Delaware Regulation of Physicians

The Delaware regulations with respect to physicians are found in 24 Del. C. § 1720 through 24 Del. C. § 1727.  Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 1720, a person may not practice medicine in this state unless the person:

(1)  Has a certificate to practice medicine issued by the Board of Medical Practice;

(2)  Registers the certificate to practice medicine and renews it biennially; and

(3)  If required, has an occupational license pursuant to Part III of Title 30.

To receive a certificate to practice medicine in the state, an applicant for a certificate must have a working ability to read, write, speak, understand, and be understood in the English language and possess the following educational credentials:

  • A degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy, or an equivalent degree, from a legally incorporated medical college or school located in the United States or Canada, which medical college or school has been approved by the appropriate accrediting body of the American Medical Association or the American Osteopathic Association; or
  • A degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy, or an equivalent degree, from a legally incorporated medical college or school located in a country other than the United States or Canada, medical college or school which is listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED), along with documentary proof that the applicant successfully passed the examination administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and the Federation of State Medical Boards; or
  • A degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy, or an equivalent degree, from a legally incorporated medical college or school located in a country other than the United States or Canada, which medical college or school is not listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED), but the applicant has completed 3 years of postgraduate training in a residency program which has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and has successfully passed the examination administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and the Federation of State Medical Boards;
  • Documentary proof that all clinical rotations served by the applicant in the United States or Canada as part of training received in a medical college or school were conducted in institutions that are formal parts, such as a primary hospital, of a medical college or school or that have formal affiliation with a medical college or school approved by the appropriate accrediting body of the American Medical Association or the American Osteopathic Association, or that the clinical rotations were served in hospitals which had, at the time the rotations were served, a residency training program approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in the subject matter of the clinical rotation;

An applicant for a certificate must have satisfactorily completed an internship or equivalent training in an institution, which internship or equivalent training and institution are approved by the Board.  An applicant for a certificate must submit to the Board a sworn or affirmed statement that the applicant:

  • Has not been convicted of or has not admitted under oath to having committed a crime substantially related to the practice of medicine;
  • Has not been professionally penalized for or convicted of drug addiction;
  • Has not had the applicant’s license or certificate or other authorizing document to practice allopathic medicine or osteopathic medicine in any other state, territory, or foreign nation revoked, suspended, restricted, limited, or subjected to disciplinary or other action by the certifying or licensing authority thereof, or an application to practice denied;
  • Has not been removed, suspended, expelled, or disciplined by any professional medical association or society when the removal, suspension, expulsion, or discipline was based upon what the association or society found to be unprofessional conduct, professional incompetence, or professional malpractice;
  • Has not been disciplined by a licensed hospital or by the medical staff of the hospital, including the removal, suspension, or limitation of hospital privileges, the non-renewal of privileges for cause, the resignation of privileges under pressure of investigation or other disciplinary action, if the discipline was based upon what the hospital or medical staff found to be unprofessional conduct, professional incompetence, or professional malpractice;
  • Has not engaged in the practice of medicine without a certificate or license or other authorization to practice medicine;
  • Has not unlawfully prescribed narcotic drugs;
  • Has not willfully violated the confidence of a patient, except under legal requirement; or
  • Has not been professionally penalized or convicted of fraud;

Furthermore, an applicant for a certificate must submit to the Board: a sworn or affirmed statement that the applicant is, at the time of application, physically and mentally capable of engaging in the practice of medicine according to generally accepted standards; submit to such examination as the Board may deem necessary to determine the applicant’s capability; and submit, at the applicant’s expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain the following:

  • A report of the applicant’s entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification or a statement from the State Bureau of Identification that the State Central Repository contains no such information relating to that person.
  • A report of the applicant’s entire federal criminal history record pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation appropriation of Title II of Public Law 92-544 (28 U.S.C. § 534).  The State Bureau of Identification shall be the intermediary for purposes of this section and the Board of Medical Practice shall be the screening point for the receipt of said federal criminal history records.

