On September 24, 2012, the Georgia Composite Medical Board (the "Board") gave notice that it intends to amend two rules affecting physician licensure – Rule 360-2-.05 ("Renewal Applications")1, and Rule 360-15-.01("Requirements for Physicians")2. On the same day, the Board also gave notice that it would introduce a rule establishing requirements for approval of international medical schools. The Board voted to adopt these Notices of Intent during a meeting on September 13, 2012. Anyone who will be affected by these rules may present his or her comments to the Board no later than October 25, 2012, or make comments at a public hearing, which will be held on November 1, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.

The Board’s intention in revising Rule 360-2-.05, which governs renewal applications, is to change the requirements for late renewals for physicians. Under the current rule, physicians are allowed a late renewal period of up to three months after their license expires. Thereafter, the Board revokes the license, removing all rights and privileges to practice medicine and surgery in Georgia. Under the proposed rule, however, physicians will have up to one year after the expiration date of their license to renew, so long as a tiered administrative fee is paid and the physician provides documentation of additional continuing medical education ("CME") hours beyond the forty hours required for a traditional renewal. Under the proposed rule, the Board can schedule an interview with the physician applying for a renewal, and issue sanctions for continuing practice with an expired license.

Next, the Board’s main purpose in changing Rule 360-15-.01, which governs requirements for physicians, is to change the CME requirements for physicians who practice "pain management." Currently, the rule sets a baseline standard that physicians must complete Board-approved CME of not less than forty hours biennially (with a list of exception). The proposed rule seeks to require physicians who are not certified in pain management or palliative medicine, but whose opioid pain management patients comprise 50% or more of their patient population, to complete twenty of their forty hours of CME in pain management or palliative care.

Finally, the Board’s objective in drafting Rule 360-2-.143 is to establish criteria for the Medical Board to approve international medical schools, so that their graduates may apply for physician licensure in Georgia. The rule requires that the international medical school provide the Board with information including, but not limited to, its curriculum, facilities, faculty, admission standards, and financial resources. This rule will not apply to medical schools that have already been classified as "approved" under Rule 360-2-.01(1)(g)(i), which include medical schools located in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada, and those listed on the Medical Schools Recognized by the Medical Board of California.