The Oklahoma regulation of physicians is found in 59 Okl. St. § 480 through 59 Okl. St. § 518. Pursuant to the statutes, every person before practicing medicine and surgery or any of the branches or departments of medicine and surgery, within the meaning of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act, within this state, must be in legal possession of the unrevoked license or certificate issued pursuant to the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act. Any person practicing in such manner within this state, who is not in the legal possession of a license or certificate, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony, punishable by a fine in an amount not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not more than one (1) year or imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term of not more than four (4) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day a person is in violation of any provision of this subsection shall constitute a separate criminal offense and, in addition, the district attorney may file a separate charge of medical battery for each person who is injured as a result of treatment or surgery performed in violation of this subsection. Any person who practices medicine and surgery or any of the branches or departments thereof without first complying with the provisions of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act shall, in addition to the other penalties provided therein, receive no compensation for such medical and surgical or branches or departments thereof services.
If a license has been revoked or suspended pursuant to the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act whether for disciplinary reasons or for failure to renew the license, the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision may, subject to rules promulgated by the Board, assess and collect an administrative fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00) for each day after revocation or suspension whether for disciplinary reasons or for failure to renew such license that the person practices medicine and surgery or any of the branches or departments thereof within this state. Fines assessed shall be in addition to any criminal penalty provided pursuant to subsection A of this section[i].
Furthermore, every person shall be regarded as practicing allopathic medicine within the meaning and provisions of this act, who shall append to his or her name the letters “M.D.”, “Physician” or any other title, letters or designation which represent that such person is a physician, or who shall for a fee or any form of compensation diagnose and/or treat disease, injury or deformity of persons in this state by any allopathic legend drugs, surgery, manual, or mechanical treatment unless otherwise authorized by law. A hospital or related institution as such terms are defined in Section 1-701 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, which has the principal purpose or function of providing hospital or medical care, including but not limited to any corporation, association, trust, or other organization organized and operated for such purpose, may employ one or more persons who are duly licensed to practice medicine in this state without being regarded as itself practicing medicine within the meaning and provisions of this section. The employment by the hospital or related institution of any person who is duly licensed to practice medicine in this state shall not, in and of itself, be considered an act of unprofessional conduct by the person so employed. Nothing provided herein shall eliminate, limit, or restrict the liability for any act or failure to act of any hospital, any hospital’s employees, or persons duly licensed to practice medicine. The practice of medicine and surgery, as defined in this section, shall not include:
- A student while engaged in training in a medical school approved by the Board or while engaged in graduate medical training under the supervision of the medical staff of a hospital or other health care facility approved by the state medical board for such training, except that a student engaged in graduate medical training shall hold a license issued by the Board for such training;
- Any person who provides medical treatment in cases of emergency where no fee or other consideration is contemplated, charged or received;
- A commissioned medical officer of the armed forces of the United States or medical officer of the United States Public Health Service or the Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States in the discharge of official duties and/or within federally controlled facilities; and provided that such person shall be fully licensed to practice medicine and surgery in one or more jurisdictions of the United States; provided further that such person who holds a medical license in this state shall be subject to the provisions of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act;
- Any person licensed under any other act when properly practicing in the healing art for which that person is duly licensed;
- The practice of those who endeavor to prevent or cure disease or suffering by spiritual means or prayer;
- Any person administering a domestic or family remedy to a member of such person’s own family;
- Any person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in another state or territory of the United States who renders emergency medical treatment or briefly provides critical medical service at the specific lawful direction of a medical institution or federal agency that assumes full responsibility for that treatment or service and is approved by the Board;
- Any person who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery in another state or territory of the United States whose sole purpose and activity is limited to brief actual consultation with a specific physician who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery by the Board, other than a person with a special or restricted license; or
- The practice of any other person as licensed by appropriate agencies of this state, provided that such duties are consistent with the accepted standards of the person’s profession and the person does not represent himself or herself as a Doctor of Medicine, Physician, Surgeon, Physician and Surgeon, Dr., M.D., or any combination thereof.
Nothing in the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act shall prohibit:
1. The service rendered by a physician’s unlicensed trained assistant, if such service is rendered under the supervision and control of a licensed physician pursuant to Board rules, provided such rules are not in conflict with the provisions of any other healing arts licensure act or rules promulgated pursuant to such act; or
2. The service of any other person duly licensed or certified by the state to practice the healing arts.
Nothing in the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act shall prohibit services rendered by any person not licensed by the Board and practicing any nonallopathic healing practice[ii].
