October 16, 2011

The North Carolina Medical Board (“Board”) is responsible to regulate medicine and surgery for “the benefit and protection of the people of North Carolina.” Board

The Board has issued its 2010 Annual Report (“Report”). The Board reported that there were 31,997 active licenses for physicians in North Carolina as of January, 2011, up from 31,278 as of January, 2010. Of those, 22,879 were in-state and 9,118 were out-of-state as of January, 2011. With regard to initial licensing of physicians, there were 1,986 in 2010 compared to 2,105 in 2009 and 1,879 in 2008.

There were a total of 2,065 complaints filed with the Board in 2010, up slightly from 2,037 in 2009. Most of the complaints (1,313 in 2010) were received from patients or the general public. The category with the largest number of complaints for which the Board took some type of action was for incompetence, failure to meet standards, or quality of care (95), followed by prescribing issues (misprescribing, inappropriate prescribing, improper prescribing, or self prescribing) (68) and alcohol/substance abuse (alcohol abuse, substance abuse, obtaining drugs improperly or illegally) (51).

The Board’s actions are divided into “prejudicial action” (an action that is adverse in nature and reflects a violation of the North Carolina Medical Practice Act) and “non-prejudicial action” (reflecting the Board’s determination of satisfactory performance following a previous disciplinary action or the dropping of charges). Prejudical actions against physicians during 2010 included license denials (5), probations (20), revocations (4), reprimands (45), suspensions (48), surrenders (8), public letters of concern (71), conditions on licenses (46), and limitations/restrictions on licenses (18). Non-prejudicial actions included dismissals (3), consent orders lifted (11), and reentry agreements (11).

The Board’s actions involving physicians during 2010 included consent orders (112), final orders (11), and notices of charges and allegations (13).

Medical Malpractice Payments Reported To The Board

North Carolina law requires that the Board publish medical malpractice settlements of $75,000 or more that occurred on or after May 1, 2008, and that the Board publish a seven year history of judgments and awards. As of December 1, 2009, the Board published all judgments and awards since December 1, 2002. The public may access on the Board’s website the medical malpractice claims/payments information regarding particular physicians licensed by North Carolina.

Physicians licensed by the Board are required to report to the Board the required medical malpractice claims information within 60 days. The information remains on the Board’s website for 7 years from the date of the judgment or award. The Board is one of a few state medical boards that allows licensees to publish a statement explaining the circumstances that led to the judgment, award, payment, or settlement, without disclosing the patient’s identity or the amount awarded or paid. Source

When the medical negligence (medical errors or medical mistakes) of a North Carolina physician or another medical care provider in North Carolina or in another U.S. state causes serious injuries or death, you should take steps to promptly determine and protect your legal rights. Our website may be able to help connect you with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you with your medical malpractice claim. Our toll free telephone number is 800-295-3959.

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