Many licenses granted by the state of California are given with a finite time period. This finite time period permits the licensing agency the opportunity to review each licensee’s fitness to practice under a license… as well as collect a small fee for having done so.
The license to practice medicine in California is no different. It must be renewed every two years. The renewal fee for a Physician’s and Surgeon’s license is $820.00, which includes $37.00 for the mandatory fees of Physician Loan Repayment Program ($25.00) and Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System / Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (CURES/PDMP) ($12.00). A physician who holds a military, retired, voluntary service or disabled status license is exempt from paying the $820.00 renewal fee. However, every physician is still required to pay the $25.00 and $12.00 mandatory fees at time of renewal.
In addition to paying the fees, the licensee must complete the following forms as the “license renewal application”:
- Certification that you have met the continuing medical education (CME) requirements for renewal or that you meet the conditions that would exempt you from all or part of the requirements
- Certification that you have disclosed on the renewal form the names of health-related facilities in which you or your family have a financial interest
- Response to the License Discipline/Conviction Question
- Completion of the Physician Survey
The license expires at midnight on the expiration date, which is the last day of the physician’s birth month. There is no grace period; if a license has not been renewed within 30 days following the expiration date, the Licensing Program will notify the physician by certified mail. The date a license expires, the status is changed to “delinquent” if the renewal application and fees due are not received.
If the mandatory fees are not received prior to the expiration date, the license will be placed in a delinquent status and a pocket license will not be issued.
It is illegal to practice medicine with an expired or delinquent license. Practicing medicine without a valid license may lead to disciplinary action against a physician, in addition to being grounds for civil or even criminal action.
The failure to timely renew the license has financial consequences as well. If a license is renewed more than 90 days following the expiration date, the licensee is required to pay a penalty fee equal to 50% of the renewal plus a delinquency fee equal to 10% of the renewal fee, in addition to the renewal fee. The renewal of an expired license is retroactive to the expiration date if it is renewed within six months of the expiration date.
In the event you attempt to cure a long-delinquent-license, you are encouraged to call the Medical Board of California. The Board will need to determine the correct renewal, delinquent, and penalty fees.
After a license has been in “delinquent” status for five years, the license is automatically canceled. A canceled license may not be reactivated by simply paying delinquent fees and penalties. Rather, the physician must apply for a new license and meet the current licensure requirements. This is in accordance with Section 2428 of the California Business and Professions Code.