Pursuant to 59 Okl. St. § 492.1, the Board shall create such application forms as are necessary for the licensure of applicants to practice medicine and surgery in this state. No person shall be licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state except upon a finding by the Board that such person has fully complied with all applicable licensure requirements of this act, is of good moral character, and has produced satisfactory evidence to the Board of the ability of the applicant to practice medicine and surgery with reasonable skill and safety. Except as specifically may be waived by the Board, the Board shall not engage in any application process with any agent or representative of the applicant.
An applicant to practice medicine and surgery in this state shall provide to the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and attest to the following information and documentation in a manner required by the Board:
1. The applicant’s full name and all aliases or other names ever used, current address, social security number and date and place of birth;
2. A signed and notarized photograph of the applicant, taken within the previous twelve (12) months;
3. Originals of all documents and credentials required by the Board, or notarized photocopies or other verification acceptable to the Board of such documents and credentials;
4. A list of all jurisdictions, United States or foreign, in which the applicant is licensed or has applied for licensure to practice medicine and surgery or is authorized or has applied for authorization to practice medicine and surgery;
5. A list of all jurisdictions, United States or foreign, in which the applicant has been denied licensure or authorization to practice medicine and surgery or has voluntarily surrendered a license or an authorization to practice medicine and surgery;
6. A list of all sanctions, judgments, awards, settlements, or convictions against the applicant in any jurisdiction, United States or foreign, that would constitute grounds for disciplinary action under this act or the Board’s rules;
7. A detailed educational history, including places, institutions, dates, and program descriptions, of all his or her education, including all college, preprofessional, professional, and professional graduate education;
8. A detailed chronological life history from age eighteen (18) years to the present, including places and dates of residence, employment, and military service (United States or foreign) and all professional degrees or licenses or certificates now or ever held; and
9. Any other information or documentation specifically requested by the Board that is related to the applicant’s ability to practice medicine and surgery.
The applicant shall possess a valid degree of Doctor of Medicine from a medical college or school located in the United States, its territories or possessions, or Canada that was approved by the Board or by a private nonprofit accrediting body approved by the Board at the time the degree was conferred. The application shall be considered by the Board based upon the product and process of the medical education and training. The applicant shall have satisfactorily completed twelve (12) months of progressive postgraduate medical training approved by the Board or by a private nonprofit accrediting body approved by the Board in an institution in the United States, its territories or possessions, or in programs in Canada, England, Scotland or Ireland approved by the Board or by a private nonprofit accrediting body approved by the Board. The applicant shall submit a history from the Administration of the Medical School from which the applicant graduated of any suspension, probation, or disciplinary action taken against the applicant while a student at that institution. The applicant shall have passed medical licensing examination(s) satisfactory to the Board. The applicant shall have demonstrated a familiarity with all appropriate statutes and rules and regulations of this state and the federal government relating to the practice of medicine and surgery.
The applicant shall be physically, mentally, professionally, and morally capable of practicing medicine and surgery in a manner reasonably acceptable to the Board and in accordance with federal law and shall be required to submit to a physical, mental, or professional competency examination or a drug dependency evaluation if deemed necessary by the Board. The applicant shall not have committed or been found guilty by a competent authority, United States or foreign, of any conduct that would constitute grounds for disciplinary action under this act or rules of the Board. The Board may modify this restriction for cause. Upon request by the Board, the applicant shall make a personal appearance before the Board or a representative thereof for interview, examination, or review of credentials. At the discretion of the Board, the applicant shall be required to present his or her original medical education credentials for inspection during the personal appearance.
The statutes further provide that the applicant shall be held responsible for verifying to the satisfaction of the Board the identity of the applicant and the validity of all credentials required for his or her medical licensure. The Board may review and verify medical credentials and screen applicant records through recognized national physician information services. The applicant shall have paid all fees and completed and attested to the accuracy of all application and information forms required by the Board. Grounds for the denial of a license shall include:
1. Use of false or fraudulent information by an applicant;
2. Suspension or revocation of a license in another state unless the license has been reinstated in that state;
3. Refusal of licensure in another state other than for examination failure; and
4. Multiple examination failures.
The Board shall not deny a license to a person otherwise qualified to practice allopathic medicine within the meaning of this act solely because the person’s practice or a therapy is experimental or nontraditional[iii].
