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Frequently Asked Questions for Licensees

  1. When does the Board of Medical Examiners meet?

  2. How does the Board regulate its licensees?

  3. How do I change my address with the Board?

  4. Are continuing medical education credits required as a condition of renewal of licensure?

  5. What does a doctor need to do if he/she is closing his/her practice?

  6. What will happen if a patient complains about his/her doctor?

  7. How long will the investigation take?

  8. If requested by a patient, do I have to provide the medical records?

  9. Can a doctor charge a patient for copies of the medical records?

  10. How long must a doctor keep copies of a patient's medical records?

  11. Can a doctor discharge a patient from his/her practice?

  12. Is a doctor required to provide his/her patients with a chaperone during an examination?

  13. How can I obtain a verification of my license to another state?

  14. How does a doctor obtain a duplicate of his/her license registration certificate?

  15. I recently got married and would like to change my name with the Board and on my license certificate.

  16. Must physicians retired from practice comply with CME requirements?

  17. Can doctors get extensions or waivers of the CME requirement?

  18. Is there an exception to CME requirements for Initial licensees who are recent graduates of accredited  medical education training programs?

  19. Does the Board lessen the CME requirement if a license has not been active for the entire two year license cycle?

  20. What about the new Cultural Competency Education requirement?

  21. Where may I find the NJ Universal Credentialing Form or the NJ Physician Recredentialing Application Form?



  1. When does the Board of Medical Examiners meet?
    The Board holds its monthly meeting on the Second Wednesday of the month at 9:00 a.m. at the Richard J. Hughes Complex, 25 Market Street, 4th Floor Conference Center, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0183 Complete list of meeting dates.

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  2. How does the Board regulate its licensees?
    The Board promulgates regulations/laws which serve as a basis as to the standard of practice and the Board ensures that these regulations are followed.

    It also is the responsibility of the Board to evaluate when a licensee’s conduct or ability to practice appropriately warrants modification, suspension or revocation of the license to practice. When the Board receives a complaint against a licensee and there is reason to believe that the licensee has violated the law, it has the power to investigate, hold hearings, and/or impose some disciplinary sanction. This may include fines, additional education, medical treatment, or a modification of his/her license.

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  3. How do I change my address with the Board?
    Practitioners are required to report to the Board , in writing, any change in address. The failure to provide timely notice of any change of address from the address that appears on the licensee's most recent license renewal or application may be deemed a failure to cooperate and therefore, professional misconduct and grounds for suspension or revocation of license. A form is available to submit your on-line change of address at: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/bme/address.htm. You may fax your change of address directly to the Board. Please call the BME Call Center @ 609-826-7100 for instructions.

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  4. Are continuing medical education credits required as a condition of renewal of licensure?
    As of 2001, the legislature enacted a law to require continuing medical education as a condition for biennial registration renewal. Physicians and podiatrists must complete 100 credits of continuing medical education, minimum 40 must be Cat I, maximum 60 may be Category II for the two year period prior to renewal. This means those categories of medical education courses recognized by the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Podiatric Medical Association, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education or other comparable organizations recognized by the board.

    The board may, in its discretion, waive requirements for continuing medical education on an individual basis for reasons of hardship such as illness or disability, retirement of license, or other good cause. A waiver shall apply only to the current biennial renewal period at the time of board issuance.

    The CME Requirement applies to all doctors and podiatrists who hold active full fee or reduced fee (retired-paid) licenses, whether or not they are in active practice in New Jersey.

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  5. What does a doctor need to do if he/she is closing his/her practice?
    If a licensee ceases to engage in practice, or it is anticipated that he/she will remain out of practice for more than three months, the licensee shall

    1. Establish a procedure by which patients can obtain a copy of his/her patient records or have them transferred to another practitioner. A licensee CANNOT charge a patient for a copy of the records when the records will be sued for purposes of continuing treatment or care.
    2. Publish a notice and the established procedure for the obtaining of records in a newspaper of general circulation at least once a month for the first three months after the practice closes.
    3. Make reasonable efforts to directly notify patients treated within the prior six months letting the patients know about the manner in which the patient can obtain copies of his/her records.

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  6. What will happen if a patient complains about his/her doctor?
    The Board has the responsibility to investigate each complaint that it receives. As a general rule, the Board will forward a copy of the complaint to the doctor and ask the doctor to respond to the allegations contained in the complaint. The doctor should provide a narrative response, as well as attach any patient records that are germane to the allegations in the complaint.

