BERKS COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY
Founded 1824 Incorporated 1904
As amended through 2008
CHAPTER I – NAME
The name and title of this Society is Berks County Medical Society.
CHAPTER II PURPOSES AND POWERS
SECTION 1. Purposes. The purposes of this Society shall be to promote and protect the art and science of the practice of medicine for physicians of Berks County.
SECTION 2. Powers. This Society shall have all of the powers usual and incident to organizations of like character which are permitted by the laws and customs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and necessary or appropriate to the fulfillment of its purposes.
CHAPTER III -MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. Definition. As used in these bylaws except as otherwise herein expressly qualified, the term “Physician” means a person who has received formal and recognized training in the art and science of medicine and is qualified to acquire an unlimited license to practice medicine and surgery in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The term “Director” refers to a member who has been elected to the Executive Council of the Society.
SECTION 2. Eligibility. Any person seeking membership shall be of good moral character and professional standing.
SECTION 3. Membership Categories.
A. Active Member. 1) Persons who hold the degree of Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy or the equivalent from a recognized accredited medical school, and who hold or are eligible to hold an unrestricted license to practice medicine and surgery in Pennsylvania are eligible for Active membership in this Society. Upon admission to membership, such members shall have the right to vote and hold office in this Society; 2) residents serving in training programs approved by this Society are eligible for Active membership in this Society. Upon admission to membership, such members shall have the right to vote and hold office in this Society.
B. Associate Member. An associate member shall be a physician who is 70 years of age or over (in the year of application) and has been an active member of this Society, or an active member of a constituent association of the American Medical Association for a continuous term of 30 years. An associate member will be required to pay 10% of annual assessment and shall not be required to maintain a license.
C. Affiliate Member. Any person not engaged in active practice within the jurisdiction of this Society may be an affiliate member of this Society and remain as such providing the individual is one of the following: (1) a physician who is a member of a national medical society of a foreign country; (2) an American physician who is engaged in missionary or philanthropic labors who may or may not have an unlimited license to practice medicine and surgery in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (3) a full-time teacher of medicine or the arts and sciences allied to medicine and surgery in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (4) a physician who is engaged in research or administrative medicine in Pennsylvania who does not have an unlimited license to practice medicine and surgery in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (5) a physician who is retired from active practice; (6) a physician who has moved out of Pennsylvania and concurrently maintains active membership in the state medical society and the component society of the state society in the new state of residence; (7) an Administrator or Office Manager of a physician’s practice; or (8) a county society executive, who may or may not be a physician. An affiliate member is not entitled to the benefits of the Medical Benevolence Fund or any similar fund of this Society. Membership in the affiliate category does not count toward accumulation of years for eligibility for Senior or Associate category with the exception of the physician who is engaged in missionary or philanthropic labors. An out-of-state affiliate member is not eligible to participate in insurance programs endorsed by the Pennsylvania Medical Society. An affiliate member may not vote, hold office, or serve as a member of any council, commission, or committee.
D. Honorary Member. A physician may be elected to this category by a three-fourths vote at any meeting of this Society provided that notice of the proposed vote is sent to every member of the Society prior to the meeting. The individual may not have an unlimited license to practice medicine and surgery in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The honorary member is not required to pay any annual assessment. An honorary member is not entitled to any of the rights and privileges of membership.
SECTION 4. Rights and Privileges of Members, Including Voting Rights. All members of this Society shall have all the rights and privileges of membership, except as otherwise provided in these bylaws. All members of this Society, and thereby members of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, in good standing shall have such rights and privileges as members thereof as may be granted to them from time to time under the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. Members who are delinquent, as provided in SECTION 2 of Chapter IV, or under suspension shall not be eligible to vote, hold office, or take part in any scientific or business proceeding of the Society. Provided a member has full membership or proper membership in one county medical society in Pennsylvania, he may be eligible to hold affiliate membership in any other county medical society in the state.
SECTION 5. Continuing Medical Education Requirement. An active or associate member of this Society, who is not a resident, must qualify for the American Medical Association’s Physician’s Recognition Award or its equivalent and must continue to qualify for such award in order to remain a member in good standing of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. The Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Medical Society shall have the power to waive such requirements, in keeping with approved procedures, for members requesting waivers.
