Ensuring competency and professionalism through state medical licensing

Chaudhry, H.J., Gifford, J.D., Hengerer, A.S.
Submitted: May, 2015

State medical boards protect the public and ensure that only persons who are qualified and fit to practice medicine do so. They view the practice of medicine as a privilege and not a natural right. In some respects, state boards serve as the ultimate gatekeeper for physicians by issuing medical licenses and authorizing disciplinary actions when professional misconduct occurs. In 2014, a total of 4043 physicians received disciplinary actions, representing less than half of 1% of the 916,264 actively licensed physicians in the US. State medical boards, which also regulate physician assistants and sometimes other health professionals, were among the first entities to gain statutory recognition and jurisdiction over the practice of medicine in the US. Describes at least 6 attributes that have enabled state boards to retain their relevancy, adapt to changing circumstances, preserve the public’s trust, and earn the tacit respect of physicians and the organizations that represent them.

Resource Type:
  • Commentaries & Blogs
  • Medical Ethics
  • Social Contract