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  7. How long will the investigation take?
    The Board cannot predict how long an investigation will take because each case has many variables. Each matter received by the Board is investigated thoroughly and on its own merits. Some cases are clear and involve a limited number of circumstances and, upon assignment, can be completed quickly. Others are more complicated and may take longer periods of time. The Board will do its best to process the complaint as quickly as it can, while still maintaining an appropriate investigation. When the Board has reached a final decision, both parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of the Board’s investigation.

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  8. If requested by a patient, do I have to provide the medical records?
    In most instances, the patient has a right to receive a copy of his or her medical records, not the original. Although most patients assume that the records belong to the patient, the Board requires that the physician to maintain the original to ensure that the patient's medical history is available to any subsequent treating physician or health care provider. Copies may be given to the patient, another doctor, an attorney, insurance company or another family member if the patient expressly authorizes it. If a patient is deceased, the duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate may obtain copies also. Medical records cannot be released to a spouse, family member, attorney or any other person unless the patient gives his/her express consent to release them to that specific person.

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  9. Can a doctor charge a patient for copies of the medical records?
    The Doctor may charge the patient to copy the records, which cannot be greater than $1.00 per page or $100.00 for the entire record, whichever is less. If the record is less than 10 pages, the doctor may charge $10 . A "service fee" may not be charged apart from these amounts. Charges for copies of x-rays and other documents which cannot be reproduced by ordinary photocopying machines are to be charged at the actual costs to reproduce them.

    The Doctor has 30 days after he/she receives a written request from the patient. If the patient had provided a set of records from the patient’s previous Doctor, the patient has a right to have these included as part of the entire medical record. Physicians may not refuse to release a copy of a patient’s medical record if they are needed for on going treatment if the patient owes money for the medical services the physician provided. The physician, however, can hold the record until the patient pays for the costs to reproduce the record.

    Exceptions to the above rule: 1. If a patient is sent to you by an insurance company or is an employee scheduled for an examination, the above does not apply. In order to obtain a copy of the records or reports from these types of examinations, the patient must contact his/her employer or the insurance company that sent the patient to you for the examination to receive a copy; 2. You may not charge for release of the record if you have terminated the patient from your practice;  3.  You may not charge for the record if you are closing your office for three months or more, and 4.  You may not charge for the record if a physician member of your practice relocates and the patient chooses to move to that physician’s new practice.

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  10. How long must a doctor keep copies of a patient's medical records?
    A doctor has to keep a patient's medical records for seven years. After that, the physician can destroy them. There is no requirement in the law that requires the physician to notify a patient prior to destroying the records. A doctor may wish to contact his/her malpractice carrier to determine if the carrier has a different requirement and in particular, if there are different requirements for pediatric patients.

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  11. Can a doctor discharge a patient from his/her practice?
    As long as the patient is not being treated under circumstances where his/her life or health may be threatened or compromised unless timely medical care is given, the doctor may terminate the relationship. The doctor must notify the patient, in writing, that he/she will no longer provide care after a date certain, which cannot be less than thirty days prior to the termination date. This letter must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The doctor, however, is obligated to provide all necessary emergency care and services, including providing necessary prescriptions, until the date of termination. If requested by the patient, the doctor must make reasonable efforts to assist the patient in finding another provider and provide for the orderly transfer of the medical records. You may not charge for the copying and/or transfer of the patient's medical records.

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  12. Is a doctor required to provide his/her patients with a chaperone during an examination?
    In an office setting, a doctor is required to provide notice to the patient that he/she has a right to a chaperone present whenever a breast and pelvic examination of females or during genitalia and rectal examinations of both male and females. If the proposed chaperone is not acceptable to the patient, the patient may refuse and the doctor is not obligated to provide further care. Also, if the doctor desires to have a chaperone present and the patient refuses, the doctor is not obligated to provide further treatment. If care is not provided, the doctor, however, must discuss with the patient the risks of not receiving further care.

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  13. How can I obtain a verification of my license to another state?
    Mail your written request to:
    NJ Board of Medical Examiners
    Document Management Unit
    PO Box 183
    Trenton, NJ 08625
    Include a $50.00 certified check or money order payable to State of NJ, BME. Include your full name and license number with the name and address of the agency to which you request the verification be sent.

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  14. How does a doctor obtain a duplicate of his/her license registration certificate?
    You can send in a request in writing to:
    P.O. Box 183
    140 E. Front Street
    Trenton, New Jersey 08625
    In your letter, please include you license number and state that you are requesting a duplicate registration certificate. You also must send in a fee in the amount of $50.00 and your check/certified money order should be made payable to the "New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners".