An applicant may not be certified to practice medicine until the applicant’s criminal history reports have been produced.  An applicant whose record shows a prior criminal conviction may not be certified by the Board unless a waiver is granted pursuant to this section; Pass the professional examination pursuant to § 1721 of this title, unless excepted under § 1722 of this title or waived as provided in this section; and submit to a personal interview by a Board member, unless waived by an officer of the Board for good cause.  An applicant for a certificate to practice medicine in this State must submit to the Board an application in writing in such form as the Board requires.  An applicant for a certificate to practice medicine in this State must fulfill the requirements of this section in accord with the form and manner required by the Board in its rules and regulations.  The applicant must also pay the application fee set by the Division, and, unless an exception in § 1722 of this title applies, the applicant must pass a professional examination pursuant to § 1721 of this title.  The Board, by the affirmative vote of 12 of its members, may waive any of the requirements of this section if it finds all of the following by clear and convincing evidence:

  • The applicant’s education, training, qualifications, and conduct have been sufficient to overcome the deficiency or deficiencies in meeting the requirements of this section;
  • The applicant is capable of practicing medicine in a competent and professional manner;(3) The granting of the waiver will not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare; and
  • For waiver of a crime substantially related to the practice of medicine, more than 5 years have elapsed since the applicant has fully discharged all imposed sentences.

In determining if an applicant qualifies for certification to practice medicine, the Board may rely upon relevant decisions made by the appropriate authority in other states and may not permit a collateral attack upon those decisions.  The Board shall issue a certificate to practice medicine in this State and register the certificate for an applicant who meets the requirements of this chapter.  The Division shall keep a current register of all persons certified to practice medicine in this State. Each such person shall inform the Division of any change of current address and telephone number within 15 days of the change.  The registration of a certificate to practice medicine must be renewed biennially, through a procedure determined by the Division.  The procedure must include payment of an appropriate registration renewal fee; submission of a renewal form provided by the Division; proof that the certified person has met the continuing medical education requirements established by the Board; and the period of time within which a person certified to practice medicine in this state may renew the certified person’s registration without penalty, notwithstanding the fact that the person failed to renew the person’s registration on or before the renewal date; and the penalty for failure to renew registration in a timely manner.  The Board may establish, by class and not by individual, requirements for continuing education or reexamination, or both, for a person issued a certificate to practice medicine, or issued any authorized document to practice another profession or occupation regulated under this chapter, who is on inactive status and wishes to reactivate that person’s status[i].

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 1724, the Board may issue a temporary emergency certificate to practice medicine for a period of time not to exceed 12 months, but renewable at the discretion of the Board, to a person whom it finds qualified to practice medicine in this State.  A temporary emergency certificate may be issued only during a public emergency declared by the President of the United States or the Governor of the State.  When an occupational license is issued by the Director of Revenue pursuant to Chapter 23 of Title 30, if such license is required, and the temporary emergency certificate is registered by the Board, the holder of the temporary emergency certificate may, during the term specified on the certificate unless sooner revoked, practice medicine in this State, subject to all the laws of this State and to the regulations and restrictions which the Board may adopt, including, but not limited to, location limitations and limitations on the nature of the practice of medicine within the State.

24 Del. C. § 1731 provides that a person to whom a certificate to practice medicine in this State has been issued may be disciplined by the Board for unprofessional conduct, by means of levying a fine, or by the restriction, suspension, or revocation, either permanent or temporary, of that person’s certificate to practice medicine, or by other appropriate action, which may include a requirement that a person who is disciplined must complete specified continuing education courses.  “Unprofessional conduct” includes but is not limited to any of the following acts or omissions:

