Louisiana Regulation of Physicians

The Louisiana statutes under La. R.S. 37:1261 through 37:1292 deal with the regulation of physicians in the state.  Pursuant to the statutes, no person shall practice medicine as defined herein until he possesses a duly recorded license issued under this Part or a permit or registration as provided for herein.  No person shall practice or attempt to practice medicine across state lines without first complying with the provisions of this Part and without being a holder of either an unrestricted license to practice medicine in Louisiana or a telemedicine license entitling him to practice medicine pursuant to R.S. 37:1276.1.  Any person authorized by the medical board to practice telemedicine as defined in this Part shall ensure that a licensed health care professional who can adequately and accurately assist with any of the requirements listed in R.S. 37:1276.1(B)(2) is in the examination room with the patient at the time such patient is receiving telemedicine services.  The board shall promulgate rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to establish what type of health care professional is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances[i].

La. R.S. 37:1272 provides that any person who wishes to practice medicine shall:

(1) Be twenty-one years of age;

(2) Be a citizen of the United States;

(3) Be of good moral character;

(4) Present to the board a valid diploma from a medical college in good standing with the board or have been actively engaged in the practice of medicine, in a manner determined by the board to have been satisfactory, for not less than four years under a temporary permit issued pursuant to R.S. 37:1275; and

(5) Pass an examination which the board deems sufficient to test the applicant’s fitness to practice medicine in this state.  The board may design or administer its own examination, or it may use examinations from any national examining agency, either public or private as long as such examinations are, in its view, sufficient for such purpose.

Pursuant to La. R.S. 37:1278, any person applying for or accepting a license or permit to practice medicine or midwifery in this state shall, by applying for or accepting said license or permit, be deemed to have given his/her consent to submit to physical or mental examinations when so directed by the board and to waive all objections as to admissibility or disclosure of findings, reports, or recommendations pertaining thereto on the grounds of privileged communications or other personal privileges provided for by law.  Any person applying for, accepting, or holding a license or permit to practice medicine in this state shall be deemed, notwithstanding any privilege of confidentiality, to have given his/her authorization and consent to the disclosure to the board, by any physician or other health care provider and by any health care institution, of any and all medical records and information pertaining to such person’s diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and prognosis for any physical or mental condition, disease, illness, deficiency, or infirmity, when the board is acting upon a written complaint and it has reasonable cause to believe that his fitness and ability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety may be impaired by mental illness or deficiency, or physical illness, including but not limited to deterioration through the aging process or the loss of motor skills, and/or excessive use or abuse of drugs, including alcohol; however, any records or information obtained by the board pursuant to this Section shall not constitute public records and shall be maintained in confidence by the board until and unless such records or information are admitted into the record of proceedings before the board pursuant to R.S. 37:1285.

In the event a license issued under this Part is suspended, revoked, or otherwise restricted by the board, the board shall notify the clerk of court in each parish where the licensed person has been practicing if the license was recorded in accordance with prior law.  When a license is revoked, the clerk of court shall cancel such recordation.  When a license is suspended, or otherwise restricted, the clerk shall note the suspension or restriction imposed thereon in the original recordation.  In addition thereto, the board shall also notify all agencies, boards, and organizations having reasonable need for such notice of any suspension, revocation, or restriction imposed upon a license or permit provided for in this Part[ii].

Furthermore, every license issued under this Part shall be renewed annually upon payment of the required renewal fee.  Any license not renewed may be suspended by unanimous vote of the board.  The suspension is subject to review by the courts[iii].  Moreover, unlicensed physicians shall not be permitted to collect any fees or charges for services rendered, or be allowed to testify as a medical expert in any court, or execute public or legal documents as a physician, or hold any medical office, or be recognized by the state or parish or municipal corporation as a physician, or be entitled to enjoy any of the privileges, rights, or exemptions granted to physicians by the laws of this state[iv].

