SUMMARY OF: A Special Report on the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED); Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing (DCBPL); State Medical Board (SMB), June 16, 2011

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 of the Alaska Statutes and a special request by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, we have conducted a performance audit to determine: (1) whether SMB complaints are processed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner; (2) whether the SMB applies disciplinary sanctions consistently in both adjudicated and non-adjudicated cases; (3) whether SMB disciplinary actions are reported to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Practitioners Data Bank (NPDB) as required by state and federal laws; and (4) whether the SMB executive administrator’s decisions to initiate a complaint against a licensee for a license renewal application issue are reasonable.

Report Conclusions

Based on our audit, we determined:

  • Complaints are not processed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.
  • SMB disciplinary sanctions are consistently applied to both adjudicated and non-adjudicated cases.
  • SMB disciplinary actions are not reported to FSMB and the NPDB in accordance with state and federal laws.
  • Complaints initiated by the SMB executive administrator regarding license renewal application issues are reasonable.
  • SMB disciplinary sanctions and reporting to FSMB and the NPDB are now similar to other states.

Findings and Recommendations

Recommendation No. 1

DCBPL’s director should implement improvements over complaint processing.

The DCBPL Investigation Unit’s SMB complaint processing is untimely, has inefficiencies, and, in some cases, is ineffective. In summary, DCBPL’s director should:

  • Establish regulatory timelines for processing complaints.
  • Address inefficiencies in obtaining evidentiary documents.
  • Implement oversight of the Investigation Unit’s workload, including staff assignments.
  • Address the case management system deficiencies.
  • Assess the processing of complaints from external sources.

Recommendation No. 2

DCBPL’s director should implement procedures to ensure SMB disciplinary actions are reported in accordance with state and federal laws.

Four of 18 cases with SMB disciplinary actions were not reported to one or both national data banks, and most of those reported were not submitted within the 30-day timeframe. Additionally, a board order was reported to FSMB and the NPDB when not required under state and federal laws.