MD PROFILES: Texas to Post Physician Data Online
Texas will begin posting profiles of licensed physicians on the Internet as early as next spring, the Dallas Morning News reports. The profiles will offer information such as the doctor's business address, date of birth, medical school attended, date of license and specialty and will include a listing of "disciplinary actions" against the physician. State Rep. Glen Maxey (D), who sponsored the legislation that passed last year establishing the program, said the profiles are modeled after those used in a Massachusetts program and will address common questions patients have about doctors. "Most of the information [patients] were looking for was what insurance do [doctors] accept, what hospitals do they have privileges at, what are their specialties, do they take Medicaid, Medicare -- those types of things." He added, "We also are giving at least a broad-brush look at whether there have been medical malpractice cases settled against the doctor, whether there have been any criminal convictions ... things the [Texas State Board of Medical Examiners] has been collecting already." Profiles of all state physicians will be online by 2003, but the state is asking the first 12,400 doctors whose licenses are up for renewal to provide information voluntarily as part of a pilot program. Jane McFarland, who is overseeing the program, said, "We would really like to have some (profiles) online by late spring, but we just don't know yet how much information we're gong to get from physicians on a voluntary basis." Besides being a tool for patients, Maxey said the profiles will benefit doctors, too. "It can become a very positive tool for any licensed professional to be able to put in sort of a nonbiased way what people's credentials are, and know that their bad-apple competitors are out there for people to see," Maxey said (Kuempel, Dallas Morning News, 10/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.