SECTION 6. Applications for Membership. A candidate for membership other than honorary shall make application in writing upon forms provided or approved by the Society. Applications shall be reviewed pursuant to guidelines of the Society to determine whether the applicant meets the qualifications for membership. New applications are forwarded to Pennsylvania Medical Society for verification of eligibility. They in turn will review AMA profile prior to clearing physician for membership. PMS will notify BCMS of the status of the candidate. If our county has no objections, the applicant will be accepted for membership. In case of a rejection, the reasons for rejection shall be set forth in writing. An applicant or any member of this Society dissatisfied with the decision may present the matter to the next regular meeting of the Executive Council.
SECTION 7. Appeals from Rejections. Any physician who has been refused membership in this Society, or has duly filed an application for membership which has neither been accepted nor rejected within six months after filing thereof, shall have such rights of appeal as may be provided by the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
SECTION 8. Applications by Transfer. A physician applying for membership as a transferee from any other county medical society shall submit an application as a new member and shall accompany his application with a transfer letter or card in lieu of any admission fee. The procedure for election to membership shall be the same as set forth in these bylaws. Annual dues shall be prorated making due allowance for dues previously paid by the transferred during the fiscal year.
SECTION 9. Transfer Letters. A member in good standing, who is free from all indebtedness to this Society and against whom no charges are pending, wishing to withdraw from membership shall be granted a transfer card or letter. This document shall state the date the member associated himself with this Society, the date of issuance thereof and a statement that he is in good standing and that his dues are paid to a date specified. In addition, if the member is going to another county in Pennsylvania, the letter shall contain a recommendation that the member be admitted to membership in the other county medical society without the delay attendant upon ordinary applications for membership. Such card or letter shall be signed by the appropriate officer or officers of this Society.
SECTION 10. Resignations. Resignations from membership must be submitted in writing to the Secretary.
SECTION 11. Suspension and Termination of Membership. Any member of this Society suspended from membership in the Pennsylvania Medical Society shall be automatically suspended from membership in this Society for a period corresponding to the State Society suspension. Any member of this Society, whose membership in the Pennsylvania Medical Society is terminated for any reason whatsoever, shall automatically cease to be a member of this Society upon the expiration of sixty days following the effective date of termination of membership in the State Society. The membership of a member in this Society shall be suspended on December 31 of any year if he is an Active or Associate member who has failed to qualify for the American Medical Association’s Physician’s Recognition Award, (unless otherwise exempted) provided the office of Executive Vice President of the State Society has given such member sixty days notice prior to December 31 that such suspension will be invoked against him unless such member shall submit sufficient supplemental records to fulfill such award requirements by December 31, and such suspension shall remain in force. A member suspended pursuant to the continuing medical education requirements shall be restored to full membership, all other requirements met, upon the expiration of the period of suspension provided he has qualified for a current AMA Physician’s Award Certificate. The membership of a member of this Society shall terminate in the case of Active or Associate members suspended pursuant to the continuing education requirements, when said member has not completed the continuing medical education requirement for the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award by the end of the one year period of suspension. Any Active or Associate member whose membership has been terminated by reason of failure to meet the requirements for the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award shall be reinstated to membership if, after meeting all the other requirements for reinstatement, he submits evidence that he has met the requirements for such award for a current period and that at least one-third of the hours required were obtained during the current calendar year.
