Alaska Regulation of Physicians

The Alaska regulations with respect to physicians are found in Alaska Stat. § 08.64.170 through Alaska Stat. § 08.64.362.  Pursuant to the statutes, a person may not practice medicine, podiatry, or osteopathy in the state unless the person is licensed under this chapter, except that:

(1) a physician assistant may examine, diagnose, or treat persons under the supervision, control, and responsibility of either a physician licensed under this chapter or a physician exempted from licensing under AS 08.64.370;

(2) a mobile intensive care paramedic may render emergency lifesaving service; and

(3) a person who is licensed or authorized under another chapter of this title may engage in a practice that is authorized under that chapter[i].  Alaska Stat. § 08.64.180 provides that a person who desires to practice medicine or osteopathy in the state shall apply in writing to the department for a license.  Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 08.64.200, except for foreign medical graduates as specified in AS 08.64.225, each physician applicant shall:

(1) submit a certificate of graduation from a legally chartered medical school accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association;

(2) submit a certificate from a recognized hospital or hospitals certifying that the applicant has satisfactorily performed the duties of resident physician or intern for a period of

(A) one year if the applicant graduated from medical school before January 1, 1995, as evidenced by a certificate of completion of the first year of postgraduate training from the facility where the applicant completed the first year of internship or residency; and

(B) two years if the applicant graduated from medical school on or after January 1, 1995, as evidenced by a certificate of completion of the first year of postgraduate training from the facility where the applicant completed the first year of internship or residency and a certificate of successful completion of one additional year of postgraduate training at a recognized hospital;

(3) submit a list of negotiated settlements or judgments in claims or civil actions alleging medical malpractice against the applicant, including an explanation of the basis for each claim or action; and

(4) not have a license to practice medicine in another state, country, province, or territory that is currently suspended or revoked for disciplinary reasons.

The board shall determine whether each physician applicant has any disciplinary or other actions recorded in the nationwide disciplinary data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards.  If the physician applicant was licensed or practiced in a jurisdiction that does not record information with the data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards, the board shall contact the medical regulatory body of that jurisdiction to obtain comparable information about the applicant.  An applicant shall take examinations in subjects the board considers necessary, unless excused under provisions of AS 08.64.250.  The deadline for submitting an exam application to the board shall be established by regulation[ii].  Applicants who are graduates of medical colleges not accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association shall:

(1) meet the requirements of AS 08.64.200(a)(3) and (4) and 08.64.255;

(2) have successfully completed

(A) three years of postgraduate training as evidenced by a certificate of completion of the first year of postgraduate training from the facility where the applicant completed the first year of internship or residency and a certificate of successful completion of two additional years of postgraduate training at a recognized hospital; or

(B) other requirements establishing proof of competency and professional qualifications as the board considers necessary to ensure the continued protection of the public adopted at the discretion of the board by regulation; and

(3) have passed examinations as specified by the board in regulations.

Requirements establishing proof of competency under (a)(2)(B) of this section may include:

  • current licensure in another state and an active medical practice in that state for at least three years; or
  • current board certification in a practice specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties[iii].

Alaska Stat. § 08.64.270 provides that the board may issue a temporary permit to a physician applicant, osteopathy applicant, or podiatry applicant who meets the requirements of AS 08.64.200, 08.64.205, 08.64.209, or 08.64.225 and pays the required fee.  A temporary permit issued under this section is valid for six months and shall be reviewed by the board at the next regularly scheduled board meeting that occurs after its issuance.  A temporary permit issued under this section may not be renewed.  The fee for a permit issued under this section is one-fourth of the fee for a biennial license, plus the appropriate application fee.  Upon application by the permittee and approval of the board, a permit issued under this section may be converted to a biennial license upon payment of the biennial fee minus the six-month permit fee paid under this section, plus the appropriate application fee.

Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 08.64.276, on retiring from practice and payment of an appropriate one-time fee, a licensee in good standing with the board may apply for the conversion of an active or inactive license to a retired status license.  A person holding a retired status license may not practice medicine, osteopathy, or podiatry in the state.  A retired status license is valid for the life of the license holder and does not require renewal. A person holding a retired status license is exempt from AS 08.64.312.  A person with a retired status license may apply for active licensure. Before issuing an active license under this subsection, the board may require the applicant to meet reasonable criteria as determined under regulations of the board, which may include submission of continuing medical education credits, reexamination requirements, physical and psychiatric examination requirements, an interview with the entire board, and review of information in the national data bank of the National Federation of State Medical Boards.

