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Understanding Medical Regulation in the United States

A special educational program for new members of state medical boards

One of the most important public service roles an individual can play at the state level in the United States is serving on a state medical board.

State medical boards regulate the activities of more than one million health care professionals in the United States, ranging from physicians to chiropractors, podiatrists, acupuncturists and many others. The decisions state medical board members make significantly impact patients, families and physicians – and are vital in protecting the public from harm and enhancing the quality of medical practice.

Recognizing the importance of this role, the nation’s 70 state and territorial medical boards have launched a program in partnership with the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to better educate and prepare new members of state medical boards for their duties as public servants.

The FSMB’s Workgroup on Board Education Service and Training (BEST) is playing a coordinating role in this effort, and working with the state boards, has developed a variety of new resources to support the roles and responsibilities associated with board service.

At the core of these materials is “Understanding Medical Regulation in the United States,” a series of online multi-media educational modules that examine various components of service on a state medical board.

Eight modules are planned for the series, the first of which is now available. Content in the modules is intended to provide a general overview of medical regulation, supplementing more specific and detailed information about regulation in the states in which new board members will assume their duties.

Each module consists of a video presentation with narration and illustrations. In addition to the video portion of each module, the narration is available in text form. Included in the various modules are concepts about medical regulation, including licensure, data collection, discipline, policy development, legal principles, and operational and governance matters.

The first module, titled “Introduction to Medical Regulation,” is available in two formats:

Other modules in the series, to be launched in 2018-19, include:

  • Understanding Licensure
  • Understanding Discipline
  • Common Problems that Lead to Discipline
  • Roles and Responsibilities of State Medical Board Members
  • Understanding Law, Policy and Administration
  • The Importance of Information and Data in Medical Regulation
  • Special Topics in Medical Regulation