Under Utah law, provisions relating to regulation of physicians are provided under Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-301 through Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-403. A license is required to engage in the practice of medicine, on or for any person in Utah, as a physician and surgeon[i]. The applicant is required to submit along with the required fee, information maintained by practitioner data banks with respect to the applicant. The applicant must be of good moral character. The applicant must also provide proof of degree of doctor of medicine earned from an LCME accredited medical school or college or a foreign medical school which at the time of the applicant’s graduation, met the criteria for LCME accreditation[ii]. In addition, a foreign medical graduate must have a current certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates or any successor organization approved by the division in collaboration with the board.
The applicant must also have successfully completed 24 months of progressive resident training in a program approved by the ACGME, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, or any similar body in the U.S. or Canada approved by the division in collaboration with the board. Alternatively, the applicant must have completed a 12 months of resident training in an ACGME approved program after receiving the degree of doctor of medicine and participating in progressive resident training in an ACGME approved program within Utah, in the applicant’s second or third year of postgraduate training. In such a case, the applicant must have has agreed to surrender to the division the applicant’s license as a physician and surgeon without any proceedings under Title 63G, Chapter 4, Administrative Procedures Act [iii].
The other requirements include proficiency in the English language and passing the licensing examination sequence required by the division rule made in collaboration with the board. The applicant is obligated to designate a contact person and an alternate contact person for access to medical records in accordance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and establish a method for notifying patients of the identity and location of the contact person and alternate contact person, if the applicant will practice in a location with no other persons licensed under this chapter[iv].
In the case of an applicant for licensure as a physician or surgeon by endorsement, the requirements are:
- such person has to be currently licensed with a full unrestricted license in good standing in any state, district, or territory of the U.S.;
- have been actively engaged in the medical practice for not less than 6,000 hours during the five years immediately preceding the date of application for licensure in Utah;
- not have any action pending against the applicant’s license;
- not have a license that was suspended or revoked in any state, unless the license was subsequently reinstated as a full unrestricted license in good standing; and
- produce satisfactory evidence of the applicant’s qualifications, identity, and good standing.
Such an applicant may practice medicine under a temporary license while the applicant’s application for licensure is being processed by the medical licensing division (division)[v].
The procedure for licensing of foreign medical graduates is known as the fifth pathway program. An applicant who is a foreign medical graduate has to meet all the requirements of Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-302, except for Subsection 58-67-302(1)(d). The person must have studied in a foreign medical school and have completed all formal requirements of the foreign medical school except internship or social service. The person must have attained a passing score on the educational commission for foreign medical graduates examination or other qualifying examinations such as the United States Medical Licensing Exam parts I and II, which are approved by the division or a medical school approved by the division. S/he should have completed one year of supervised clinical training under the direction of a U.S. medical education setting accredited by the liaison committee for graduate medical education and approved by the division and post graduate hospital training.
In addition, the foreign medical graduate has to pass the examination required by the division of all applicants for licensure.
The above mentioned requirements have to be satisfied in lieu of the completion of any foreign internship or social service requirements and the certification required by Subsection Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-302(1)(e).
Individuals who satisfy the above requirements except the requirement of examination for all applicants are eligible for admission to graduate medical education programs within Utah, including internships and residencies.
The term of license is in accordance with a two-year renewal cycle and the division may by rule extend or shorten a renewal period by as much as one year[vi]. On renewal, the licensee shall show compliance with continuing education renewal requirements and designation of a contact person and alternate contact person for access to medical records and notice to patients[vii].
An individual engaging in the practice of medicine is exempted from licensure in the following circumstances:
- the individual is licensed in good standing as a physician in another state with no licensing action pending and no less than ten years of professional experience;
- the services are rendered as a public service and for a noncommercial purpose;
- no fee or other consideration is charged for the services rendered beyond an amount necessary to cover the proportionate cost of malpractice insurance; and
- the individual does not otherwise engage in unlawful or unprofessional conduct[viii].
The disciplinary action by the division includes refusal to issue or renew a license, revocation, suspension, or assessing an administrative penalty, issuing a public or private reprimand to a licensee or issuing a cease and desist order. In addition, the division may place a licensee on probation[ix]. After proceeding pursuant to Title 63G, Chapter 4, Administrative Procedures Act, and Title 58, Chapter 1, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Act, the division may impose administrative penalties of up to $ 10,000 for acts of unprofessional conduct[x]. However, it is to be noted that revocation of a license under Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-302(1)(f) for failure to continue on a resident training program for reasons other than unprofessional or unlawful conduct is a nondisciplinary action[xi].
The following actions by a physician or licensee are considered to be unlawful conduct and are prohibited by the division:
- buying, selling, or fraudulently obtaining any medical diploma, license, certificate, or registration;
- aiding or abetting the buying, selling, or fraudulently obtaining of any medical diploma, license, certificate, or registration;
- entering into a contract that limits a licensee’s ability to advise the licensee’s patients fully about treatment options or other issues that affect the health care of the licensee’s patients.
- substantially interfering with a licensee’s lawful and competent practice of medicine by any person or entity having a direct or indirect financial interest in the licensee’s professional practice or anyone other than another licensed physician, who is engaged in direct clinical care or consultation with the licensee[xii].
On the other hand, “unprofessional conduct” includes, in addition to the definition in Section Utah Code Ann. § 58-1-501, using or employing the services of any individual to assist a licensee in any manner not in accordance with the generally recognized practices, standards, or ethics of the profession, state law, or division rule[xiii].
A licensee engaging in an unlawful conduct is punishable for the commission of a third degree felony[xiv].
[i] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-301.
[ii] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-302.
[vi] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-303.
[viii] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-305.
[ix] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-401.
[x] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-402.
[xi] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-403.
[xii] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-501.
[xiii] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-502.
[xiv] Utah Code Ann. § 58-67-503.