  • The use of any false, fraudulent, or forged statement or document or the use of any fraudulent, deceitful, dishonest, or unethical practice in connection with a certification, registration, or licensing requirement of this chapter, or in connection with the practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter;
  • Conviction of or admission under oath to having committed a crime substantially related to the practice of medicine;
  • Any dishonorable, unethical, or other conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public;
  • The practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter under a false or assumed name;
  • The practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter without a certificate or other authorizing document or renewal of such document, unless otherwise authorized by this chapter;
  • The use, distribution, or issuance of a prescription for a dangerous or narcotic drug, other than for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes;
  • Advertising of the practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter in an unethical or unprofessional manner;
  • Solicitation or acceptance of a fee from a patient or other person by fraudulent representation that a manifestly incurable condition, as determined with reasonable medical certainty, can be permanently cured;
  • Knowing or intentional performance of an act which, unless authorized by this chapter, assists an unauthorized person to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter;
  • The failure to provide adequate supervision to an individual working under the supervision of a person who is certified and registered to practice medicine;
  • Misconduct, incompetence, or gross negligence in the practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter;
  • Willful violation of the confidential relationship with or confidential communications of a patient;
  • Willful failure to report to the Board as required by § 1730(a) of this title;
  • Willful failure to report to the Board as required by § 1730(b) of this title;
  • Willful failure to report to the Board as required by § 1730(c) of this title;
  • Unjustified failure upon request to divulge information relevant to the authorization or competence of a person to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter to the Board, to any committee thereof, to the Executive Director, or to anyone designated by the Executive Director to request such information;
  • The violation of a provision of this chapter or the violation of an order or regulation of the Board related to medical procedures or to the procedures of other professions or occupations regulated under this chapter, the violation of which more probably than not will harm or injure the public or an individual;
  • Charging a grossly exorbitant fee for professional or occupational services rendered;
  • Suspension or revocation of a certificate to practice medicine or of the authorizing document to practice another profession or occupation regulated under this chapter, or other disciplinary action taken by the regulatory authority in another state or territory.  In making its determination, the Board may rely upon decisions made by the appropriate authorities in other states and may not permit a collateral attack on those decisions;
  • Signing the death certificate of a person prior to the actual time of death of the person;

A certificate to practice medicine or an authorizing document to practice another profession or occupation regulated under this chapter is subject to restriction, suspension, or revocation, either temporarily or permanently, in case of the inability of the holder to practice medicine or other profession or occupation with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of 1 or more of the following:

  • Mental illness or mental incompetence;
  • Physical illness, including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process or loss of motor skill;
  • Excessive use or abuse of drugs, including alcohol.

The Board may establish, by class and not by individual, requirements for continuing education and/or reexamination as a condition for renewal of registration and for recertification to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter, or as a condition to continue to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter after disciplinary sanctions are imposed or after inability to practice with reasonable skill or safety to patients has been determined.  A person who files a complaint with the Board or any of its members, the Executive Director, or the Division, or who provides information to the Board or any of its members, the Executive Director, or the Division regarding a complaint, or who testifies as a witness at a hearing before the Board or any of its hearing panels or committees concerning unprofessional conduct by a person certified to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter in this State or concerning the inability of a person certified to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter for the reasons set forth, may not be held liable in any cause of action arising out of the filing of the complaint, the providing of information, or the giving of testimony, provided that the person does so in good faith and without gross or wanton negligence.  The provisions of this section apply to any person to whom a certificate, license, or other authorizing document to practice a profession or occupation has been issued pursuant to this chapter.

If the Board determines pursuant to this subchapter that a fine and/or the restriction, suspension, or revocation of a certificate to practice medicine and/or any other disciplinary action or other action is warranted, an order describing the Board’s action must be served personally or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the certificate holder.  In addition, copies of the order must be filed in the office of the Board, in the Division of Professional Regulation, in the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Social Services, and with the Director of Revenue. Upon receipt of an order of the Board revoking or suspending a certificate to practice medicine, the Director of Revenue shall forthwith revoke or suspend the occupational license to practice medicine issued by the Director and comply with any terms of the order applicable to the Division of Revenue.  The Director of Revenue may not issue an occupational license or a license renewal to any person whose certificate to practice medicine has been revoked or suspended by the Board, unless issuance is in conformity with the terms and conditions of the order of revocation or suspension, or in conformity with any order of reinstatement issued by the Board, or in accordance with a final judgment in any proceeding for review instituted under the chapter[ii].

[i] 24 Del. C. § 1723.

[ii] 24 Del. C. § 1735.


Inside Delaware Regulation of Physicians