October 25, 2011

The Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners and the Medical Licensure Commission of Alabama have a website. We will refer to the Board and the Commission collectively as the “Board.”

The Board has exclusive authority in the State of Alabama to issue, revoke, and reinstate all licenses to practice medicine or osteopathy in Alabama.

The Board published its 2010 Annual Report in its Newsletter and Report covering the period from January through March, 2011. It can be viewed by clicking here. The Annual Report stated that there was an increase in the number of newly licensed physicians in Alabama in 2010, with 669 approved applicants by endorsement and 126 approved applicants by examination (in 2010, there were 65 more approved applicants than in 2009).

The Board reported that there were 558 complaint inquiries received in 2010; 434 complaint inquiries resolved; and, 11 complaint inquiries pending. There were 135 formal complaint investigations in 2010, with 113 completed and 22 pending. There were 12 voluntary agreements and 3 voluntary restrictions entered into during 2010. There were 70 impaired physicians being monitored in 2010 (the Board reported that 993 impaired physicians had been monitored since 1990). There were 2 summary suspensions and 4 voluntary surrenders in 2010.

The Board’s very short 2010 Annual Report did not provide much other useful information (the Public Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners for Febuary 16, 2011 noted the Board’s approval of the 2010 Annual Report and indicated that the Annual Report would be attached to the Public Minutes as Exhibit EE, but Exhibit EE was not published with the Public Minutes.) You can read the Public Minutes here.

The Board’s most recent six-page Newsletter and Report for the period from July to September, 2011 briefly notes “public actions” taken against licensees. We took a further look into the first public action listed by the Board in its Newsletter and Report. Although there apparently was a Consent Order entered into and stipulated to on June 21, 2011, “reprimanding the license to practice medicine in Alabama” (whatever that means) and “restricting the license to non-clerical, administrative medicine only” (whatever that means), our license inquiry on the Board’s website regarding this doctor’s license to practice medicine in Alabama resulted in being provided public information stating that his license was “Active – Non Renewal”  (whatever that means) and that his license expires on December 31, 2011.

What’s the deal? What did this Alabama doctor do (or not do) that resulted in a reprimand/restriction? Is there more useful and important information regarding this doctor being kept from the public that may help Alabama citizens make informed and intelligent decisions regarding health care in Alabama? We can’t figure it out — can you?

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