Nepali Doctors Facing USMLE Score Invalidation Receive Temporary Relief in US Court

A US court has granted temporary relief to Nepali doctors whose scores on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) were recently invalidated. Judge Rudolph Contreras of the District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order suspending the deadline for affected doctors to respond to the National Board of Medical Examiners’ (NBME) score invalidation notice, with the new deadline to be determined later.

This suspension will remain in effect until the court decides on the doctors’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the score invalidation from taking effect. The NBME’s opposition to the injunction request is due by February 18th. In turn, the doctors have 24 hours after receiving the NBME’s opposition to submit their reply. The Court will issue an order on or before February 21, 2024, at 5 pm Eastern.

The order, made in a lawsuit filed on behalf of affected doctors, pertains to an ongoing court case seeking a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the USMLE score cancellation decision. The decision, made around January 31, 2024, affected individuals who received score cancellation notices.

This extension applies to all doctors falling within the affected category. Furthermore, the National Board of Medical Examiners is obligated to inform the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Federation of State Medical Boards, and MATCH about this extension.

The court order specifies that any party involved may notify other potentially interested third parties about the extended deadline for responses. Additionally, any deadlines set by the National Board of Medical Examiners for decisions or responses to affected individuals will remain suspended until the court issues a preliminary injunction. The ex parte request for a temporary restraining order has been denied as moot. An ex parte request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) is a legal procedure where one party asks a judge to issue an order restricting the other party’s actions, without notifying the other party beforehand.

The Court also recognizes that NBME does not concede that any relief is due to the Plaintiff or to any putative class member or that class treatment is warranted, and NBME reserves all rights and defenses that it has to the Plaintiff’s Complaint and her request for preliminary injunctive relief.

The score invalidation had put many Nepali doctors in a precarious situation, forcing them to consider retaking the exam, requesting a reconsideration, or appealing the invalidation while also facing potential immigration issues due to revoked residencies. This court order offers a temporary sigh of relief as they await the final decision on the injunction.

The order was issued following a joint stipulation between the plaintiffs and the NBME. Lawyer Khagendra GC suggests this reflects a potential collaborative approach towards resolving the issue. However, the NBME has not conceded any wrongdoing or agreed to reinstate the scores and reserves all its rights and defenses.

While the court order provides a crucial pause, the future for these doctors remains uncertain. The coming weeks will be crucial as the court weighs the arguments and delivers its final verdict.

(The plaintiff’s name has been redacted from the news at their request.)