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IL defense lawyerMost Illinois physicians are familiar with the Illinois Medical Board. It is where they obtained licensing status, and it is a constant concern to their practice. However, fewer people—including some doctors— know about the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the role it plays in their lives. Learn what it is and why it is important with help from the following information.

The Federation of State Medical Boards

Each state has its own licensing board, and the Federation of State Medical Boards ties them all together. It represents the 70 medical boards in the United States and its territories, including the District of Columbia. It offers policies, education, programs, and additional services to the state boards so that they can function effectively. The FSMB also enables state-to-state sharing of physician information. By far, that sharing is likely the most concerning issue for physicians.

How FSMB Sharing Can Impact Your Practice

The FSMB sharing allows state boards to look up disciplinary actions carried out by other state boards. So, if you lose your medical license or have it suspended in one state and then try to move, you may still be barred from practicing medicine. If you come under investigation, fail to see the investigation through to completion and move, the new state may have access to that information as well. Patients can also use the FSMB to check licensing issues in other states. With this in mind, even if an investigation seems arbitrary, it is important that you protect your license to the best of your ability.

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IL medical license attorneyThe United States has been experiencing what has been referred to as an opioid epidemic for years now. Part of the cause of the epidemic was due to pharmaceutical companies insisting these medications were safe and non-addictive. This led physicians to prescribe narcotics at an increasing rate for patients with chronic pain. After it was discovered that these medications were actually highly addictive, they became controlled substances and subject to many regulations. State licensing and regulatory agencies began cracking down on physicians’ prescribing of these medications, punishing many who were abusive or neglectful in their power to prescribe. In 2019, 36 physicians in Illinois received some sort of disciplinary action due to improper controlled substance prescribing practices.

Opioid Use Guidelines for Physicians

In 2017, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) adopted a policy that outlines responsible prescribing practices for physicians with the privilege to prescribe controlled substances. This policy gives state medical boards criteria to use to evaluate a physician’s management of a chronic pain patient. This criteria includes evaluating the physician’s:

  • Patients’ assessments and evaluations
  • Monitoring of the patient while on the controlled substances
  • Use of treatment plans and patient pain goals
  • Use of treatment agreements with long-term opioid patients
  • Decision to use opioids as a treatment
  • Decision to terminate opioid treatment for a patient
  • Use of periodic and unannounced drug testing in patients
  • Upkeep and accuracy of the opioid patient’s medical records

In addition to providing physicians with guidelines as to how to responsibly prescribe controlled substances, the state of Illinois also requires any physician with a controlled substance license to register with the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (ILPMP). This program is an online resource that physicians are meant to use to prevent “doctor shopping,” which occurs when a patient visits multiple doctors to seek multiple prescriptions for controlled substances. Before a physician prescribes a controlled pain medication to a patient, they must first use the ILPMP to search for any other active prescriptions the patient might have.

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