HOUSE BILL NO. 18
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 17, TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATES TO PRACTICE MEDICINE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Subchapter V, Chapter 17, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Section 173B to read as follows:
§1738. Temporary Suspension Pending Hearing
(a) In the event the Board receives a formal or informal written complaint concerning a physician's activities which the Board determines alleges matters presenting a clear and immediate danger to the public health, the Board may issue an order temporarily suspending the physician's certificate to practice medicine, pending a hearing. No order temporarily suspending a certificate to practice medicine shall be issued by the Board, with less than 24 hours prior written or oral notice to the physician or his attorney so that the physician or his attorney may be heard in opposition to the proposed suspension and unless at least eight members of the Board vote in favor of such a temporary suspension. An order of temporary suspension pending a hearing shall remain in effect for a period of time no longer than 60 days from the date of the issuance of said order, unless the suspended physician requests a continuance of the date for the convening of the hearing panel. In such an event, the order of-.temporary suspension pending a hearing shall remain in effect until the hearing pane) has convened and a decision rendered.
(b) The physician whose certificate to practice medicine has been temporarily suspended pending a hearing shall be notified forthwith in writing. Notification shall consist of a copy of the complaint and the order of temporary suspension pending a hearing and shall be personally served upon the physician or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the physician's last known address.
(c) A physician whose certificate to practice medicine has, pursuant to this Section, been temporarily suspended pending a hearing, may request an expedited hearing. The Board shall schedule the hearing on an expedited basis provided that the Board receives said request within five calendar days from the date on which the physician received notification of the decision of the Board to temporarily suspend his certificate to practice medicine.
(a) As soon as possible after the issuance of the order temporarily suspending the physician's certificate to practice medicine pending a hearing, the Board shall appoint a 3-member hearing panel pursuant to its power under §1730 (16) of this Title. The hearing panel, after notice to the physician, shall convene within 60 days of the date of the issuance of the order of temporary suspension in order to consider the evidence regarding the matters alleged in the complaint. In the event that a physician, in a timely manner, requests an expedited hearing, the hearing panel shall convene within 15 days of the receipt by the Board of such a request. The 3-member panel shall proceed to a hearing in accordance with the procedures set forth at §1734 of this Title and shall render a decision within 30 days.
(a) In addition to pertinent findings of fact to be made by the hearing panel, the panel shall also determine whether the facts found by it constitute a clear and immediate danger to public health. If the hearing panel determines that the facts found by it constitute a clear and immediate danger to public health, then, the order of temporary suspension shall remain in effect until such time as the full Board shall deliberate and reach conclusions of law based upon the finding of fact made by the hearing panel pursuant to the provisions of §1734 (f) of this Title. In no vent shall the order of temporary suspension remain in effect for longer than 60 days from the date of the decision rendered by the hearing panel unless the suspended physician requests an extension of the order of temporary suspension pending a final decision of the Board. Upon a final decision of the Board, the order of temporary suspension shall be vacated in favor of the disciplinary action ordered by the Board."
Section 2. Amend §1730(a)(16), Chapter 17, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking said Section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"(16) To designate three members of the Board to act as a hearing panel for the purposes of hearing charges of unprofessional conduct as set forth in §1731(b) of this Title or inability to practice medicine as set forth in §1731(c) of this Title or making determinations of fact in connection with the temporary suspension of a certificate to practice medicine pursuant to §1738 of this Title."
Section 3. This Act shall become effective immediately upon its enactment into law.
Approved February 17, 1987.