CHAPTER IV – DUES AND EXPENSES
SECTION 1. Annual Dues. The annual dues for Active members shall be as set forth by the membership at the annual meeting for the ensuing year. This Society may set its annual dues in accordance with these bylaws. However, the dues categories and the percentages of the full annual dues to be paid by each category must be in accord with the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s categories and percentages. The full annual dues are to be paid by all members of this Society except that: a) residents who are Active members shall pay 10 percent of the full annual dues, except that postgraduate year 1residents in their first full calendar year of residency in programs accredited by the ACGME or the AOA, and the five months of residency prior to the first full calendar year shall pay no annual dues. The Pennsylvania Medical Society will reimburse to this Society 10 percent of this Society’s full annual dues for each Active member who is a postgraduate year 1 resident and who pays no annual dues; b) Active members unable to practice because of illness or disability shall pay no annual dues; c) Affiliate members shall pay 10 percent of the full annual dues, except that a county medical society executive shall pay no dues; d) Active members shall pay no dues for the period between the initial granting of a license to practice medicine or osteopathy in Pennsylvania and the end of the first full calendar year after the initial granting of the license, however, an Active member in first year of practice shall pay 25% of dues, in second year of practice shall pay 50% of dues, and third year of practice shall pay 75% of dues; e) Honorary members shall pay no annual dues; f) new members joining after November 1 of the assessment year shall pay no dues, provided that the annual dues for the relevant membership category is paid for the following year; g) new members joining after July 1 of the assessment year, but before November 1, shall pay 50 percent of the annual dues for the physicians specific membership category; h) Associate members shall pay 10% of annual dues; i) reduced-income category is available for physicians earning less than $60,000 and dues will be set on a case-by-case basis, and j) Administrator/Office Manager classification shall pay dues in compliance with Pennsylvania Medical Society’s dues structure. Notwithstanding the forgoing, the Executive Council shall have the power at any time to excuse the payment of dues, or any part thereof, of any member of this Society under any circumstances in which it deems such action is justified.
SECTION 2. Delinquent Dues. A member whose annual dues are not paid prior to March 1 shall be delinquent and shall not be in good standing in this Society. No delinquent member shall be entitled to exercise any of the rights and privileges of membership in this Society during the period of his delinquency. The Secretary shall see that a notice is sent to each delinquent member within fifteen days after March 1, stating the amount then due, the fact that the member is delinquent and that unless such amount is paid within thirty days after the date thereof that the membership of such member will be terminated.
SECTION 3. Funds and Disbursements. All funds of the Society shall be deposited in a depository designated by the Executive Council. Disbursements of the funds of the Society shall be made in such manner and upon such authority as shall be prescribed by resolution or resolutions of the Executive Council.
SECTION 4. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of this Society shall be January 1 and end on December 31.
SECTION 5. Required Signatures for Checks. All checks issued by this Society shall have the signature of two of the following officers: the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and the Executive Director.
CHAPTER V -MEETINGS
SECTION 1. Annual Meetings. There shall be an annual meeting of this Society held at a time selected by the Executive Council.
SECTION 2. Special Meetings. Special meetings of this Society may be held at any time upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Executive Council.
SECTION 3. Time, Place, and Notice. The meetings of this Society shall be held at such time and place as shall be designated by the Executive Committee, and the Secretary shall notify the membership of such meetings at least ten days in advance thereof.
SECTION 4. Procedure. Any business may be transacted at the Annual and regular meetings of the Society, but no business shall be transacted at any special meeting of the Society except as may be stated in the notice of the meeting. The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (Sturgis) shall govern the Order of Business and the proceedings at all meetings of this Society unless otherwise provided in these bylaws.
SECTION 5. Quorum. A quorum for the transaction of business at any Annual or Special meeting of this Society shall consist of at least 5% of the Active, Associate, and Resident members.
CHAPTER VI – NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
SECTION 1. Nominating Committee and Nominations. The Nominating Committee shall be comprised of the Executive Council, exclusive of the following incumbent Executive officers: President, President-Elect, Chair of the Executive Council, the Secretary and the Treasurer, and shall meet prior to the September Executive Council Meeting. The Immediate Past President shall act as the Chair of this Committee. Five members of this Committee will comprise a quorum. It shall be the duty of the Nominating Committee to nominate one or more candidates for each of the offices to be filled at the Annual Meeting and to report its nominations to the Executive Council and to cause its report to be distributed to the entire membership of the Society promptly thereafter. Additional nominations may be made from the floor at the Annual Meeting.
SECTION 2. Elections. The election of the officers of the Society, such number of delegates and alternate delegates to the Pennsylvania Medical Society as to which this Society may be then entitled, and such members of the Executive Council as are required to fill vacancies therein shall take place at the Annual Meeting. A majority vote of all Active and Associate members present and voting shall be necessary to elect.
CHAPTER VII – OFFICERS AND DUTIES
SECTION 1. Officers. The elected officers of this Society shall consist of a President, President-Elect, Chair of the Executive Council, Secretary, and Treasurer.
