Ottenwess Law Managing Partner, Stephanie Ottenwess, successfully represented an ophthalmologist before the Board of Medicine in obtaining his Michigan medical license.
The physician, who had held a full unrestricted license in another state for the prior seven (7) years, had been advised by LARA that he could not obtain a Michigan medical license because he had not completed two (2) years of post-graduate training in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (“ACGME”) accredited program as required by the Board of Medicine rules. Specifically, that an applicant for a medical license must have completed two (2) years of postgraduate clinical training in a program accredited by the ACGME.
The physician completed medical school and residency outside of the United States but then completed five (5) years of fellowship training at institutions inside the United States. All of these institutions had ACGME accredited ophthalmology residency programs. In Ophthalmology, however, the ACGME does not accredit fellowships.
Stephanie filed a petition with the Board of Medicine arguing that pursuant to the regulatory framework of Article 15 of the Public Health Code (“PHC”), the Legislature granted the Board of Medicine the power to set minimum standards for licensure and gave the Board the discretion to grant health profession licenses to qualified individuals. What the Legislature did not do under the PHC is limit the Board’s ability to carry out its duties to a strict set of rules. Instead, the PHC makes it clear that the Board may grant a license to an applicant meeting the requirements for the license as prescribed in Article 15 and promulgated in the medicine rules and encourages the Board, where appropriate, to “grant credit for past training, education, or experience. . . which may provide equivalence to completion of formal educational requirements.”
In other words, Stephanie argued, the Board has discretion to grant a medical license based on its analysis of an applicant’s training, education and experience. Stephanie successfully showed how the physician possessed comparable qualifications based on his training in medical school, residency and fellowships; his experience over the prior twelve (12) years; and his performance throughout his training and private practice to an ophthalmologist who had graduated from an ACGME accredited residency.