By Ellen Williams
On June 19, 2020, the Medical Board of California (MBC) published notice of its intent to amend sections 1320 and 1321, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) to modify postgraduate training requirements for licensees, as stated in the proposed text.
According to the Initial Statement of Reasons, the proposed rulemaking is necessary to implement SB 798 (Hill) (Chapter 775, Statutes of 2017), as clarified by SB 1480 (Hill) (Chapter 571, Statutes of 2018), which modified the time in which medical school graduates who are enrolled in an approved postgraduate training program may practice medicine in California without a physician’s and surgeon’s license—also known as a “licensing exemption period.” These bills, which became effective on January 1, 2020, amended section 2065 of the Business and Professions Code to set forth a uniform licensing exemption period, applicable to all participants in approved postgraduate training programs—regardless of where they attended medical school. Previously, section 2065 permitted graduates of U.S. and Canadian medical schools to practice for two years while enrolled in a postgraduate training program before needing to obtain a license, while section 2066 permitted graduates of international medical schools to practice for three years while enrolled in a post-graduate training program.
Specifically, the Board proposes to amend section 1320 to set the licensing exemption period for all participants in approved postgraduate training programs at 39 months—90 days after successfully completing three years of approved training. The Board’s Initial Statement of Reasons also notes that the 39-month exemption applies regardless of whether the training program itself was successfully completed, noting that some post-graduate training programs may extend beyond three years.
The proposed amendments to section 1321 clarify that postgraduate training programs in the United States and/or its territories, or Canada that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or family medicine postgraduate training programs in Canada accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, will be approved for postgraduate training. The Board also proposes to strike the language in subsection (b) stating that that the Board will maintain a current list of approved postgraduate training programs in its Sacramento office. According to the Initial Statement of Reasons, this language is unnecessary and an inefficient requirement for the Board to keep a list of training programs. Instead, interested parties can turn to the current status of each of the enumerated accrediting institutions for the most current status of approved programs.
The public comment period for the proposed amendments expired on August 3, 2020. At this writing, the Board has not taken further action.
The situation will be very different if the board of directors modifies the 1320 section.