Under New Mexico law, provisions relating to regulation of physicians are provided under N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-1 through N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-45. The provisions stand repealed effective July 2016.
The applicant for licensure must be a graduate of an accredited U.S. or Canadian medical school, have passed an examination approved by the board and has completed two years of an approved postgraduate training program[i]. In addition, the applicant must be a person of good moral character. The applicant who meets all other licensing requirements except the two years postgraduate training program may present evidence of the other professional experience for consideration by the board in lieu of the approved postgraduate training program[ii].
A foreign medical graduate of good moral character who complies with the U.S. immigration laws and provides evidence of a successful passing of the examination and two years of postgraduate medical training in an approved postgraduate training program is eligible for licensure. A graduate of a medical school located outside the United States who successfully completes at least two years of an approved postgraduate training program at or affiliated with an institution located in New Mexico prior to December 30, 2007 and who meets the other requirements of this section may also be granted a license to practice medicine[iii]. The applicants have to appear personally before the board for an interview.
It is to be noted that an applicant for licensure by examination shall not be granted a license if the applicant has taken the examination in two or more steps and has failed to successfully pass the final step within seven years of the date that the first step was passed. Unless exempted by the board, applicant who holds a medical doctor degree and a doctoral degree in a medically related field must successfully complete the entire examination series within ten years from the date the first step of the examination is passed[iv]. Also, the board may require fingerprints and other information necessary for a state and national criminal background check[v].
The license has to be renewed triennially[vi].
Practicing without a license in New Mexico is a fourth degree felony and any person convicted will be sentenced under the provisions of the Criminal Sentencing Act to imprisonment for a period not to exceed eighteen months and a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($ 5,000), or both. Moreover, each occurrence of practicing medicine or attempting to practice medicine without complying with the Medical Practice Act shall be a separate violation[vii].
The board is authorized to refuse to license, revoke or suspend a license and may fine, censure or reprimand a licensee upon satisfactory proof of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct[viii].
Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct of a licensee includes:
- procuring, aiding or abetting a criminal abortion;
- employing a person to solicit patients for the licensee and deceitful advertising;
- obtaining a fee by fraud or misrepresentation;
- willfully or negligently divulging a professional confidence;
- conviction of an offense punishable by incarceration or conviction of a misdemeanor associated with the practice of the licensee. Discipline imposed on a licensee by another state, including denial, probation, suspension or revocation, based upon acts by the licensee similar to acts described in this section is also a possible ground;
- habitual or excessive use of intoxicants or drugs;
- fraud or misrepresentation in applying for or procuring a license or in connection with renewal, including cheating on or attempting to subvert the licensing examinations;
- making false or misleading statements regarding the skill of the licensee or the efficacy or value of the medicine, treatment or remedy prescribed or administered by the licensee;
- impersonating another licensee, permitting or allowing a person to use the license of the licensee or practicing as a licensee under a false or assumed name, or aiding or abetting the practice of a person not licensed by the board;
- gross negligence in the practice of a licensee;
- manifest incapacity or incompetence to practice as a licensee;
- fee splitting;
- the prescribing, administering or dispensing of narcotic, stimulant or hypnotic drugs for other than accepted therapeutic purposes;
- employing abusive billing practices;
- failure to report to the board any adverse action taken against the licensee by another licensing jurisdiction, a peer review body, a health care entity, a professional or medical society or association, a governmental agency, a law enforcement agency or a court for acts or conduct similar to acts or conduct that would constitute grounds for action as defined in this section;
- failure to furnish the board, its investigators or representatives with information requested by the board;
- abandonment of patients;
- being found mentally incompetent or insane by a court of competent jurisdiction;
- injudicious prescribing, administering or dispensing of a drug or medicine;
- failure to adequately supervise, as provided by board rule, a medical or surgical assistant or technician or professional licensee who renders health care;
- sexual contact with a patient or person who has authority to make medical decisions for a patient, other than the spouse of the licensee;
- willfully or negligently divulging privileged information or a professional secret[ix].
The board may summarily suspend or restrict a license issued by the board without a hearing if the licensee’s continued practice poses a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety. Summary suspension of license is permissible if the licensee has been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction or has pled guilty to or been found guilty of any offense related to the practice of medicine or for any violent criminal offense[x].
The board may suspend the license of a licensee who fails to comply with continuing medical education or continuing education requirements until the requirements are fulfilled[xi]. The board may also seek an injunction to prevent a person’s practice without a license[xii].
[i] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-11.
[vi] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-26.
[vii] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-20.
[viii] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-15.
[ix] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-15.
[x] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-15.1.
[xi] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-21.
[xii] N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-6-22.