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  15. I recently got married and would like to change my name with the Board and on my license certificate.
    Name changes must be reported to the Board in writing. Please send a copy of the legal document to:

    P.O. Box 183
    140 E. Front Street
    Trenton, New Jersey 08625

    On the copy, please print your license number, your former name and your married name. You must include the fee of $50.00 (certified check/ money order) made payable to the "New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners". You will be mailed a license certificate with your new name.

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  16. Must physicians retired from practice comply with CME requirements?
    The need to comply with the CME requirements is determined by the kind of New Jersey license that you hold  not by the status of your practice or retirement situation.

    Physicians who hold licenses that are no fee are exempt from the CME requirement.  These licenses are titled Retired and Inactive.  Holders of these licenses can not practice medicine or order prescriptions in New Jersey.   If doctors holding these licenses wish to regain active license status in New Jersey they will have to demonstrate compliance with the CME required during their period of inactivity.  Retired physicians who maintain a reduced fee active license (not a retired license) retain the ability to order prescriptions and to practice and are required to comply with the CME requirement.

    The retired active, reduced fee license is available to doctors 65 years or older allows the practice of medicine and prescription writing without HMO or hospital affiliation.   Holders of  retired-active, reduced fee  licenses are required to comply with CME requirements whether or not they are actively practicing in the State. 

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  17. Can doctors get extensions or waivers of the CME requirement?
    A physician may request an Extension or Waiver of the CME requirement for the current cycle only.  Extensions/waivers are granted in individual cases after objective material submitted confidentially to the Board substantiates a hardship situation, such as severe illness, disability or military service.  The request for extension or waiver must be made to the Board in writing, certified mail, return receipt requested at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the biennial renewal period.  You will be notified by mail of the results of your extension/waiver request within 60 days of receipt of the request and supporting material.   The extension or waiver applies to one cycle only and re-application is required to receive extension or waiver for a subsequent biennial cycle.

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  18. Is there an exception to CME requirements for Initial licensees who are recent graduates of accredited  medical education training programs?
    Physicians and Podiatrists receiving their Initial License in New Jersey who have completed  accredited graduate medical education programs within 12 months prior to licensure are exempt from the CME requirement for the Initial biennial period of licensure only.   Examples of applicable dates/ situations follows.
    Initial  NJ  Licensees  MD and  DO

    Accredited program completion date

    Initial NJ license cycle exempt from CME requirements

    1st renewal cycle subject to CME requirements

    Certification of compliance with CME requirements necessary on renewal application.

    7/2/2004 thru 7/1/2006

    7/1/2005-6/30/2007

    7/1/2007-6/30/2009

    Spring 2009

    7/2/2006 thru 7/1/2008

    7/1/2007-6/30/2009

    7/1/2009-6/30/2011

    Spring 2011

    7/2/2008 thru 7/1/2010

    7/1/2009-6/30/2011

    7/1/2011-6/30/2013

    Spring 2013

    Initial  NJ  Licensees  DPM

    Accredited program completion date

    Initial NJ license cycle exempt from CME requirements

    1st renewal cycle subject to CME requirements

    Certification of compliance with CME requirements necessary on renewal application.

    11/2/2004 thru 11/1/2006

    11/1/2005-10/31/2007

    11/1/2007-10/31/2009

    Fall  2009

    11/2/2006 thru 11/1/2008

    11/1/2007-10/31/2009

    11/1/2009-10/31/2011

    Fall  2011

    11/2/2008 thru 11/1/2010

    11/1/2009-10/31/2011

    11/1/2011-10/31/2013

    Fall  2013

    Physicians and Podiatrists participating in accredited graduate medical education programs who are renewing their license, i.e. they are beyond their initial licensure cycle, do not have an exemption.  These doctors are credited CME for their full time participation in the training program in accordance with policies of the AMA-PRA, AOA and COPME.  

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  19. Does the Board lessen the CME requirement if a license has not been active for the entire two year license cycle?
    CME hour requirements are not prorated.  If a licensee must comply with the CME requirement for biennial registration the total hourly requirements apply. 

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  20. What about the new Cultural Competency Education requirement?
    Detailed information and guidance regarding the Cultural Competency Regulation can be found in BME Alerts.

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  21. Where may I find the NJ Universal Credentialing Form or the NJ Physician Recredentialing Application Form?
    You may find the forms on the Department of Banking and Insurance website here: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/mccred.htm

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