90-14.5. Use of hearing committee and depositions; appointment of hearing officers.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (a1) of this section, the Board, in its discretion, may designate in writing three or more hearing officers to conduct hearings as a hearing committee to take evidence. A majority of hearing officers participating in a hearing committee shall be licensees of the Board. The Board shall make a reasonable effort to include on the panel at least one physician licensed in the same or similar specialty as the licensee against whom the complaint has been filed. If a current or retired judge as described in G.S. 90-1.1(2) who is not a current or past Board member participates as a hearing officer, the Board may elect not to retain independent counsel for the hearing committee.

(a1) The Board may use an administrative law judge consistent with Article 3A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes in lieu of a hearing committee so long as the Board has not alleged that the licensee failed to meet an applicable standard of medical care.

(b) Evidence and testimony may be presented at hearings before the Board or a hearing committee in the form of depositions before any person authorized to administer oaths in accordance with the procedure for the taking of depositions in civil actions in the superior court.

(c) The hearing committee shall submit a recommended decision that contains findings of fact and conclusions of law to the Board. Before the Board makes a final decision, it shall give each party an opportunity to file written exceptions to the recommended decision made by the hearing committee and to present oral arguments to the Board. A quorum of the Board will issue a final decision. No member of the Board who served as a member of the hearing committee described in subsection (a) of this section may participate as a member of the quorum of the Board that issues a final agency decision.

(d) Hearing officers are entitled to receive per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses as authorized by the Board. The per diem compensation shall not exceed the amount allowed by G.S. 90-13.3. (1953, c. 1248, s. 3; 2006-144, s. 5; 2007-346, s. 18; 2009-558, s. 3.)