Medical Board Thinking of By-Passing the ISC Process
Posted Sep 23 2009 10:55pm
The Board members and the Board staff have been overwhelmed by the number of Informal Settlement Conferences (ISCs) over the past two to three years. Last fiscal year, which ended on August 31st, the Board held 775 ISCs. There were 521 in 2007 and 482 in 2006. The staff does not foresee a halt to the number of disciplinary cases.
The Board is considering the idea of creating a rotating Panel of five people, made up of Board members and District Review Committee members, both physician and public members, both MD and DOs. This Panel would meet for a limited amount of time to pre-review cases and send cases to ISC if necessary. They would meet by phone. They would have the authority to dismiss, offer the individual a settlement offer without a hearing or refer the person to an ISC. According to staff, the recommendations of the Panel would not be binding.
A similar system has been in place in licensure for a few months and it has cut down on the number of applications before the Licensure Committee.
My Take: Depending on how its done, this could be a plus or it could be a minus. The Board is criticized for doing things behind closed doors (unknown complaints, unknown experts, ISC Panel members are not disclosed, no right of access by the licensee to see the investigative file), so if this is another group of people who will meet in secret to make decision that the public nor the licensee is aware of, that will be a problem. My experience with the licensure process is: if the recommendation is rejected, you will likely end up with the same thing. That may be legitimate and it may not. But from a perception issue, it looks bad. I also wonder if this is even allowable by the statute and the Open Meetings Act. We’ll see how things play out.