The board shall promote a high degree of competence in the practice of medicine by requiring every physician licensed in the state to fulfill continuing education requirements.  Before a license may be renewed, the licensee shall submit evidence to the board or its designee that continuing education requirements prescribed by regulations adopted by the board have been met.  The board or its designee may exempt a physician from the requirements of (b) of this section upon an application by the physician giving evidence satisfactory to the board or its designee that the physician is unable to comply with the requirements because of extenuating circumstances. However, a person may not be exempted from more than 15 hours of continuing education in a five-year period[iv].

Alaska Stat. § 08.64.315 provides that the department shall set fees under AS 08.01.065 for each of the following:

  • application;
  • license by examination;
  • license by endorsement or waiver of examination;
  • temporary permit;
  • locum tenens permit;
  • license renewal, active;
  • license renewal, inactive;
  • license by reexamination.

The board may impose a sanction if the board finds after a hearing that a licensee:

(1) secured a license through deceit, fraud, or intentional misrepresentation;

(2) engaged in deceit, fraud, or intentional misrepresentation while providing professional services or engaging in professional activities;

(3) advertised professional services in a false or misleading manner;

(4) has been convicted, including conviction based on a guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere, of

(A) a class A or unclassified felony or a crime in another jurisdiction with elements similar to a class A or unclassified felony in this jurisdiction;

(B) a class B or class C felony or a crime in another jurisdiction with elements similar to a class B or class C felony in this jurisdiction if the felony or other crime is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the licensee; or

(C) a crime involving the unlawful procurement, sale, prescription, or dispensing of drugs;

(5) has procured, sold, prescribed, or dispensed drugs in violation of a law regardless of whether there has been a criminal action;

(6) intentionally or negligently permitted the performance of patient care by persons under the licensee’s supervision that does not conform to minimum professional standards even if the patient was not injured;

(7) failed to comply with this chapter, a regulation adopted under this chapter, or an order of the board;

(8) has demonstrated

(A) professional incompetence, gross negligence, or repeated negligent conduct; the board may not base a finding of professional incompetence solely on the basis that a licensee’s practice is unconventional or experimental in the absence of demonstrable physical harm to a patient;

(B) addiction to, severe dependency on, or habitual overuse of alcohol or other drugs that impairs the licensee’s ability to practice safely;

(C) unfitness because of physical or mental disability;

(9) engaged in unprofessional conduct, in sexual misconduct, or in lewd or immoral conduct in connection with the delivery of professional services to patients; in this paragraph, “sexual misconduct” includes sexual contact, as defined by the board in regulations adopted under this chapter, or attempted sexual contact with a patient outside the scope of generally accepted methods of examination or treatment of the patient, regardless of the patient’s consent or lack of consent, during the term of the physician-patient relationship, as defined by the board in regulations adopted under this chapter, unless the patient was the licensee’s spouse at the time of the contact or, immediately preceding the physician-patient relationship, was in a dating, courtship, or engagement relationship with the licensee;

(10) has violated AS 18.16.010;

(11) has violated any code of ethics adopted by regulation by the board;

(12) has denied care or treatment to a patient or person seeking assistance from the physician if the only reason for the denial is the failure or refusal of the patient to agree to arbitrate as provided in AS 09.55.535(a); or

(13) has had a license or certificate to practice medicine in another state or territory of the United States, or a province or territory of Canada, denied, suspended, revoked, surrendered while under investigation for an alleged violation, restricted, limited, conditioned, or placed on probation unless the denial, suspension, revocation, or other action was caused by the failure of the licensee to pay fees to that state, territory, or province.

In a case involving (a)(13) of this section, the final findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order of the authority that suspended or revoked a license or certificate constitutes a prima facie case that the license or certificate was suspended or revoked and the grounds under which the suspension or revocation was granted[v].

Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 08.64.331, if the board finds that a licensee has committed an act set out in AS 08.64.326(a), the board may:

(1) permanently revoke a license to practice;

(2) suspend a license for a determinate period of time;

(3) censure a licensee;

(4) issue a letter of reprimand;

(5) place a licensee on probationary status and require the licensee to

(A) report regularly to the board on matters involving the basis of probation;

(B) limit practice to those areas prescribed;

(C) continue professional education until a satisfactory degree of skill has been attained in those areas determined by the board to need improvement;

(6) impose limitations or conditions on the practice of a licensee;

(7) impose a civil fine of not more than $ 25,000; or

(8) impose one or more of the sanctions set out in (1) — (7) of this subsection.

