This bill provided a number of procedural and substantive safeguards for physicians that were previously not guaranteed by law or by NCMB policy. Changes include the following:
- NCMB processes must be transparent and notice must be given when an investigation is initiated.
- Investigations lasting more than six months must be justified by the NCMB in writing.
- Board members are banned from initiating an investigation on their own and may not serve as expert witnesses for the prosecution.
- Requires the NCMB to communicate through licensee counsel, if the licensee has chosen to retain counsel.
- Final agency decisions must be based on a majority of the evidence admitted during a hearing.
- Permits a licensee 30 days to appeal any public disciplinary sanction imposed by the Board.
- The Board is required to provide the licensee a copy of a complaint when it involves the care of a patient.
On February 1, 2012 final approval was given to the NCMB’s proposed disciplinary rules to fulfill the requirements of SB 958. The rules are now effective and were published in the March 1, 2012 NC Register.