SECTION 2. Term of Office. The term of office of all officers of this Society shall be for a period of one year and until their successors are elected and assume office unless provided otherwise by these bylaws. Each such regular term shall commence on January 1 and end on December 31.
SECTION 3. President. The President shall preside at the meetings of the Society and perform such other duties as custom and parliamentary usage may require or as may be prescribed by these bylaws. He shall make a written report on his term as President, which shall be filed with the Secretary of the Society and shall be delivered in person at the Annual Meeting. He shall appoint, and shall be an ex officio member without the right to vote of all Committees except as otherwise provided in these bylaws. The President shall serve a one-year term.
SECTION 4. President-Elect. The President-Elect should attend all meetings of the Executive Council and should assist the President in the performance of his duties. Upon completion of his term as President-Elect he shall automatically succeed to the office of President. The President-Elect shall serve a one-year term.
SECTION 5. Successor to the President and President-Elect. If the office of President should become vacant, the President-Elect shall immediately become President and shall serve for the remainder of the term of his immediate predecessor. If a President-Elect succeeds to the presidency, he shall serve as President until the second Annual meeting of this Society following his accession as President-Elect. If the office of President-Elect becomes vacant the Executive Council shall designate from among the Executive Council one who shall act as President-Elect, until the next Annual Meeting of this Society, at which time the voting members shall elect an eligible person as President-Elect. If the offices of President and President-Elect should become vacant, the Executive Council shall designate from among the Executive Council one who shall act as President, one who shall act as President-Elect, each of whom shall so act until the next Annual Meeting of this Society, at which time the voting members shall elect an eligible person as President, an eligible person as President-Elect. Should the President, as determined by the Executive Council, be incapacitated or unable to perform the duties of his office, the President-Elect shall act in his stead.
SECTION 6. Chair of the Executive Council. A Chair of the Executive Council shall be elected by the Society to serve a three-year term and shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Council. He may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
SECTION 7. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall have custody of all funds and securities of this Society and shall render full and accurate reports at the regular meetings of the Executive Council and at such other times as may be directed by the Executive Council or the membership. He shall keep full and accurate accounts in books of account belonging to the Society. The Treasurer shall be elected at the Annual Meeting for a term of two years. He may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
SECTION 8. Secretary. The Secretary shall record the minutes of meetings of this Society and the Executive Council, and record them in separate minute books belonging to this Society. He shall receive and care for all records and papers belonging to the Society except as otherwise provided in these bylaws. He shall conduct the official correspondence of this Society, and send out all notices and perform all other duties prescribed by these bylaws or ordered by the Executive Council or the membership, and he shall perform all of the duties prescribed for secretaries of component societies in the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. The Secretary shall be elected at the Annual Meeting for a term of two years. He may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
SECTION 9. Vacancies in Office. Vacancies in any office, other than that of President, President-Elect occurring between Annual Meetings of this Society, shall be filled by the Executive Council, and the persons so elected to fill vacancies shall serve until the next ensuing January 1 and until their successors are elected and take office.
CHAPTER VIII – DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES TO THE PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL SOCIETY
SECTION 1. Number. This Society shall have such number of delegates and alternates to the Pennsylvania Medical Society as may be prescribed by the bylaws of said Society, who shall faithfully represent the members of this Society and the profession of this county in the House of Delegates of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and report thereon to this Society.
SECTION 2. Term of Office. The term of office of each delegate and alternate shall be for a period of three years and until his successor is elected and assumes office, except as otherwise herein provided. Each such regular term shall commence on January 1 and end on December 31. In the event that in any year the number of delegates and alternates to which the Society is entitled under the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society is greater than the number of delegates and alternates elected for that year at preceding Annual Meeting, the Executive Council shall elect for a regular term such number of additional delegates and alternates to which this Society may be entitled. In the event that in any year the number of delegates and alternates to which this Society is entitled is less than the number elected for that year at the preceding Annual Meeting, the Executive Council shall determine, by any means in its discretion, the delegates and alternates whose terms of office are to terminate, and the terms of office of such persons shall thereupon be terminated.