The statute further provides that the board may end the probation of a licensee if it finds that the deficiencies which required this sanction have been remedied.  The board may summarily suspend a license before final hearing or during the appeals process if the board finds that the licensee poses a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety if the licensee continues to practice.  A person whose license is suspended under this section is entitled to a hearing conducted by the office of administrative hearings (AS 44.64.010) not later than seven days after the effective date of the order, and the person may appeal the suspension after a hearing to a court of competent jurisdiction.  The board may reinstate a license that has been suspended or revoked if the board finds after a hearing that the applicant is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.  The board may suspend a license upon receipt of a certified copy of evidence that a license to practice medicine in another state or territory of the United States or province of Canada has been suspended or revoked.  The suspension remains in effect until a hearing can be held by the board. The board shall be consistent in the application of disciplinary sanctions.  A significant departure from earlier decisions of the board involving similar situations must be explained in findings of fact or orders made by the board.

If a person holding a license to practice medicine or osteopathy under this chapter is adjudged mentally incompetent or insane by a final order or adjudication of a court of competent jurisdiction or by voluntary commitment to an institution for the treatment of mental illness, the person’s license shall be suspended by the board.  The suspension shall continue in effect until the court finds or adjudges that the person has been restored to reason or until a licensed psychiatrist approved by the board determines that the person has been restored to reason[vi].  The board, at its discretion, may accept the voluntary surrender of a license.  A license may not be returned unless the board determines, under regulations adopted by it, that the licensee is competent to resume practice.  However, a license may not be returned to the licensee if the voluntary surrender resulted in the dropping or suspension of civil or criminal charges against the physician[vii].

Alaska Stat. § 08.64.336 provides that a physician who professionally treats a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy in this state for alcoholism or drug addiction, or for mental, emotional, or personality disorders, shall report it to the board if there is probable cause that the person may constitute a danger to the health and welfare of that person’s patients or the public if that person continues in practice.  The report must state the name and address of the person and the condition found.  A hospital that revokes, suspends, conditions, restricts, or refuses to grant hospital privileges to, or imposes a consultation requirement on, a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy in the state shall report to the board the name and address of the person and the reasons for the action within seven working days after the action is taken.  A hospital shall also report to the board the name and address of a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy in the state if the person resigns hospital staff privileges while under investigation by the hospital or a committee of the hospital and the investigation could result in the revocation, suspension, conditioning, or restricting of, or the refusal to grant, hospital privileges, or in the imposition of a consultation requirement. A report is required under this subsection regardless of whether the person voluntarily agrees to the action taken by the hospital.  A report is not required if the sole reason for the action is the person’s failure to complete hospital records in a timely manner or to attend staff or committee meetings.  In this subsection “consultation requirement” means a restriction placed on a person’s existing hospital privileges requiring consultation with a designated physician or group of physicians in order to continue to exercise the hospital privileges.

Upon receipt of a report under (a) or (b) of this section, the board shall investigate the matter and, upon a finding that there is reasonable cause to believe that the person who is the subject of the report is a danger to the health or welfare of the public or to the person’s patients, the board may appoint a committee of three qualified physicians to examine the person and report its findings to the board. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the board may summarily suspend a license under AS 08.64.331(c) before appointing an examining committee or before the committee makes or reports its findings.  If the board finds that a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy is unable to continue in practice with reasonable safety to the person’s patients or to the public, the board shall initiate action to suspend, revoke, limit, or condition the person’s license to the extent necessary for the protection of the person’s patients and the public.  A physician, hospital, hospital committee, or private professional organization contracted with under AS 08.64.101(5) to identify, confront, evaluate, and treat individuals licensed under this chapter who abuse addictive substances that in good faith submits a report under this section or participates in an investigation or judicial proceeding related to a report submitted under this section is immune from civil liability for the submission or participation.  A physician or hospital may not refuse to submit a report under this section or withhold from the board or its investigators evidence related to an investigation under this section on the grounds that the report or evidence:

(1) concerns a matter that was disclosed in the course of a confidential physician-patient or psychotherapist-patient relationship or during a meeting of a hospital medical staff, governing body, or committee that was exempt from the public meeting requirements of AS 44.62.310; or

(2) is required to be kept confidential under AS 18.23.030.

Except for a physician assistant, a mobile intensive care paramedic, or a person licensed or authorized under another chapter of this title who engages in practices for which that person is licensed or authorized under that chapter, a person practicing medicine or osteopathy in the state without a valid license or permit is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.  Each day of illegal practice is a separate offense[viii].

[i] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.170.

[ii] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.210.

[iii] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.225.

[iv] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.312.

[v] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.326.

[vi] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.332.

[vii] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.334.

[viii] Alaska Stat. § 08.64.360.


Inside Alaska Regulation of Physicians