IBM Pursues Six Legislative Priorities

Date of Publication (January 23, 2015)

This legislative session, the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) is pursuing six legislative priorities, some of which have come before the Iowa General Assembly in the past. In 2013, the IBM pursued omnibus legislation to mandate that all prescribers and pharmacists access Iowa’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) prior to prescribing or dispensing controlled substances, to allow the IBM to utilize alternate board members and administrative law judges in disciplinary hearings, and to increase the maximum civil penalty the board might impose from its current level of $10,000 per case. Numerous stakeholders took issue with one or more of these proposals and ultimately the bill did not advance to passage. This year, the IBM is back with several of these proposals as separate bills. During the 2015 Legislative Session, the IBM is pursuing the following legislative changes:

  1.  Interstate Medical Licensure Compact – Developed by the Federation of State Medical Boards, the compact would expedite licensure for qualified physicians among member states, as well as create a uniform process for exchanging licensure and regulatory information between members. At least seven states must adopt the compact for it to go into effect. IMS supports Iowa joining the Compact; however, we’ve also articulated the need for statewide telemedical practice standards before the compact would go into effect. The IBM is currently involved in the public vetting process for its proposed administrative rules to delineate such comprehensive standards.
  2. Relinquish Inactive Medical License – As a measure intended to lessen administrative burdens, the IBM is seeking legislation that would automatically relinquish a licensee’s rights to a license that has been inactive for five years. This administrative relinquishment would not be considered a disciplinary action.
  3. Administrative Medical License – This would create an administrative license the IBM may grant to physicians who will not practice clinical medicine. A physician with an administrative license would be allowed to advise organizations, authorize or deny payments for care, conduct medical research, review care provided by other healthcare providers, and perform other similar functions that do not involve direct patient care.
  4. Civil Penalties – This proposal represents a renewed effort to increase the maximum civil penalty the IBM might impose from its current level of $10,000 per case. The change would allow for $10,000 per count with a maximum of $25,000 per case.
  5. Use of Administrative Law Judges to Hear Certain Cases – This proposal is also a return to a previous effort to allow the IBM to utilize administrative law judges in nonmedical disciplinary hearings. The measure would ease Board members’ administrative workload and expedite case resolution.
  6. Use of PMP Database When Prescribing Controlled Substances – A third proposal originally included in 2013’s stalled omnibus bill, this proposal would require physicians prescribing controlled substances to use the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database if they suspect patients of abusing or diverting prescriptions.