PUBLIC CITIZEN: Releases ‘Questionable Doctors’ Guide
The consumer watchdog Public Citizen Health Research Group Tuesday released the 2000 edition of Questionable Doctors, a four-volume "rogues' gallery" of physicians disciplined by state medical boards. The directory lists the wrongdoings of 20,125 doctors, including 547 penalized for sex-related offenses; 3,215 for "incompetence, negligence or providing substandard care;" and 2,963 convicted of various crimes. USA Today reports that Public Citizen released the directory in part to protest the "government-mandated secrecy" of the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal archive of disciplinary actions and malpractice suits against doctors. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen said, "It's worrisome that you can get more information on unsafe cars than unsafe doctors." Siding with Public Citizen, Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.) plans to introduce a bill in September that would mandate public access to the database. Bliley spokesperson Pete Sheffield said, "Patients have a right to know whether their doctors have a history of malpractice payments, disciplinary sanctions or criminal convictions." The Public Citizen directory can be purchased for $407.50, and regional versions are available for $23.50 (USA Today, 8/9). To view information about the directory, go to www.questionabledoctors.org.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.