RD443 - Biennial Report Department of Health Professions for the Fiscal Years July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 and July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016

Executive Summary:
*This report was replaced in its entirety by the Department of Health Professions on January 23, 2017.

The core mission of the Department of Health Professions is simple – to ensure safe and competent patient care by licensing health professionals, enforcing standards of practice, and providing information to healthcare practitioners and the public. However, the actual work of the Department is far from simple.

The Department of Health Professions consists of 13 licensing boards that regulate 73 separate professions, 648 educational programs, as well as pharmacy, veterinary, funeral, and dental facilities. We issue over 393,000 licenses, investigate complaints against licensees and inspect pharmacies, funeral homes, dental facilities and veterinary establishments. Our Boards and Advisory Boards rely on 197 gubernatorial appointees to adjudicate disciplinary and licensure hearings, set policy, recommend law, and make regulations. In 2014-16, we received over 11,600 complaints against licensees resulting in 11,500 investigations, disciplinary action against more than 6,800 health professionals, and suspension or revocation of 587 licensees.

All board functions are funded through licensing fees, which are among the lowest in the nation. No general fund revenue is used to support the Department.

In addition to our licensing boards the Department is home to the Board of Health Professions, the Healthcare Workforce Data Center, the Prescription Monitoring Program, and the Health Practitioners’ Monitoring Program. The Board of Health Professions advises the Agency Director, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, the Governor, and the General Assembly on matters relating to the regulation of healthcare providers. The Healthcare Workforce Data Center conducts surveys of selected professions providing the Commonwealth with valuable supply-side data to help meet the growing healthcare needs of Virginians. The Prescription Monitoring Program operates a 24/7 database of prescriptions, a resource for physicians and other prescribers to safely care for patients and a key tool to prevent misuse or diversion of prescription medications. The Health Practitioners’ Monitoring Program monitors practitioners in recovery to ensure a safe return to practice as an alternative to disciplinary action.

The Department of Health Professions continues to collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders on a variety of important healthcare issues, such as telemedicine and interstate licensing compacts. Our Boards, along with the Prescription Monitoring Program, have been integral to Virginia’s efforts to combat the crisis in opioid addition.

We hope this report will give you valuable insight into the important role that our Boards play in Virginia’s healthcare system, as we strive to make sure that regulation keeps pace with the evolving healthcare landscape.

David E. Brown, D.C.