SECTION 3. Alternate Delegates. In the event that any delegate determines that he will be unable to attend a forthcoming meeting of the House of Delegates of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, he should promptly so advise the Secretary of this Society, who shall present the matter to the Executive Council. The Executive Council shall have the power to designate any one of the alternate delegates to substitute for such delegate at the forthcoming meeting of the House of Delegates, but if no such designation is made or can be made or if the alternate delegate so designated fails or is unable to attend the meeting of the House of Delegates, the alternate delegates attending the meeting shall be seated as determined by the Chairman of the delegation or in the absence of the Chairman, the Secretary, or in the absence of either, by the Credentials Committee.
CHAPTER IX – EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
SECTION 1. Duties. There shall be an Executive Council of the Society which shall have general supervision and management of the affairs and business of the Society and shall act for the Society in the intervals between meetings of the membership, except that it may not establish any policies or take any actions, inconsistent with prior actions of the membership of the Society. It shall have charge of the property and financial affairs of the Society and shall perform such other duties as are prescribed by law covering directors of corporations or as may be expressly delegated to it by the membership. It may have such committees as it deems necessary properly to conduct its business. It shall exercise general supervision over the conduct of all committees and over all appointive officers, agents and employees, from whom it may require reports at least annually. It shall designate from time to time the officer or officers to execute documents in the name and on behalf of the Society.
SECTION 2. Composition. The Executive Council shall consist of the following members: President, President-Elect, Chairman of the Executive Council, Secretary, Treasurer, Delegates and Alternates to the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Editor, Associate-Editor, and nine members at large. Eight members-at-large are appointed by the President to serve a two-year term. A resident physician shall also be appointed by the President to a one-year term as a member-at-large. In addition, the President of the Retired Physician Section, an Administrator/Office Manager Representative, and the President of the BCMS Alliance shall also serve on Executive Council; however, the Administrator/Office Manager Representative and President of the BCMS Alliance are non-voting members of the Executive Council.
SECTION 3. Election. The election shall take place at the Annual Meeting and a majority vote of Active and Associate members present and voting shall be necessary to elect.
SECTION 4. Meetings. A regular meeting shall be held on days and times fixed by the Executive Council at its initial meeting of the fiscal year. The quorum for a meeting of the Executive Council shall be not less than seven members.
SECTION 5. Vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the Executive Council, the remaining members of the Executive Council shall fill the vacancy, and any person selected shall fill out the unexpired term of the director whom he succeeds.
CHAPTER X – COMMITTEES
SECTION 1. Appointment and Tenure of Office of Chairs and Members. All appointments of chairmen and members of committees shall be made by the President except as otherwise provided in these bylaws. The term of office of all chairs and members of committees shall be for one year and shall commence on January 1, or as soon thereafter as appointed, and shall end on December 31.
SECTION 2. Sections. This Society shall have the following sections: Operations, Collegiality, Physician Advocacy, Patient Advocacy, Professionalism, and Education/Communication. Each Section shall regularly report to the Executive Council. The Sections shall be as follows:
A. Operational Section. This Section shall consist of the following committees:
- Administrative Committee. The President shall appoint this committee approved by the Executive Council and shall be composed of but not limited to all elected officers of the Medical Society, the Immediate Past President and all Section Leaders. The Committee, chaired by the President, shall oversee all administrative and financial matters of the Medical Society. The Administrative Committee fulfills the obligations of the Executive Council with full authority of the Executive Council during the months of July and August.
- Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall be composed, appointed, and have the functions as provided elsewhere in these bylaws.
- Finance Committee. The Finance Committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer and shall oversee the budget, Educational Trust, and all Personnel matters.
- Membership Committee. The Membership Committee shall be chaired by the President and will oversee the retention and recruitment of members.
- Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee shall consist of the Chair of Executive Council, the President, President Elect and the Treasurer and will oversee all personnel matters.
B. Collegiality Section. The Collegiality Section will be chaired by a member of the Administrative Committee appointed by the President and will oversee all social events. This committee will be co-chaired by the President of the Berks County Medical Society Alliance or her/his designee.
C. Advocacy Section. The Advocacy Section will be co-chaired by members of the Administrative Committee appointed by the President and will oversee all programs advocating for physicians and for patients. This shall include the Society’s interaction with the PA Medical Society, Access To Care, and other related activities.
