State Medical Board Must Fully Comply With Public Records Act, Chronicle Says
The Legislature should continue to push the state Medical Board to "liv[e] up to its promises and duty to provide more complete information" about physician disciplinary actions, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4). The Medical Board said last week that it was considering expanding the amount of information it makes public, including the outcomes of medical malpractice settlements and misdemeanor crimes committed by physicians. The move comes after the Chronicle reviewed 66 "widely reported" verdicts and arbitration awards against doctors in the past three years, finding that 33% of the cases "were missing" from the Medical Board's online public database (California Healthline, 2/1). "The Public Records Act is supposed to guarantee consumers virtually unlimited access to details about a doctor's training, past disciplinary actions, criminal records and more. But the board, which is responsible for licensing, monitoring and disciplining doctors, routinely disregards the law," the Chronicle states. The Chronicle says that although the board is "at least making some encouraging sounds about a patient's right to know," its past failure to deliver information has done "immeasurable harm to patients, depriving them of a right to make informed decisions on issues of life and death." Noting that the board is "apparently only offering limited access rather than the thorough disclosure to which consumers are entitled," the editorial concludes that the Legislature "should not back off" until the board provides more complete information (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4).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.