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Georgia State Code
Title      43
Chapter      34  
Section Navigation     1 ... 25         26 ... 31.1  
      32 ... 41         42 ... 62    
    63 ... 72        100 ... 120   
   121 ... 143       144 ... 151     
Section<<< 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 >>>  
Title 43, Chapter 34, Section 37 (43-34-37)

(a) The board shall have authority to refuse to grant a license to an applicant or to discipline a physician licensed under this chapter or any antecedent law upon a finding by the board that the licensee or applicant has:

(1) Failed to demonstrate the qualifications or standards for a license contained in this chapter or in the rules and regulations of the board. It shall be incumbent upon the applicant to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that he meets all requirements for the issuance of a license; and, if the board is not satisfied as to the applicant's qualifications, it shall not issue a license;

(2) Knowingly made misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of medicine or in any document connected therewith, or practiced fraud or deceit or intentionally made any false statement in obtaining a license to practice medicine, or made a false or deceptive biennial registration with the board;

(3) Been convicted of a felony in the courts of this state or any other state, territory, country, or of the United States. As used in this paragraph, the term "conviction of a felony" shall include a conviction of an offense which if committed in this state would be deemed a felony under either state or federal law, without regard to its designation elsewhere. As used in this paragraph, the term "conviction" shall include a finding or verdict of guilt, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere in a criminal proceeding, regardless of whether the adjudication of guilt or sentence is withheld or not entered thereon;

(4) Committed a crime involving moral turpitude, without regard to conviction; the conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude shall be evidence of the commission of such crime. As used in this paragraph, the term "conviction" shall have the meaning prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subsection. For the purpose of this chapter, a conviction or plea of guilty or of nolo contendere to a charge or indictment by either federal or state government for income tax evasion shall not be considered a crime involving moral turpitude;

(5) Had his license to practice medicine revoked, suspended, or annulled by any lawful licensing authority; or had other disciplinary action taken against him by any lawful licensing authority; or been denied a license by any lawful licensing authority;

(6) Advertised for or solicited patients; obtained a fee or other thing of value on the representation that a manifestly incurable disease can be permanently cured; or made untruthful or improbable statements, or flamboyant or extravagant claims concerning his professional excellence;

(7) Engaged in any unprofessional, unethical, deceptive, or deleterious conduct or practice harmful to the public, which conduct or practice need not have resulted in actual injury to any person. As used in this paragraph, the term "unprofessional conduct" shall include any departure from, or failure to conform to, the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice and shall also include, but not be limited to, the prescribing or use of drugs, treatment, or diagnostic procedures which are detrimental to the patient as determined by the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice or by rule of the board;

(8) Performed, procured, or aided or abetted in performing or procuring a criminal abortion;

(9) Knowingly maintained a professional connection or association with any person who is in violation of this chapter or the rules or regulations of the board; or knowingly aided, assisted, procured, or advised any person to practice medicine contrary to this chapter or to the rules and regulations of the board; or knowingly performed any act which in any way aids, assists, procures, advises, or encourages any unlicensed person or entity to practice medicine; or divided fees or agreed to divide fees received for professional services with any person, firm, association, corporation, or other entity for bringing or referring a patient;

(10) Violated or attempted to violate a law, rule, or regulation of this state, any other state, the board, the United States, or any other lawful authority without regard to whether the violation is criminally punishable, which law, rule, or regulation relates to or in part regulates the practice of medicine, when the licensee or applicant knows or should know that such action is violative of such law, rule, or regulation; or violated a lawful order of the board, previously entered by the board in a disciplinary hearing;

(11) Committed any act or omission which is indicative of bad moral character or untrustworthiness;

(11.1) Failed to attempt to inform a patient, in a timely manner, that the physician has received the results of a laboratory test. The board shall promulgate rules for the implementation of this paragraph no later than January 1, 2002. Any physician who complies with the rules promulgated by the board for informing his or her patient that the results of any laboratory test have been received shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability for such disclosure;

(12) Been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction, within or outside this state. Any such adjudication shall automatically suspend the license of any such person and shall prevent the reissuance or renewal of any license so suspended for as long as the adjudication of incompetence is in effect unless the board, upon a finding that the licensee is mentally competent, orders otherwise. Any applicant who has been so adjudged to be mentally incompetent shall not receive a license unless the board, upon a finding that the applicant is mentally competent, orders otherwise; or

(13) Become unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition: (A) In enforcing this paragraph the board may, upon reasonable grounds, require a licensee or applicant to submit to a mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the board. The results of such examination shall be admissible in any hearing before the board, notwithstanding any claim of privilege under a contrary rule of law or statute, including, but not limited to, Code Section 24-9-21. Every person who shall accept the privilege of practicing medicine in this state or who shall file an application for a license to practice medicine in this state shall be deemed to have given his consent to submit to such mental or physical examination and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of the results in any hearing before the board, upon the grounds that the same constitutes a privileged communication. If a licensee or applicant fails to submit to such an examination when properly directed to do so by the board, unless such failure was due to circumstances beyond his control, the board may enter a final order upon proper notice, hearing, and proof of such refusal. Any licensee or applicant who is prohibited from practicing medicine under this paragraph shall at reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate to the board that he can resume or begin the practice of medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients;