D. Professionalism Section. The Professionalism Section will be chaired by a member of the Administrative Committee appointed by the President and will oversee the following committees:
- Grievance and Satisfaction Committee. The Grievance Committee’s purpose is to prevent, mediate or resolve misunderstandings, to clarify and adjust differences between physicians, and physicians and patients and to assist in maintaining high levels of professional deportment. The Committee shall report to the Executive Council any facts coming to its attention, which, in its opinion, warrant consideration of action by the Executive Council. If consideration of disciplinary action is warranted, referral to the Professional Review Committee, to the Pennsylvania Medical Society or the American Medical Society is indicated. Appeals of this committee’s decisions shall be made to the Professional Review Committee. Our Society follows the rules as published in the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Bylaws, Section XVIII.
The Committee will also endeavor to solicit comment regarding issues, events, etc.
- Professional Review Committee. The Professional Review Committee shall be composed, appointed and have the functions as provided elsewhere in these bylaws.
F. Education/ Communication Section. The Education/ Communication Section shall be chaired by a member of the Administrative Committee and will oversee services related to Physician education and communication. This section may include but not be limited to Health Talk, the Medical Record, BCMS Website and the Memorial Lecture/Residents’ Day.
SECTION 3: Special Committees
The Society may have such special committees as the membership may from time to time determine. Such committees are typically convened by either the President (or designee) or Chair of the Executive Council (or designee). Unless otherwise ordered by the membership, special committees shall consist of such number of members as the President shall determine.
CHAPTER XI – INDEMNIFICATION OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
No director or officer of the Berks County Medical Society shall be personally liable for monetary damages for any act that is performed as a director or officer or any failure to act on behalf of the Society, unless: (1) the director has breached or failed to perform this duties in good faith in the manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the Society, and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, skill and diligence, as a person with ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances; and (2) the breach or failure to perform was a result of self dealing, willful misconduct, or recklessness. The Society shall indemnify any director or officer of the Society for expenses incurred in the defense of claims made by the Society, whether brought by the Society itself or by a member on behalf of the Society, against a director or officer, provided that a court of lawful jurisdiction has not found the directors or officers action or failure to take action to constitute a willful misconduct or recklessness. The Berks County Medical Society shall also have the authority to advance funds to any director or officer for the defense of the claims set forth in the bylaw above, provided that the director or officer deliver to the Society a written document agreeing to return the advanced funds in full if it is found by a court of lawful jurisdiction that the directors or officers actions or failure to act constituted willful misconduct or recklessness.
CHAPTER XII – PRINCIPLES OF MEDICAL ETHICS
Each member of this Society, by accepting membership herein, shall be deemed to have subscribed to and pledged himself to observe the Principles of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association.
CHAPTER XIII – PROFESSIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
SECTION 1. Composition and Election. The Professional Review Committee shall consist of the last six past-presidents. The senior past-president shall be the Chair of the Professional Review Comittee. No member of the Professional Review Committee may serve simultaneously on the Grievance Committee or as a Trustee or Judicial Council Member of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. A quorum of the meeting of the Professional Review Committee shall be not less than three members present.
SECTION 2. Duties. The Professional Review Committee shall investigate charges of unprofessional conduct, violations of the Principles of Medical Ethics and of these bylaws, and other acts for which a member may be subject to discipline, when referred to it in writing by a member of this Society, the Grievance Committee, or a member of the general public. The Committee shall have the authority to summon any member to appear before it to give testimony on any question that is properly before the Committee for consideration. All questions of disputed elections conducted by the Society shall be referred to the Professional Review Comittee, whose decision thereon shall be final and binding.
