Medical Board Reverses Decision on Public Censure of Doctors
The Medical Board of California will censure publicly all six Kaiser Permanente doctors involved in a patient's death, reversing its previous position that HMOs can decide which doctors to report when they lose medical malpractice arbitration awards, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The decision involves a case in which a patient won a $1 million arbitration award before dying this year at age 29 of Ewing's sarcoma, a type of cancer. In its report to the medical board, Kaiser named one of the six doctors involved in the case.
Medical Board Executive Director David Thornton in August said the board could not publicly censure doctors whom Kaiser had not reported. However, after re-examining the case, Thornton said all six doctors named in the arbitrator's findings should have been reported to the board and have their names posted on the board's public disclosure Web site.
Thornton also asked Kaiser officials to provide a copy of the arbitrator's findings in future cases when the HMO loses malpractice arbitration awards to help board members determine which doctors should be censured.
Kaiser spokesperson Jim Anderson said the HMO would "plan to work with the medical board constructively" on the issue but did not say whether it would provide additional information to the board on arbitration awards (Vrana, Los Angeles Times, 11/22).