Information for Students
Doctors are licensed on a state-by-state basis by state government medical boards. These are state agencies, not entities of the profession. Requirements vary state to state. Check the state licensing agency where you may want to practice for licensure requirements. California Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) licensing information, requirements, and application forms are available online at www.pmbc.ca.gov.
The Podiatric Medical Board of California (PMBC): Comprised of four DPMs and one layperson appointed by Governor, two laypeople by Legislature. The board members are policy makers in their governance role and form the jury for enforcement cases under the State Administrative Procedure Act (APA). All questions should be directed to PMBC staff at 916-263.2647. Never talk to the board members about enforcement. Public board meetings are held quarterly each year.
PMBC Mission: To protect and educate consumers of California through licensing, enforcement, and regulation of Doctors of Podiatric Medicine.
Specific charges in law: (1) set standards for and approve colleges, residency programs, (2) license DPMs, and (3) restrict/revoke licenses as indicated to uphold the State Medical Practice Act.
Staff and Funding: Staff includes an Executive Officer and four civil servants--licensing coordinator, enforcement coordinator, administrative analyst, and office manager. We use Medical Board staff for working individual complaints and investigations, Departmental administrative support services, deputy attorneys general (DAGs) for prosecuting attorneys, and the state’s cadre of independent Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) for disciplinary hearings. PMBC funding is almost 100% from licensing fees. Income is deposited into our special PMBC fund from which the Legislature appropriates our $1-million budget annually.
Licensing: Application package for: (1) DPM Resident's License for residency training; and after passage of the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME) Part III (PMLexis) exam, completion of at least two years in a PMBC-approved residency program and meeting other licensure requirements, (2) DPM Permanent License. Senior students should submit application as soon as they have been matched with a residency in California. Packets are available from PMBC upon request or online on the Board's website. PMBC will issue Resident’s Licenses only to those who have passed the APMLE Parts I and II of the National Boards, have graduated from approved colleges, obtained a criminal background clearance, and are accepted into PMBC-approved residencies. You must possess a DPM Resident’s License prior to any participation in a postgraduate podiatric residency training program.
Residencies: California law requires completion of two years in a PMBC-approved program for permanent licensure. Training license still required for 3rd and 4th year residents, even if they have full DPM license because: Practice under a DPM license is restricted to the scope of podiatric medicine. With a "Resident's License", a resident may participate in training rotations beyond the scope of podiatric medicine under appropriate supervision for a given one-year period in a specific program. PMBC-sponsored legislation extended the maximum training license period from two to four years, but residents must still obtain regular license within three years from when they begin postgraduate training.
APMLE/(PMLexis) Exams: PMBC requires passage of all parts of the AMPLE exams including Part III (PMLexis) for a permanent license to practice podiatric medicine. APMLE Part III is offered every June and December in testing centers throughout California.
Scope of Practice: In California as most others states, this is the independent practice of medicine on the foot and ankle. DPMs may perform partial amputations of the foot as far as proximal with the Chopart's joint. They order and administer anesthesia and sedatives, as indicated. Administration of general anesthesia, however, may only be performed by an anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist.
Renewal Requirements: $912 every two years. Self-certification under penalty of perjury for: (1) 50 hours of approved CME, and (2) compliance with one of seven pathways to demonstrate continuing competence. APMLE Part III and/or residency completion cover you for continuing competence for the first 10 years. Health facility privileges or board certification status will cover you after that. Residency covers CME requirement for the first renewal only.
Unlicensed Practice: Training/practicing without a license is a criminal misdemeanor. Get licensed, not busted.
Administrative Discipline Process: Complaints → Investigation → Referral to Attorney General → Accusation (public document) → Public hearing before an ALJ → Proposed decision or stipulated agreement sent to the seven PMBC Board members for adoption or amendment. Quality-of-care cases are reviewed by PMBC-approved DPMs working as consultants and experts. If they find violations and the Medical Board investigator recommends referral to the AG for preparation of an Accusation, it goes. PMBC uses the system, i.e., follows standard operating procedures. Doctors are prosecuted for breaking the law, and for no other reason.
Unprofessional Conduct: The Medical Board and PMBC have authority over what the Medical Practice Act defines as "unprofessional conduct." This includes but is not limited to: repeated acts of simple negligence (multiple departures from the standard of care), gross negligence (one or more extreme departures), incompetence, dishonesty, fraud, conviction of a crime, unlawful drug use or prescribing, and sexual misconduct with patients. Legislature has not given the Medical Board jurisdiction over rudeness, fees, billing disputes, greed, and bad moral character.
Typical Disciplinary Terms: Revocation stayed, 5-years probation, 3-month suspension from practice, monitoring by PMBC Medical Consultant and Medical Board Probation Officer, extra CMEs, retake state oral exam, cost recovery. "PACE" program (physician assessment and clinical education) at UC San Diego School of Medicine is a recent addition to PMBC probationary terms.
Interstate Data Banks: PMBC reports discipline to the Federation of Podiatric Medical Boards bank as well as the National Practitioner Data Bank run by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS).