Virginia Physician Web Site Posts Disciplinary Information
After months of controversy and delay, Virginia Gov. James Gilmore (R) has announced that the Virginia Department of Health Professions has posted full-text copies of disciplinary orders filed against physicians to a new state physician-profiling Web site, the Washington Post reports. Health officials had originally intended to include licensing, education, malpractice and disciplinary information when the site was launched in July, but Gilmore, at the urging of the state's medical community, signed emergency legislation that blocked the posting of some disciplinary information (Boodman, Washington Post, 10/16). Local medical groups complained that posting "notices," or documents that are issued after a formal investigation, would "unfairly tarnish a doctor's reputation," especially in cases where no final disciplinary action was taken (California Healthline, 8/3). Under a compromise involving legal representatives of the state medical board and the state attorney general's office, the Web site will now include full text copies of final disciplinary orders, in addition to copies of notices in cases that have already been adjudicated. The site also indicates cases where notices are pending and directs interested consumers to seek the documents by mail (Washington Post, 10/16).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.