59 Okl. St. § 493.3 provides that the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision may issue a license by endorsement to an applicant who:
- Has complied with all current medical licensure requirements except those for examination; and
- Has passed a medical licensure examination given in English in another state, the District of Columbia, a territory or possession of the United States, or Canada, or has passed the National Boards Examination administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners, provided the Board determines that such examination was equivalent to the Board’s examination used at the time of application.
Furthermore, notwithstanding any other provision of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act, the Board may require applicants for full and unrestricted medical licensure by endorsement, who have not been formally tested by another state or territory of the United States or any Canadian medical licensure jurisdiction, a Board-approved medical certification agency, or a Board-approved medical specialty board within a specific period of time before application to pass a written and/or oral medical examination approved by the Board. The Board may authorize the secretary to issue a temporary medical license for the intervals between Board meetings. A temporary license shall be granted only when the secretary is satisfied as to the qualifications of the applicant to be licensed under the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act but where such qualifications have not been verified to the Board. A temporary license shall:
1. Be granted only to an applicant demonstrably qualified for a full and unrestricted medical license under the requirements set by the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act and the rules of the Board; and
2. Automatically terminate on the date of the next Board meeting at which the applicant may be considered for a full and unrestricted medical license.
The Board may establish rules authorizing the issuance of conditional, restricted, or otherwise circumscribed licenses, or issuance of licenses under terms of agreement, for all licenses under its legislative jurisdiction as are necessary for the public health, safety, and welfare. The Board may issue a temporary license to any of the professions under the jurisdiction of the Board based on defined qualifications set by each advisory committee of the profession.
When an applicant shall have shown that he or she is qualified as herein required, a license, in form approved by the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and attested by the seal of the Board, shall be issued to the applicant by the Board, authorizing the applicant to practice medicine and surgery within the meaning of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act[iv].
Pursuant to 59 Okl. St. § 495b, any person practicing medicine and surgery in Oklahoma as defined by law without having the legal possession of a current renewal license shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction be punished by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), and such practice shall constitute grounds for the revocation or suspension of his or her license to practice medicine and surgery in this state.
Furthermore, if a licensee fails to apply for reregistration within sixty (60) days from the end of the previous registration period, as provided in this act, his original license to practice medicine and surgery in this state shall be suspended and the Board shall report to the office of the district attorney of the county of practice any physician who failed to reregister if the physician’s practice is still in Oklahoma. Said original license shall, upon due application by said person therefor, be reinstated by the Board or its agent designated for that purpose if and when the applicant furnishes satisfactory proof that:
(a) The licensee had not practiced medicine or surgery in any other state or territory of the United States in violation of the laws thereof during said period;
(b) The licensee’s license to practice medicine or surgery had not been revoked in any other such state or territory during said period;
(c) The licensee has not been convicted of a felony or the violation of the narcotic laws of the United States during said period; and
(d) The licensee has met the same standards for licensure as is required at the time for initial licensure and the latest reregistration period.
A fee set by the Board shall accompany the application for reinstatement. The Board may in its discretion require the applicant to take and pass an examination prescribed by it to assess the applicant’s clinical competency unless the applicant can show that fifty percent (50%) of his monthly activities during the time the applicant’s Oklahoma license has been inactive include the practice of medicine[v].
Pursuant to 59 Okl. St. § 503, the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision may suspend, revoke or order any other appropriate sanctions against the license of any physician or surgeon holding a license to practice in this state for unprofessional conduct, but no such suspension, revocation or other penalty shall be made until the licensee is cited to appear for hearing. No such citation shall be issued except upon sworn complaint filed with the secretary of the Board, charging the licensee with having been guilty of unprofessional conduct and setting forth the particular act or acts alleged to constitute unprofessional conduct. In the event it comes to the attention of the Board that a violation of the rules of professional conduct may have occurred, even though a formal complaint or charge may not have been filed, the Board may conduct an investigation of the possible violation, and may upon its own motion institute a formal complaint. In the course of the investigation persons appearing before the Board may be required to testify under oath. Upon the filing of a complaint, either by an individual or the Board as provided herein, the citation must forthwith be issued by the secretary of the Board over the signature of the secretary and seal of the Board, setting forth the complaint of unprofessional conduct, and giving due notice of the time and place of the hearing by the Board. The citation shall be made returnable at the next regular meeting of the Board occurring at least thirty (30) days after the service of the citation. The defendant shall file a written answer under oath with the secretary of the Board within twenty (20) days after the service of the citation. The secretary of the Board may extend the time of answer upon satisfactory showing that the defendant is for reasonable cause, unable to answer within the twenty (20) days, but in no case shall the time be extended beyond the date of the next regular meeting of the Board, unless a continuance is granted by the Board.