(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the board may, upon reasonable grounds, obtain any and all records relating to the mental or physical condition of a licensee or applicant, including psychiatric records; and such records shall be admissible in any hearing before the board, notwithstanding any privilege under a contrary rule of law or statute, including, but not limited to, Code Section 24-9-21. Every person who shall accept the privilege of practicing medicine in this state or who shall file an application to practice medicine in this state shall be deemed to have given his consent to the board's obtaining any such records and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of such records in any hearing before the board, upon the grounds that the same constitute a privileged communication; and

(C) If any licensee or applicant could, in the absence of this paragraph, invoke a privilege to prevent the disclosure of the results of the examination provided for in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph or the records relating to the mental or physical condition of such licensee or applicant obtained pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, all such information shall be received by the board in camera and shall not be disclosed to the public, nor shall any part of the record containing such information be used against any licensee or applicant in any other type of proceeding.

(b)(1) When the board finds that any person is unqualified to be granted a license or finds that any person should be disciplined pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section, the board may take any one or more of the following actions:

(A) Refuse to grant a license to an applicant;

(B) Administer a public or private reprimand, provided that a private reprimand shall not be disclosed to any person except the licensee; (C) Suspend any license for a definite period;

(D) Limit or restrict any license;

(E) Revoke any license; or

(F) Condition the penalty, or withhold formal disposition, upon the physician's submission to the care, counseling, or treatment of physicians or other professional persons, and the completion of such care, counseling, or treatment, as directed by the board.

(2) In addition to and in conjunction with the actions enumerated pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the board may make a finding adverse to the licensee or applicant but withhold imposition of judgment and penalty; or it may impose the judgment and penalty but suspend enforcement thereof and place the physician on probation, which probation may be vacated upon noncompliance with such reasonable terms as the board may impose.

(c) In its discretion, the board may restore and reissue a license to practice medicine issued under this chapter or any antecedent law and, as a condition thereof, may impose any disciplinary or corrective measure provided in this chapter.

(d) The executive director is vested with the power and authority to make, or cause to be made through employees or agents of the board, such investigations as he or she, or the board, or any district attorney may deem necessary or advisable in the enforcement of this chapter. Any person properly conducting an investigation on behalf of the board shall have access to and may examine any writing, document, or other material, except that as to which privilege has not been denied or deemed waived by this chapter, and which is deemed by the president of the board, or vice-president if the president is not available, to be related to the fitness of any licensee or applicant to practice medicine. The executive director or the president of the board, or vice-president if the president is not available, may issue subpoenas to compel such access. When a subpoena is disobeyed, the board may apply to the superior court of the county where the person to whom the subpoena is issued resides for an order requiring obedience. Failure to comply with such order shall be punishable as for contempt of court. The results of any investigations whatsoever shall be reported only to the board, and the records of such investigations shall be kept by the board; no part of any such record shall be released for any purpose other than a hearing before the board and as provided in Chapter 34A of this title; nor shall such records be subject to subpoena.

(e) In any hearing to determine a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice medicine, any record relating to any patient of the licensee or applicant shall be admissible into evidence, regardless of any statutory privilege which such patient might otherwise be able to invoke. In addition, no such patient may withhold testimony bearing upon a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice medicine on the ground of privilege between such licensee or applicant and such patient. Any testimony or written evidence relating to a patient of a licensee or applicant or to the record of any such patient shall be received by the board in camera and shall not be disclosed to the public. (f) In any hearing in which the fitness of a licensee or applicant to practice medicine is in question, the board may exclude all persons from its deliberation of the appropriate action to be taken and may, when in its discretion it deems it necessary, speak to a licensee or applicant in private.

(g) This Code section is enacted in the public welfare and shall be liberally construed.

(h) A person, partnership, firm, corporation, association, authority, or other entity shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for reporting or investigating the acts or omissions of a licensee or applicant which violate the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other provisions of law relating to a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice medicine or for initiating or conducting proceedings against such licensee or applicant, if such report is made or action is taken in good faith without fraud or malice. Any person who testifies in good faith without fraud or malice before the board in any proceeding involving a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other law relating to a licensee's or applicant's fitness to practice medicine, or who makes a recommendation to the board in the nature of peer review, shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for so testifying.

(i) The board shall investigate a licensee's fitness to practice medicine if the board has received regarding that licensee a notification, pursuant to Code Section 33-3-27, of a medical malpractice judgment or settlement in excess of $100,000.00 or a notification pursuant to Code Section 33-3-27 that there have been two or more previous judgments against or settlements with the licensee relating to the practice of medicine. Every licensee shall notify the board of any settlement involving the licensee and relating to the practice of medicine in excess of $20,000.00.

Saturday May 23 12:45 EDT


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