CHAPTER XIV – DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS
SECTION 1. Automatic Suspension. Any member of this Society convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of the commission of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude, which term for the purposes of this chapter shall include any violation of the Federal tax laws, shall be automatically suspended for an indefinite period. When the Executive Director is informed of any such conviction of any member of this Society, he shall make due inquiry and if he finds that such member has, in fact, been so convicted, he shall order a certified copy of the conviction from the court and upon receipt thereof it shall be filed with the member’s records. The Professional Review Committee shall thereupon notify the member that he will stand suspended from membership for an indefinite period, beginning ninety days following his conviction by the court, or ten days following the notice if such notice is issued more than ninety days after the conviction, unless prior to the effective date of the suspension, the member certifies to the Executive Director that he has filed an appeal from the conviction. If the member so convicted has so appealed, the suspension from membership shall be stayed until such time as the appeal has been finally disposed of by a court of last resort, and such suspension shall be completely nullified in the event that the conviction of the member is reversed by such court. The failure of a member to comply promptly with the request of the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure to consent to a test for alcohol or drug abuse shall be grounds for automatic suspension. The Executive Director shall make due inquiry and if he finds that such member has, in fact, failed to comply with such a request, he shall thereupon notify the member that he will stand suspended from membership for an indefinite period, beginning ten days following such notice.
SECTION 2. Automatic Investigation. The loss or restriction of hospital privileges for disciplinary reasons shall automatically result in an investigation by the Professional Review Committee as specified by Section 6 of these bylaws.
SECTION 3. Reinstatement After Suspension. Any member indefinitely suspended from membership pursuant to the provisions of Sections 1 or 2 of this chapter may be reinstated to full membership after a period of six months from the effective date of the suspension. Applications for reinstatement may be submitted not earlier than four months after the effective date of the suspension, shall be in writing setting forth the reasons why the member believes he is entitled to reinstatement, and shall be filed with the Professional Review Committee. The Professional Review Committee, after due inquiry, shall hold a meeting to consider the application. The suspended member shall be reinstated upon a majority vote of the members of the Professional Review Committee present and voting at the meeting, provided that there is a quorum of at least four members present at the meeting. If the application for reinstatement is rejected by the committee, a new application for reinstatement shall not be submitted by the member for a period of six months following the rejection. In voting upon an application for reinstatement, the membership may approve reinstatement to become effective at a date subsequent to the meeting, but not later than one year from said meeting. Members suspended for a definite period of time shall be from said meeting. Members suspended for a definite period of time shall be automatically reinstated at the end of the period of suspension without further action by the Professional Review Committee or the membership unless at the date for reinstatement, charges are pending against the member before the Professional Review Committee, in which case the Committee shall so notify the Secretary and reinstatement shall be delayed until such new charges are disposed of.
SECTION 4. Other Disciplinary Action. Any member determined by the Professional Review Committee to have violated the Medical Practice Act or to have committed a breach of any of the provisions of these bylaws or of the Principles of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association shall be liable to censure, suspension or expulsion, and any member convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of the commission of a crime described in Section 1 of this Chapter XIV may, in lieu of the automatic indefinite suspension prescribed by said Section 1 may be expelled from membership in this Society.
SECTION 5. Complaint. All complaints, in order to be recognized by the Professional Review Committee shall be in writing and signed by the person making the complaint, or in the case of referrals by the Committee on Grievances, shall be signed by the Chair thereof. The complaint shall identify the member whose conduct is questioned and describe the particular conduct about which the complaint is made in such detail as to permit the accused to know fully the nature of the activity to which objection has been made. In general, the complaint shall, as clearly and concisely as possible, state what happened as well as where and when the complained of incident occurred. The complaint where possible shall identify the bylaws, rule, regulation, Section of Medical Practice Act or Principle of Medical Ethics said to have been violated. Such complaint shall be delivered, by mail or in person, to the Secretary of the Society, who shall deliver the complaint to the Chairman of the Professional Review Committee.
SECTION 6. Investigation. When the Professional Review Committee receives the complaint, it shall review the matter, conducting a preliminary investigation if deemed advisable, the purpose being to resolve the matter. If such preliminary investigation has convinced the Professional Review Committee that no formal action is necessary and that both the complainant and the accused are willing to accept the advice of the Professional Review Committee for reconciliation or resolution of the matter, it will terminate the matter at this juncture. The advice of the Professional Review Committee shall be reduced to writing and supplied both to the complainant and the accused over the signature of the Chairman or Secretary.