Whenever any license has been procured or obtained by fraud or misrepresentation, or was issued by mistake; or if the diploma of graduation in medicine and surgery or any other credentials required as necessary to the admission to the examination for license were obtained by fraud or misrepresentation or were issued by mistake; or if the reciprocity endorsement from another state, upon which a license has been issued in this state, was procured by fraud or misrepresentation, or was issued by mistake, it shall be the duty of the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to take appropriate disciplinary action in the same manner as is provided by the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act for the disciplining of unprofessional conduct.
Use of fraudulent information to obtain a license shall be a misdemeanor offense, punishable, upon conviction, by the imposition of a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment[vi].
The State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision may impose disciplinary actions in accordance with the severity of violation of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act. Disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Revocation of the medical license with or without the right to reapply;
2. Suspension of the medical license;
4. Stipulations, limitations, restrictions, and conditions relating to practice;
5. Censure, including specific redress, if appropriate;
7. A period of free public or charity service;
8. Satisfactory completion of an educational, training, and/or treatment program or programs; and
9. Administrative fines of up to Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00) per violation.
Provided, as a condition of disciplinary action sanctions, the Board may impose as a condition of any disciplinary action, the payment of costs expended by the Board for any legal fees and costs and probation and monitoring fees including, but not limited to, staff time, salary and travel expense, witness fees and attorney fees. The Board may take such actions singly or in combination as the nature of the violation requires. The Board may authorize the secretary to issue a confidential letter of concern to a licensee when evidence does not warrant formal proceedings, but the secretary has noted indications of possible errant conduct that could lead to serious consequences and formal action. The letter of concern may contain, at the secretary’s discretion, clarifying information from the licensee.
The Board may, upon reasonable cause, require professional competency, physical, mental, or chemical dependency examinations of any licensee, including withdrawal and laboratory examination of body fluids. The Board shall promulgate rules describing acts of unprofessional or unethical conduct by physicians pursuant to the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act; and the Board may take disciplinary action for unprofessional or unethical conduct as deemed appropriate based upon the merits of each case and as set out by rule. The Board shall not revoke the license of a person otherwise qualified to practice allopathic medicine within the meaning of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act solely because the person’s practice or a therapy is experimental or nontraditional. Reports of all disciplinary action provided for in this section will be available to the public upon request.
The Board may accept a surrender of license from a licensee who has engaged in unprofessional conduct in lieu of Board staff prosecuting a pending disciplinary action or filing formal disciplinary proceedings only as provided in this section. To effect such a surrender, the licensee must submit a sworn statement to the Board:
a. expressing the licensee’s desire to surrender the license,
b. acknowledging that the surrender is freely and voluntarily made, that the licensee has not been subjected to coercion or duress, and that the licensee is fully aware of the consequences of the license surrender,
c. stating that the licensee is the subject of an investigation or proceeding by the Board or a law enforcement or other regulatory agency involving allegations which, if proven, would constitute grounds for disciplinary action by the Board, and
d. specifically admitting to and describing the misconduct.
As a condition to acceptance of the surrender, the Board may require the licensee to pay the costs expended by the Board for any legal fees and costs and any investigation, probation and monitoring fees including, but not limited to, staff time, salary and travel expense, witness fees and attorney fees. The licensee whose surrender in lieu of prosecution is accepted by the Board shall be ineligible to reapply for reinstatement of his or her license for at least one (1) year from the date of the accepted surrender. All disciplinary actions defined in this section are applicable to any and all professional licensees under the legislative jurisdiction of the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision[vii].
[i] 59 Okl. St. § 491.
[ii] 59 Okl. St. § 492.
[iii] 59 Okl. St. § 493.1.
[iv] 59 Okl. St. § 495.
[v] 59 Okl. St. § 495d.
[vi] 59 Okl. St. § 508.
[vii] 59 Okl. St. § 509.1.