Iowa Board of Medicine

Iowa Board of Medicine
400 SW 8th Street, Suite C
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-4686
(515)-281-5171 • Fax (515)-242-5908

The Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) is responsible for licensing and disciplining physicians (MDs and DOs) in the state of Iowa. There are ten (10) members of the IBM, seven of whom are required by law to be physicians (five physician MDs and two physician DOs) and three of whom must be consumer representatives. Members are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate.

IBM rules are key resources for physicians in understanding its operations and requirements. Those rules are found in the Iowa Administrative Code chapter 653. For IBM rules, go to the IBM's home page.

From time to time the IBM issues statements of policy guiding the practice of medicine.

The Iowa Medical Society advocates before the IBM on behalf of its member physicians. Often IMS files comments on proposed rules, sometimes objecting to those rules or offering suggestions for improvement, and offers testimony, both formally and informally, on issues of policy before the IBM. IMS, through its Office of Legal Affairs & Policy Development, maintains a file of comments and testimony. Contact .

The following topical listing is not comprehensive.

Go to the IBM's home page, to link to rules, forms, and other matters within the IBM's jurisdiction.

Iowa Board of Medicine issues 2011 Annual Report

The 2011 Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) Annual Report is now available. IBM is an executive branch agency charged with the licensing and regulation of physicians (practitioners with a doctor of medicine degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree) and acupuncturists. The ten-member Board is composed of seven physicians (five MDs and two DOs) and three non-physicians who represent the public.

Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote in the Iowa Senate for a full three-year term or to complete the unexpired term of a member who resigned. More information about the Board's work is available in the agendas, minutes, reports and press releases posted on the website. The Board also has a page on Facebook.

Board of Medicine offers book and CME on pain medication prescribing

The Iowa Board of Medicine is offering Iowa physicians another resource to use when prescribing controlled substances to patients who suffer from chronic pain. "Responsible Opioid Prescribing: A Physician's Guide" is available free of charge to physicians upon request. The book complements Iowa's administrative rule on pain management, IAC 653 - 13.2. To order a copy, call (515) 242-6039 or send an e-mail to that includes the physician's name and postal address.

The book, which is written by Scott Fishman, MD, identifies pragmatic steps for reducing a patient's risk of addiction, abuse and diversion of pain medications. As Chief of the division of pain medication and a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the University of California at Davis, Fishman prepared the book in collaboration with the Federation of State Medical Boards, a consortium of physician licensing and regulatory boards, including Iowa. "Offering this book to Iowa physicians sends a strong message from the Board of Medicine that appropriate, safe, and effective pain management is an important part of providing good patient care," said Siroos Shirazi, MD, board chair. "When opioids are identified as appropriate for the treatment of pain, physicians have a responsibility to manage and reduce the risks associated with these controlled substances.

In addition, 7.25 hours of CME is available to physicians for only $30. Click here to access information about this special offering after you have read the book that is available for free for Iowa physicians from the Iowa Board of Medicine.

IBM changes name

Effective July 1 2007, the Iowa Board of Medicine has changed its name to the Iowa Board of Medicine or IBM. The board requested this statutory change because people were confusing it with the State Medical Examiners Office.

IMS opposes IBM proposed fee increase

IMS filed formal comments (PDF 113KB) of opposition to fee increases proposed by the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM). Under the proposal, the biennial license renewal fees increase from $400 for electronic filing to $450; 98% of Iowa physicians file electronically.

In 1999, the IBM increased the biennial license renewal fee from $200 to $325, a 38% fee increase; that fee was later reduced to $312.50 for electronic filing. In 2005, the $312.50 amount was increased to $400 for electronic filing, a 28% fee increase. This latest proposal represents a 12.5% fee increase. At $450, Iowa physicians would be paying the highest license renewal fees in comparison to neighboring states, the highest license renewal fees set by Iowa's independent health licensing boards (i.e., nursing, dentistry, pharmacy), and among the highest license renewal fees charged by other state medical boards.

In the comments, IMS acknowledged that by law, the IBM must support itself on licensing fees and requested that the IBM provide specific budget support for its requested increases. The IBM responded to the IMS request with detailed budget information indicating that without the increase, the IBM would be operating at a deficit for fiscal year 2009; with the increase, dollars should be adequate to support IBM functions to fiscal year 2011. The IBM also noted that its fees support both the IBM as well as the Iowa Health Physician Program and that most state licensing boards do not have physician health programs.