SECTION 7. Hearing. In the event that the matter cannot be resolved within the framework of Section 5 above, the Chairman of the Professional Review Committee shall cause a copy of the complaint to be delivered to the member accused, with a citation to the accused directing him to answer the complaint within 20 days. Following expiration of said 20-day period, regardless of whether or not an answer is received, the matter shall be scheduled for a hearing before the Professional Review Committee at the earliest practical date. At such hearing both the complainant and the accused shall be given ample opportunity to appear in person and to present all testimony or evidence which may be pertinent to the case. The accused must be accorded a fair and impartial hearing, be confronted by the complainant and other witnesses and present any matter pertinent to his defense. The Professional Review Committee shall not be bound by rules of evidence used in courts and may receive such oral or written evidence as in its judgment will best and most fairly present the relevant facts. It is intended that these hearings will be conducted without benefit of legal counsel for either party or the committee. If either party insists on the presence of legal counsel, the committee may want to consider referring the matter to the PA Medical Society for investigation. The Chairman shall preside and he may render such rulings as in his judgment are necessary to insure an orderly and fair hearing. In the absence of the Chairman, the Secretary of the Professional Review Committee shall preside.
SECTION 8. Records. The Professional Review Committee may, at the expense of the Society, employ a competent shorthand reporter to record and transcribe into typewriting testimony given on behalf of the complainant and the accused and all rulings made thereon. The original charges, the answer, if any be filed, copies of all notices of hearings, the typed transcript, if any, of the testimony, the documentary evidence introduced at the hearing and the written decision of the Professional Review Committee shall constitute the record of the entire proceedings. The Secretary of the Professional Review Committee shall, upon receipt from the complainant or the accused or a sum sufficient to defray the cost thereof, cause a copy or copies of such records to be reproduced, certified and furnished to the complainant or the accused, as the case may be.
SECTION 9. Decision. The Professional Review Committee shall, after the complainant and the accused have been given full opportunity to be heard, conclude the hearing and shall render its decision in writing not more than thirty days thereafter.
SECTION 10. Voting. The Professional Review Committee by an affirmative vote of no less than four eligible members present and voting shall have authority to dismiss the charges brought against the accused member or to acquit, reprimand, censure, suspend or expel the accused member as the facts may in its opinion justify. Any member of the Professional Review Committee who is for any valid reason unable to be impartial shall disqualify himself from participation in that particular case.
SECTION 11. Penalties. The Professional Review Committee may: 1) Dismiss the charges against the accused giving its reasons for so doing; 2) Find the accused not guilty; 3) Reprimand the accused; 4) Censure the accused; 5) Suspend the accused for any period not to exceed one year; 6) Expel the accused. The word “reprimand” means an admonishment to the accused to change his conduct in order that he will not bring unfavorable criticism upon his profession or himself. The word “censure” means an official expression of disapprobation. The word “suspend” means to cause a temporary loss of all rights and privileges of membership which are automatically restored with the expiration of the term of suspension. Said suspension shall not be deemed to affect the continuity of membership of said member for purposes of his becoming other than an active member. Dues are payable during a suspension. The word “expel” means to cause an involuntary termination of membership. A member expelled may reapply for membership after one year from the date his expulsion becomes effective, on the same terms and on like conditions for original applicants.
SECTION 12. Appeals. A member aggrieved by an action of the membership of this Society in any disciplinary case shall have such rights of appeal as are granted by the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. This Society if aggrieved by the decision of another component society of the Pennsylvania Medical Society shall have the right of appeal as proscribed by the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. The Pennsylvania Medical Society may receive cases for original jurisdiction when requested to do so by the Professional Review Committee, or by the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
SECTION 13. Effective Date. The effective date of any disciplinary action imposed by this Society shall be delayed for such period of time, if any, as may be prescribed in the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
CHAPTER XV -SEAL
The Executive Council shall have the authority to adopt a seal for this Society, and when so adopted, it shall be the official seal of the Society.
CHAPTER XVI – AMENDMENTS
These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting by a two-thirds vote thereto, provided that such an amendment has been reviewed by the Bylaws Committee, approved by the Executive Council, published in the Medical Record, and acted upon at the next Annual Meeting. No amendment to these bylaws shall be valid or effective unless it is in accord with the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. A copy of all amendments hereto shall be filed with the Executive Vice President of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.