State Medical Board Should Disclose Physician Information, San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Says
Legislation "may be necessary" if the Medical Board of California continues to show "little inclination to change its policies" on disclosing physician information to the public, according to a San Francisco Chronicle editorial. The Chronicle recently investigated the problem and found that 33% of complaints filed against physicians "never appeared" on the Medical Board's public computer database. Noting that three newspapers sued the Medical Board six years ago to release physicians' records, the editorial says that "legal action shouldn't be necessary for consumers to access this important information." According to the editorial, in 1997, "the state's powerful medical lobby" prevented the passage of legislation that would have mandated that physicians' records -- including malpractice settlements and disciplinary actions -- be placed online. The editorial concludes by saying that the "Legislature must resume where it left off. ... "[Assembly m]embers must ... pass legislation that will provide patients with this information. We have a right to know. It is, quite truthfully, a matter of life and death" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8).