Wall Street Journal Examines Trend of Providing Doctors’ Disciplinary Records Online
The Wall Street Journal today examines the increasing number of state medical boards that are opening "previously secret files" concerning their members' criminal records and disciplinary actions. In states such as California, New York, Florida, Massachusetts and Texas, medical boards have published online doctors' criminal convictions, major hospital disciplinary action, malpractice judgements, licensing revocation and medical board sanctions. In addition, some not-for-profit groups are offering multistate listings, including Public Citizen's recently launched questionabledoctors.org, which features information from 13 states. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said, "The nation's system for protecting the public from medical incompetence and malfeasance is still far from adequate." According to Public Citizen, of the 800,000 licensed medical doctors in the United States, only 2% to 3% provide care or behave in a way "substandard enough to be cited" by a state medical disciplinary board. Further, some doctors are punished for administrative oversights, such as failing to renew a license on time, the Journal reports. Yank Coble, president of the American Medical Association, said, "Many [disciplinary actions] are technicalities, and they need to be interpreted carefully" (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 7/18).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.