Pursuant to La. R.S. 37:1285, the board may refuse to issue, or may suspend or revoke any license or permit, or impose probationary or other restrictions on any license or permit issued under this Part for the following causes:

(1) Conviction of a crime or entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal charge constituting a felony under the laws of Louisiana or of the United States.

(2) Conviction of a crime or entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to any criminal charge arising out of or in connection with the practice of medicine;

(3) Fraud, deceit, or perjury in obtaining any diploma, license, or permit pertaining to this Part;

(4) Providing false testimony before the board or providing false sworn information to the board;

(5) Habitual or recurring abuse of drugs, including alcohol, which affect the central nervous system and which are capable of inducing physiological or psychological dependence;

(6) Prescribing, dispensing, or administering legally controlled substances or any dependency-inducing medication without legitimate medical justification therefor or in other than a legal or legitimate manner;

(7) Solicitation of patients or self-promotion through advertising or communication, public or private, which is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading;

(8) (a) Performing, or assisting in the performance of, or procuring or abetting in procuring an abortion or termination of pregnancy during the third trimester of pregnancy or after viability of the fetus, unless the physician determines that such abortion or termination of pregnancy is necessary, in his best medical judgment, in order to save the life or health of the pregnant woman and/or of the fetus (unborn child):

(b) Performing or assisting in the performance of, or procuring, or abetting in the procuring of an abortion or termination of pregnancy after the first trimester:

(i) When the abortion or termination of pregnancy is contrary to or unnecessary in the best medical judgment of that physician; or,

(ii) When the operating physician lacks the training and experience to perform the procedure; or,

(iii) When the procedure is performed outside of a hospital licensed by the Department of Health and Hospitals, or its successor;

(9) Performing, or assisting in the performance of, or procuring, or abetting in the procuring of an abortion or termination of pregnancy:

(i) When the abortion or termination of pregnancy is contrary to or unnecessary in the best medical judgment of that physician; or,

(ii) When the operating physician lacks the training and experience to perform the procedure; or,

(iii) When the procedure is performed outside of a hospital licensed by the Louisiana Health and Hospitals Administration, or its successor;

(10) Efforts to deceive or defraud the public;

(11) Making or submitting false, deceptive, or unfounded claims, reports, or opinions to any patient, insurance company or indemnity association, company, individual, or governmental authority for the purpose of obtaining anything of economic value;

(12) Professional or medical incompetency;

(13) Unprofessional conduct;

(14) Continuing or recurring medical practice which fails to satisfy the prevailing and usually accepted standards of medical practice in this state;

(15) Immoral conduct in exercising the privileges provided for by license or permit issued under this Part;

(16) Gross, willful, and continued overcharging for professional services;

(17) Abandonment of a patient;

(18) Knowingly performing any act which, in any way, assists an unlicensed person to practice medicine, or having professional connection with or lending one’s name to an illegal practitioner;

(19) Soliciting, accepting, or receiving anything of economic value in return for and based on the referral of patients to another person, firm, or corporation or in return for the prescription of medications or medical devices;

(20) Persistent violation of federal or state laws relative to control of social diseases;

(21) Interdiction or commitment by due process of law;

(22) Utilizing a physician’s assistant without approval and recordation as required by law or permitting a physician’s assistant, within his employment, to conduct activities outside of the designated scope of the assistant’s approval and registration;

(23) Knowingly employing a physician’s assistant whose conduct includes any of the causes enumerated in this Section;

(24) Knowingly misstating or misrepresenting the qualifications and certification of competency of any physician’s assistant in order to obtain approval and registration of such person;

(25) Inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety to patients because of mental illness or deficiency; physical illness, including but not limited to deterioration through the aging process or loss of motor skills; and/or, excessive use or abuse of drugs, including alcohol;

(26) Refusing to submit to the examinations and inquiry of an examining committee of physicians appointed or designated by the board to inquire into the physician’s physical and mental fitness and ability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients;

(27) Failure, by any physician or person performing, inducing or assisting an abortion, to exercise that degree of professional care and diligence and failure to take such measures as may constitute good medical practice, necessary to encourage or sustain the life and health of an aborted viable infant, when the death of the infant results.

