New Law Eases Constraints on Doctors in Connecticut

July 12, 2013

L to R, Rep. Srinivasan, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Gov. Malloy, Sen. Boucher, Dr. Mark Thompson, Exec. Dir. Fairfield County Medical Assoc. and fellow physicians.

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) attended a ceremonial bill signing today in the Governor’s office highlighting a new law that allows physicians in Connecticut to have more control over their continuing education. The law entitled, AN ACT CONCERNING CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSES FOR PHYSICIANS, allows physicians to take continuing education courses on specified topics once every six years and to require physicians to take continuing education courses on the topic of behavioral health.

“Over the years, I have developed a partnership with our doctors practicing in Connecticut and the healthcare community helping them to overcome some of the substantial barriers to their profession and providing quality service to their patients. This has involved my colleagues in the House and Senate in not only helping them with issues of flexibility like this one, but with medical malpractice and vaccine issues,” said Sen. Boucher. “It is unfortunate that Medscape Medical News reports that Connecticut has become the worst place to practice medicine in the Northeast for those reasons. We have much more work to do to relieve some of the pressure placed on a physician’s practice.”

This act reduces the frequency with which physicians must take mandatory topics for continuing medical education (CME). It also adds behavioral health to the list of mandatory topics, which already includes infectious diseases, risk management, sexual assault, domestic violence, and cultural competency.

“Under prior law, physicians had to take at least 50 minutes of CME in each mandatory topic every two years. These doctors were in the classroom an inordinate amount of time when they could be tending to patients,” added Sen. Boucher.

The act instead requires one contact hour in each such topic during the first renewal period for which CME is required (the second license renewal), and once every six years after that. The act makes a corresponding change by requiring physicians to retain CME attendance records or certificates of completion for at least six years, rather than three years.

By law, physicians applying for license renewal must have completed at least 50 contact hours of CME during the previous 24 months. Physicians are exempt from CME requirements during their first license renewal.

Sen. Boucher says measures like this will allow doctors practicing in Connecticut to gain flexibility in an environment that has already become less feasible for doctors to set up practices.

Specifically, she cites the state’s medical profession and healthcare institutions who have testified they have found it difficult to attract and retain doctors under the current medical malpractice laws that favor the legal profession.