New York State Launches Physician Profiling Web Site for Consumers
New York state officials today announced the launch of a physician profiling Web site for consumers that includes "previously secret" information such as physicians' criminal convictions, malpractice payments and revoked hospital privileges, as well as information about physicians' backgrounds and specialties, the New York Daily News reports. Malpractice records appear only if a physician has made more than two malpractice payments in the previous 10 years, except in instances where the state health commissioner believes the first two payments could be relevant to patients' health care decisions. The site also includes information about the health plans that physicians accept, the languages they speak, their board certifications and where they were trained. Physicians may also list published research, teaching responsibilities, community service activities and brief comments. The Web site was authorized by the Patient Health Information and Quality Improvement Act of 2000, a bill signed into law by Gov. George Pataki (R) in October 2000. The information on the site is also available by calling a toll-free telephone number. According to the New York Department of Health, the Web site contains complete profiles for about 40,000 of the state's 72,000 licensed physicians, and information about 10,000 more physicians should by added within the next few days. Some 22,000 physicians, however, have not responded to the state's three requests for information. Those who have not provided the state with profiles could face disciplinary action, the Daily News reports. Referring to the number of incomplete profiles, Art Levin, director of the Center for Medical Consumers, a not-for-profit advocacy organization, said, "[I]t's a little early to tell how helpful this is going to be" (Buettner, New York Daily News, 2/8).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.