(28) Taking the life of a viable infant aborted alive;

(29) The refusal of a licensing authority of another state to issue or renew a license, permit, or certificate to practice medicine in that state or the revocation, suspension, or other restriction imposed on a license, permit, or certificate issued by such licensing authority which prevents or restricts practice in that state, or the surrender of a license, permit, or certificate issued by another state when criminal or administrative charges are pending or threatened against the holder of such license, permit, or certificate;

(30) Violation of any rules and regulations of the board, or any provisions of this Part.

(31) Failure by a physician to self-report in writing to the board any personal action which constitutes a violation of this Part within thirty days of the occurrence.  A report shall not be required if the violation relates to a physician’s ability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety by reason of substance abuse or psychiatric condition, provided such physician has, since the occurrence, executed a treatment contract with the Louisiana State Medical Society’s Physicians Health Program, its successor program, or such other program as may be designated by the board, and is in full compliance with the terms and conditions of such contract.

(32) A violation of Part XIX of Chapter 5 of Title 40 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, composed of R.S. 40:1299.36 through 1299.36.6.

The statutes further provide that the board may, in instances it deems proper, implement the above recited causes, by establishing appropriate regulations and standards pertaining thereto.  Moreover, the board may, as a probationary condition, or as a condition of the reinstatement of any license or certificate suspended or revoked hereunder, require the license or permit holder to pay all costs of the board proceedings, including investigators’, stenographers’, and attorneys’ fees, and to pay a fine not to exceed the sum of five thousand dollars.  Any license or permit suspended, revoked, or otherwise restricted by the board may be reinstated by the board.  The board’s final decision in an adjudication proceeding under this Section, other than by consent order, agreement, or other informal disposition, shall constitute a public record, and the board may disclose and provide such final decision to any person, firm, or corporation, or to the public generally.  The board’s disposition of an adjudication proceeding by consent order shall not constitute a public record, but the board shall have authority and discretion to disclose such disposition.  However, no judicial order staying or enjoining the effectiveness or enforcement of a final decision or order of the board in an adjudication proceeding, whether issued pursuant to R.S. 49:964(C) or otherwise, shall be effective, or be issued to be effective beyond the earlier of:

(1) One hundred twenty days from the date on which the board’s decision or order was rendered.

(2) The date on which the court enters judgment in a proceeding for judicial review of the board’s decision or order pursuant to R.S. 49:964.

Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no judicial order staying, enjoining, or continuing an adjudication proceeding before, or a preliminary, procedural, or intermediate decision, ruling, order, or action of, the board shall be effective or issued to be effective, whether pursuant to R.S. 49:964 or otherwise, prior to the exhaustion of all administrative remedies and issuance of a final decision or order by the board.  However, no order staying or enjoining a final decision or order of the board shall be issued unless the district court finds that the applicant or petitioner has established that the issuance of the stay does not:

(1) Threaten harm to other interested parties, including individuals for whom the applicant or petitioner may render medical services; or

(2) Constitute a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state.

No stay of a final decision or order of the board shall be granted ex parte.  The court shall schedule a hearing on a request for a stay order within ten days from filing of the request.  The court’s decision to either grant or deny the stay order shall be rendered within five days after the conclusion of the hearing.  Whoever violates any of the provisions of this Part shall, for each offense, be fined not less than two hundred and fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not less than ten days nor more than five months, or both[v].

[i] La. R.S. 37:1271.

[ii] La. R.S. 37:1279.

[iii] La. R.S. 37:1280.

[iv] La. R.S. 37:1284.

[v] La. R.S. 37:1290.


Inside Louisiana Regulation of Physicians