Are State Medical Boards Protecting the Public from Medical Malpractice?
Posted on Mar 09, 2012
Last month three United States Senators asked the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate state medical boards. The review of state medical boards would be the first one in the last decade and a half.
The request, made by two Republicans and one Democrat, raises concerns about physicians who are sanctioned by their employers for wrongdoings but are not sanctioned by their state medical boards for the same conduct. The request specifically mentions concern about doctors who are sanctioned by employers for sexual misconduct, medical malpractice and fraud, and who did not face any consequences form their state medical boards.
As evidence of their concern, the Senators cite a report by the consumer group Public Opinion which found that more than half of 10,672 doctors who had clinical privileges revoked or restricted by their employers between 1990 and 2009 did not face any sanctions from their state medical boards. The doctors who faced sanctions from their employers but not the state medical board included doctors who allegedly were punished for “incompetence, negligence or malpractice”, for providing “substandard care”, and for being an “immediate threat to health or safety.”
According to Public Citizen, Georgia was 15th in the country for disciplining doctors in 2003. By 2008 – 2010, Georgia had fallen to 40th among the fifty states.
Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers express our best wishes for a full and quick recovery to anyone who has been harmed by medical malpractice, and we await the Office of the Inspector General’s response to the interested Senators.