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Patients in New York Deserve to Know if a Doctor is Cited for Negligence

A report from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) asked the basic question: whether government agencies are keeping a close enough eye on doctor performance.

Although most doctors in New York meet state performance standard, the report shows that there is insufficient oversight and transparency connected to those cited for negligence.

Most of the 102,554 licensed doctors in New York have unblemished records in terms of negligence. Negligence addresses a broad spectrum of improper health care ranging from ordering excessive tests to medical malpractice.

However, more than 77% of doctors are sanctioned for negligence in New York State. These sanctioned doctors are allowed to continue practicing medicine.

According to the report, at present there is no requirement that patients must be informed that their physician is practicing under sanction and/or limitations.

The NYPIRG called for a new law to ensure that patients be notified directly by the state if their physicians has received any sanctions or limitations. The group also urges lawmakers to include competency assessments in periodic recertification of doctors.

Although it is possible to access doctor’s profiles, licensure status and other details on the state website, NYPIRG urged lawmakers to require health care facilities to post information on how patients can obtain that information.

The State Department of Health, which oversees physician issues, claims to address all allegation of misconduct with the highest priority.

After the state health department files charges against negligent doctors, the Board of Professional Medical Conduct reviews cases and decides whether to take action. The medical conduct board is comprised of 144 members that are available to hear cases against physicians in the presence of an administrative law judge. The panel is usually comprised of three members, two physicians and one “public” member.

The report also cited that nearly 60% of the NY State actions against doctors were based on sanctions taken by other states, the federal government, or the courts. An NYPIRG analyst claims that this figure demonstrates how the state agency insufficiently monitors doctors’ performance.

 


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer