who was found through a Board-appointed independent peer reviewer to have diagnosed, treated, and kept records below the minimum standards of acceptable medical practice. The Board issued a public consent order after a Board-appointed consultant concluded the physician failed to conform to the minimum standards of practice and required the physician to pay fines and obtain ten hours of CME in medication safety and ten hours of CME in proper prescribing. A final public consent order involved a physician who began working with a telemedicine company “based upon assurances that [the company] w[as] working within legal parameters but only learned this was not true when Federal authorities intervened.” The physician pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to engage in interstate travel or transportation in aid of a racketeering business and sentenced to one day of incarceration with credit for time served, one year of supervised release, a $5,500 fine, and $81,360 in restitution.
The July meeting already occurred. The next meeting will be held on August 5th.
Our attorneys are experienced in advising medical providers on licensure and Medical Board matters, and we stay up to date on actions and directions taken by the Medical Board. We have many prior blog posts discussing the Medical Board, such as our introduction to the Georgia Composite Medical Board, Tips for Interviewing With Your State Licensing Board, and a post about the Medical Board’s requirement to report to the National Practitioner Data Bank. If you have licensing or other GCMB questions or would like to discuss this blog post, you may contact our healthcare and business law firm at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also learn more about our law firm by visiting www.hamillittle.com.
*Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice.