Report: State medical boards are not consistent in actions

Friday April 1, 2016

One of the resources patients should have to find information about their doctor is their state’s medical board. These agencies license physicians and discipline them for offenses like negligence care. However, not every state’s medical board provides the information patients may need to determine if they want to receive care from a specific physician. Whether the information available is complete or even accurate depends on the state, as well as if punishments have been handed down.

The Safe Patient Project, which is a joint project between Consumer Reports and the Informed Patient Institute, evaluated state medical board websites in all 50 states. Most of them, they found, are difficult for patients to navigate. When profiles on physicians can be found, determining why a board disciplined a physician can be very difficult.

Even physicians who have been disciplined severely often continue to practice. Many times, their offense is so deeply on the website that it can’t be found. Sometimes, the information isn’t available online at all.

The state with the highest score for their medical board website is California. However, Connecticut ranked in the top 15 states. The websites were judged on:

— Search capabilities

— Identifying doctor information

— Board disciplinary actions

— Complaint and board information

— Hospital disciplinary actions

— Federal disciplinary actions

— Malpractice payouts

— Convictions

State medical boards should do a better job of maintaining their websites so there is current and complete information on physicians. When a physician is negligent, it can cause serious injury or even death. Should you be injured or lose a loved one due to a physician’s negligence, an attorney can determine if you have a right to seek compensation for your losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: Consumer Reports, “Can You Rely on Your State’s Medical Board?,” Rachel Rabkin Peachman, March 31, 2016

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