Frequently Asked Questions - Retired Status

Who is eligible for retired status?

Any physician can apply for retired status.

The holder of a retired license may not engage in the practice of medicine in California.

Physicians who hold a retired license will be exempt from the continuing medical education requirements.

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Can I act as a medical director or perform utilization reviews with a retired license?

No. Utilization review decisions constitute the "practice of medicine." A medical director/physician who reviews and makes medical necessity determinations is considered to be "practicing medicine" as the medical director's decision directly impacts the treatment the patient will receive.

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Can I perform disability evaluations or provide an opinion or recommendation about a worker's compensation claim if it does not involve direct patient contact?

No. Making a decision regarding the medical necessity or appropriateness, for an individual patient, of any treatment or other medical service, constitutes the "practice of medicine." Despite the fact that the physician does not see or examine the patient, a decision regarding the patient's medical condition and possible need for further treatment is being made and is considered to be the "practice" of medicine and an active license is required.

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If I have a retired license, can I still write prescriptions?

No. A physician with a retired license cannot write prescriptions or practice medicine in California.

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How do I apply for a retired status?

A "Retired Physician Application for Exemption from Payment of Renewal Fee No Practice Allowed" must be completed and mailed to the Medical Board of California.

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Is there a fee to apply for retired status?

If you are renewing at the same time as you apply for retired status, you must submit the $25.00 mandatory fee for the Physician Loan Repayment Program and the $12.00 mandatory fee for the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System / Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (CURES/PDMP) with the application.

If the license is current, no fee is required.

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What if my license is delinquent?

If the medical license is delinquent, a payment of all accrued renewal fees, delinquent fee, the $25.00 and $12.00 mandatory fees, and penalty fee must be submitted with the application. Please contact the Board at (800) 633-2322 or (916) 263-2382 for information on delinquent fees due.

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Do I still need to complete my CME credits while on retired status?

No. The holder of a retired license is exempt from the continuing medical education requirements.

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How does a physician return to active status?

The physician must first complete the "Application to Restore License to Full, Active Status from Inactive, Disabled or Fee Exempt Status or from Disabled Status to Active Status with Limitations on Practice", and pay the full renewal fee.

The physician must also document completion of 50 hours of continuing medical education (CME) within the past two years. The documentation of these hours must be submitted with the application. Acceptable documents are letters or certificates of attendance that show completion of CME courses, with the name of the provider, the name and date of the course, the number of approved CME hours completed, and your name as the participant. If you do not have the documentation, you must contact the provider of the CME courses you have participated in and request verification.

Please note all licenses expire at midnight on the last day of the birth month of the licensee during the second year of a two-year term. A physician who chooses to restore a license to active status in the middle of a renewal cycle, (depending upon date of birth), may have a renewal period of fewer than 24 months. There are no provisions in California law for prorating licensing fees.

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Can I own shares in a medical corporation with a retired license?

No. The laws governing shareholders require that a physician must be duly licensed to render professional services and, under Business & Professions Code section 2439, the holder of a retired license is not permitted to render professional services.

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Can I own a medical clinic with a retired license?

No. A physician not authorized to engage in the practice of medicine may not own a business that is engaged in the practice of medicine.

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Can I be a "partner" in a professional practice with a retired license?

No. Physician partnerships are permitted, under Business & Professions Code section 2416, for the purpose of allowing physicians to "conduct their professional practice." The holder of a retired license is prohibited from conducting a professional practice, which would preclude him or her from being a partner in a professional practice.

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