OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 186 (File 270, as amended by Senate “A”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE LICENSING, INVESTIGATION AND DISCIPLINARY PROCESSES FOR PHYSICIANS AND NURSES.

SUMMARY:

Starting October 1, 2012, this bill increases (1) the membership of the state Medical Examining Board, from 15 to 21 and (2) the pool of people who may serve on medical hearing panels, from 24 to 36. The bill makes other related changes, including changing the required specialties for physician members of the board and the hearing panel pool.

The law generally requires physicians applying for license renewal to have completed at least 50 contact hours of continuing medical education (CME) during the previous 24 months. The bill allows the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner to waive up to 10 contact hours of CME for a physician who (1) engages in activities related to his or her service as a member of the Medical Examining Board or a medical hearing panel or (2) helps DPH with its duties to its professional boards and commissions.

The bill changes the qualifications for registered nurses (RN) who are members of the state Board of Examiners for Nursing.

The bill also makes technical changes.

*Senate Amendment “A” deletes a provision in the underlying bill requiring physicians, dentists, and nurses to renew their licenses through DPH's online license renewal system and pay their fees online.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

MEDICAL EXAMINING BOARD

On and after October 1, 2012, the bill increases, from 15 to 21, the membership of the state Medical Examining Board, and makes other changes to the board's composition, as shown in Table 1 below. By law, the governor appoints the board's members.

Table 1: Connecticut Medical Examining Board Membership

Current Law (15 Members)

The Bill (21 Members)

Nine physicians, as follows:

- Five physicians practicing in CT

- One full-time faculty member of the UConn School of Medicine

- One full-time chief of staff at a general-care hospital in CT

- One supervising physician of a physician assistant (PA)

- One graduate of an American Osteopathic Association (AOA)-accredited medical education program

13 physicians, as follows:

- Three from any specialty

- Three specialists in internal medicine

- One psychiatrist

- One surgeon

- One obstetrician-gynecologist

- One pediatrician

- One emergency medical physician

- One supervising physician of a PA

- One graduate of an AOA-accredited medical education program

One licensed PA practicing in CT

One licensed PA

Five public members

Seven public members

Current law requires that successors and appointments to fill a board vacancy must have the same qualifications as the members they succeed or replace. The bill appears to eliminate this requirement upon the bill's passage but reinstate it on October 1, 2012.

MEDICAL HEARING PANELS

On and after October 1, 2012, the bill increases, from 24 to 36, the number of people who may serve as members of medical hearing panels in conjunction with the Medical Examining Board. It also changes qualifications for physician appointees. By law, the DPH commissioner appoints a pool of people who may serve on medical hearing panels. Three-person panels hear allegations of malpractice against physicians and physician assistants.

Table 2: List of Who May Serve on Medical Hearing Panels

Current Law (24 Members)

The Bill (36 Members)

At least 8 physicians, including at least:

- One graduate of an AOA-accredited medical education program

23 physicians, including at least:

- One graduate of an AOA-accredited medical education program

- Two specialists in internal medicine

- One psychiatrist

- One psychiatrist specializing in addiction medicine

- One obstetrician-gynecologist

- One pediatrician

- One emergency medical physician

- One surgeon

- One anesthesiologist

At least one licensed PA

One licensed PA

Nine public members

Twelve public members

Current law provides that successors or members appointed to fill a vacancy on the list must have the same qualifications as those required of the member being succeeded or replaced. The bill specifies that the requirement applies only to professional members, and not public members, appointed to fill a vacancy. The bill appears to eliminate the requirement upon the bill's passage but reinstate it on October 1, 2012.

BOARD OF EXAMINERS FOR NURSING

By law, the Board of Examiners for Nursing consists of 12 members, including five RNs. The bill changes the required qualifications for the RN members. It requires that (1) one, rather than three, of the RN members be connected with an institution affording opportunities for nurse education and (2) two, rather than at least two, have a master's degree in nursing. It also eliminates the requirement that one be an instructor at an approved school for licensed practical nurses, instead requiring that one have a doctorate in nursing practice or nursing science.

By law, the board also includes two licensed practical nursing graduates; one advanced practice registered nurse; and four public members. The governor appoints the board's members.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

24

Nay

0

(03/23/2012)