Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Doctor's Watch List

Just how good is your doc? How much do you really know about him or her?

According to the WSJ, a report compiled by American Medical News says that "disciplinary actions against docs have been falling for the past several years, with serious moves like license revocations and suspensions down 17% between 2004 and 2007."

Is this good news?

Does this mean the docs are "cleaning up their act", less likely to get caught, or that the sanctioning boards are more lenient?

Over the past few years, Alaska has averaged more than eight serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 physicians, higher than any other state, according to this recent ranking from Public Citizen. Kentucky, Ohio, Arizona and Nebraska round out the top of the list, each with more than five serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 docs.

What exactly does this say about docs in general in these states?

Meanwhile, this morning’s New York Times takes a local slice of the data, drawing on the FSMB report to point out that more than 2% of NY docs were on the state’s watch list last year because of concerns about their professional conduct or personal problems that could spill over into work life, such as substance abuse.

Wolfe may think it’s a good thing to have lots of docs on a watch list. But as New Yorkers, the notion that one in fifty of our local docs made the list does give us pause.

Give us pause, indeed . . .
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