O'Brien and Ryan, LLP - Attorneys at Law
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New Jersey Aims to Protect Patients Through Physician Disciplinary Proceedings

On January 4, 2006, New Jersey enacted A.1698, which involves disciplinary actions associated with physicians' licenses to practice medicine. This legislation complements the Health Care Professional Responsibility Reporting Enhancement Act.

The new legislation requires the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners to suspend a physician's license when the Board receives documentation that the physician's authority to practice medicine has been revoked or subject to a final or interim order of suspension by another state, agency or authority. The action of the other state, agency or authority must be based upon facts that demonstrate that the physician's continued practice of medicine would pose a risk to the public's welfare or health. Further, the Board has the authority to suspend a physician's license if the findings of another state, agency or authority demonstrate gross or repeated negligence, fraud or other professional misconduct that adversely affects the public's welfare or health. A physician who receives notification of the suspension will have the opportunity to submit evidence, and in some cases, will have an opportunity for oral argument.

Under the Health Care Professional Responsibility Reporting Enhancement Act, a health care entity must provide written notice to the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety if a health care professional associated with the health care entity displays impairment, incompetence or professional misconduct that adversely impacts patient care or safety. The health care entity must also provide written notice to the Division if the health care professional has privileges revoked or suspended. Further, if a health care professional and a health care entity are parties to the same medical malpractice lawsuit, the health care entity must provide written notice to the Division if there is a settlement, judgment or arbitration award. All records associated with a health care entity's notice to the Division must be maintained for seven years and must be made available to the Division, Board or other relevant organization.


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