Screened and closed complaints are not investigations

The Iowa Board of Medicine is advising doctors who have had complaints filed against them to respond "yes" when asked if they have ever been investigated by a licensing authority - even if the complaint was screened and administratively closed. IMS has written a letter of concern (PDF 38KB) and analysis to the IBM.

Attorney to Assist Physicians Before the IBM

IMS cannot and does not represent individual physicians in legal matters before the IBM. The Office of Legal Affairs is pleased to suggest names of attorneys a physician (members only) might consider to assist them in legal matters before the IBM. The choice of an attorney lies solely with the physician; the Iowa Medical Society neither guarantees nor otherwise warrants the services provided by an attorney whose name was suggested to an inquiring physician. Contact .

Physicians may also contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the Iowa State Bar Association for suggestions; call (515) 243-3179 or go to and click on "Public Resources/Lawyer Referral."


IBM rules are key resources for physicians in understanding its operations and requirements. Those rules are found in the Iowa Administrative Code chapter 653. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

IBM proposes rules on physician-pharmacist collaboration
Discussions occurring for more than a year between the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) and the Iowa Board of Pharmacy Examiners (BPE) on physician-pharmacist collaboration in managing a patient's course of drug therapy have resulted in a round of proposed rulemaking initiated by the IBM.

The proposed rules allow physicians in either a community-based setting or under hospital protocol for inpatient care to enter into a written agreement with an authorized pharmacist delegating to that pharmacist certain drug therapy management responsibilities. Technical requirements must be satisfied and patient consent is required. IMS filed comments (PDF 25KB)on the proposed rules as did the Iowa Pharmacy Association; the IBM anticipates some redrafting of the rules. The BPE has yet to issue its coordinating draft rules. For a copy of the proposed rule, go to, click on "Iowa Administrative Code," then go to Iowa Administrative Bulletin, August 31, 2005 and search for rule ARC 4447B.


The IBM has several forms available on its website. Go to and click on "Forms."

Policy Statements

From time to time, the IBM issues statements of policy regarding the practice of medicine in Iowa. For instance, statements of policy have been issued on homeopathy, naturopathy, and needle EMGs. Go to and enter a search.


The IBM offers public access to non-confidential licensure and disciplinary information regarding Iowa licensed physicians. Go to and click on "DocFinder."

Licensure and License Renewal

Requirements for permanent physician licensure in Iowa and processes for application are set forth in rule 653-9. Requirements for resident, special and temporary physician licensure and processes for application are set forth in rule 653-10.

A license to practice medicine in Iowa must be renewed every two years. Processes for renewal are set forth in rule 653-9.11. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Licensure Fees

Fees for obtaining a license and renewing a license are set forth in rule 653-8. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Continuing Education

To maintain active licensure in the state of Iowa, physicians must meet certain continuing education requirements every two years. Requirements for continuing education, including mandatory training for abuse, are set forth in rule 653-11. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Mandatory Training for Child and Dependent Adult Abuse

Iowa law requires mandatory reporters of child and dependent adult abuse to receive training on identification and reporting of suspected instances of abuse. The IBM is required by law to enforce this training requirement for those physicians who are mandatory reporters of either or both child or dependent adult abuse. Definitions and training requirements are set forth and incorporated in rule 653-11.

Complaints, Investigations, Discipline

The IBM is statutorily authorized to receive complaints, investigate those complaints, and, if deemed appropriate, take disciplinary action against a licensed physician for incompetence or for violating other disciplinary rules or practice, office, or ethical standards. Complaint, investigation, and disciplinary grounds and processes are set forth in rule 653-12. Practice, office and ethical standards are set forth in rules 653-13. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Please note re: complaints against a physician

The Iowa Medical Society does not receive complaints subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the IBM. Specific processes for filing a complaint against a physician with the IBM are set forth in rule 653-12.5. For further information, contact the IBM at (515) 281-5171 or go to, click on "Forms," then go to "Miscellaneous" to obtain a copy of a complaint form.

Impaired Physicians

Professional licensing boards, including the IBM, are required by law to establish and operate impaired professional programs to identify and assist licensees with alcohol, substance abuse or other impairments. The IBM's Iowa Physicians Health Program (IPHC) operates under the jurisdiction of the IBM but, to the extent possible, is administered separately. Processes and procedures of the IPHP and the Iowa Physicians Health Committee (IPHC) are set forth in rule 653-14.

Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code" to review the rules. Click on "Physicians Health Program" to learn about the program, including processes for self-reporting. Obtain a "Self-Report" form and/or contact number for self-reporting by clicking on "Physicians Health Program" and reading to the end or by clicking on "Forms" and scrolling to "IPHP Self-report Form."

Questions regarding the IPHP may be directed to Deb Anglin, Program Coordinator, at (515) 281-6491.

Reporting Impaired or Incompetent Colleagues

A physician has a continuing duty to report to the IBM when that physician has knowledge that another physician may have engaged in "reportable conduct" -- wrongful acts or omissions constituting a basis for discipline. "Knowledge" means any information or evidence of reportable conduct acquired by personal observation, from a reliable or authoritative source, or under circumstances causing the licensee to believe that wrongful acts or omissions may have occurred. Reporting processes and requirements are set forth in rule 653-12.2. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Hospital Reports of Adverse Actions Against Physicians

Iowa law requires hospitals to report to the IBM any final disciplinary action approved by the hospital board of trustees that results in a limitation, suspension, or revocation of a physician's privilege to practice for reasons relating to the physician's professional competence or concerning any voluntary surrender or limitation of privileges for reasons relating to professional competence. Iowa Code section 147.135(3). The IBM periodically reminds hospitals of this affirmative obligation.

Reporting Adverse Judgments in Medical Negligence Cases

As a condition of licensure in Iowa, a physician has a continuing duty to report to the IBM every adverse judgment in a professional negligence action to which the physician was a party and every settlement of a claim against the licensee alleging professional negligence. Requirements for reporting, which also apply to physicians with lapsed licenses, are set forth in rule 653-12.1. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Physical or Mental Examination - Duty to Submit

As a condition of licensure in Iowa, a physician has a duty to submit to a physical or mental examination, including alcohol or drug screening, when directed by the IBM upon a finding of probable cause. The physician bears the expense for the exam. Requirements for submitting to such an exam are set forth in rule 653-12.3. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Prescribing or Dispensing Controlled Substances for Self or Family Members

A physician is subject to licensure discipline for indiscriminately or promiscuously prescribing, administering or dispensing any drug other than for a lawful purpose. The prohibition of this rule extends to self-prescribing or self-dispensing as well as prescribing or dispensing to a member of the physician's immediate family except as otherwise allowed by rule. Consult rule 653-12.4(19). Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Prescribing or Administering Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Patients with Chronic, Nonmalignant Pain

The IBM has established specific standards of practice for the management of chronic, nonmalignant pain and the prescription of controlled drugs for pain purposes. Physicians are required to adhere to IBM-proscribed protocol. Physicians have been disciplined by the IBM for failure to implement and adhere to the protocol. That protocol is set forth in rule 653-13.2. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Supervision of Pharmacists Who Administer Adult Immunizations

A physician may prescribe adult immunizations via written protocol for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines for administration by an authorized pharmacist if the physician meets the requirements for supervision set forth in IBM rule 653-13.3. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Supervision of Pharmacists Who Administer Childhood Immunizations

The IBM issued a policy clarification (June 2005) regarding physician supervision of pharmacists for purposes of administering immunizations to children. A physician may not supervise a pharmacist to administer any prescribed medication or immunization, including influenza or pneumococcal vaccine, to children by protocol. A physician may supervise a pharmacist to administer any vaccine or prescribed medication to a specific child by prescription if four conditions set forth in policy are satisfied. Go to and enter a search.

Medical Records

The IBM has established specific requirements for transfer of medical records, retention of medical records, and notification to active patients about their medical records upon death or retirement of the physician or sale of or physician departure from the medical practice. These requirements are set forth in rules 653-13.7(7) and 13.7(8). Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Terminating the Physician-Patient Relationship

The IBM has established specific requirements physicians shall meet in the event the physician terminates the physician-patient relationship. Those requirements are set forth in rule 653-13.7(1). Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."

Medical Ethics

The IBM is guided by AMA and AOA ethics in determining whether a physician has breached medical ethics for which the physician can be disciplined. Consult rule 653-13.20. Go to and click on "Rules/Iowa Code."