The United States Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act dominates the news and is on the minds of health care attorneys across the country. The constitutional fate of the Act will be decided when the Supreme Court releases its opinion in June, an event all health care providers will anticipate as the landscape of American health care awaits its fate.
Yet, there are still local developments to report that affect Delaware practitioners. In recent months the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline has grappled with the degree to which a practitioner must demonstrate clinical competency in order to obtain a license, particularly when the applicant has been away from clinical practice for an extended period of time. The Board’s focus on this issue has been reflected in two recent written decisions.
So it was no surprise that earlier this month, the Board published notice of a proposed rule that amends “outdated” requirements for license renewal and for examination of practitioners out of clinical practice for three or more years seeking initial licensure in the State. Under the proposed rule, practitioners seeking initial licensure, but who have been out of clinical practice for three or more years, must demonstrate clinical competency. The proposed rule will require such practitioners to complete an approved “clinical and didactic” practice assessment program and demonstrate that the applicant has kept current with BMLD CME requirements.
The proposed rule indicates that a list of approved practice assessment programs will be posted on its website. Nothing has been posted yet and it will be interesting to see the list. From our experience, the availability of clinical and didactic practice assessment programs is somewhat limited, with the most prominent programs located in Colorado and California. We are also aware that a similar program is underway in Pennsylvania.
The proposed rule also seeks to make important procedural changes to the license renewal process. For any provider who fails to renew a license within one year after it expires, the renewal process will not be available. Instead, the practitioner will be required to seek licensure under the same conditions that govern applicants for new licensure and the requirements that govern reentry to practice.
Additionally, all applicants seeking renewal of a license after it has expired must certify that he or she has not practiced in Delaware while the license has expired.
A public hearing on the proposed rule will be held on April 3, 2012. More information on the hearing and the text of the proposed rule can be found at http://regulations.delaware.gov/register/march2012/proposed/15%20DE%20Reg%201293%2003-01-12.htm.