That’s the assessment of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group after analyzing data released by the Federation of State Medical Boards on all disciplinary actions taken against doctors in 2008.
Action needs to be taken, legislatively and through pressure on the medical boards themselves, to increase the amount of discipline and, thus, the amount of consumer protection. The group offers this conclusion in its article “Public Citizen’s Health Research Group Ranking of the Rate of State Medial Boards’ Serious Disciplinary Actions, 2006-2008.”
The five states with the largest decreased in rank of the rate of serious disciplinary actions from 2001-2003 to 2006-2008 are:
- New Hampshire
The five states with the largest increases in rank of the rate of serious disciplinary actions from 2001-2003 to 2006-2008 are:
- North Carolina
State medical boards are likely to be able to do a better job of disciplining doctors, according to the group, if the following conditions are met:
- Adequate funding.
- Adequate staffing.
- Proactive investigations rather than only reacting to complaints.
- The use of all available/reliable data from other sources such as Medicare and Medicaid sanctions, hospital sanctions, malpractice payouts, and the criminal justice system.
- Excellent leadership.
- Independence from state medical societies.
- Independence from other parts of the state government so that the board has the ability to develop its own budgets and regulations.
- A reasonable legal standard for disciplining doctors.
Without adequate legislative oversight, many medical boards will continue to perform poorly, the group stated in the article.