Doctor performance: Malpractice, discipline and licensing resources

Filed Under: Patients, Providers

Every so once in a while, you might want to look at performance records for medical professionals — if you’re wondering about a doctor’s record, for example, because you’re thinking about hiring her or him.

Finding performance records is notoriously hard to do, but here are some resources.

“The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national non-profit organization representing the 70 medical and osteopathic boards of the United States and its territories,” according to the board’s web site. “The FSMB leads by promoting excellence in medical practice, licensure, and regulation as the national resource and voice on behalf of state medical and osteopathic boards in their protection of the public.”

Here’s the directory of state medical boards. Each state has different licensing and reporting requirements, so you’ll have to know your own.

For New York, following a search you can find this page with a searchable database of disciplinary actions.  For New Jersey, the menu offered on the consumer search page is bewildering. If you were looking for discipline like malpractice, license suspension, fines and so on, you’d need a guide.

We found this because of a fabulous series, Doctor discipline: State fails to offer full disclosure, by Glenn Howatt and Richard Meryhew, of The Minneapolis Star Tribune in early 2012. The series details how Minnesota used to be a leader in reporting discipline and performance statistics for medical professionals; now, however, they say such reporting is much better in other states: Florida and New York, for example. The information’s available on other states’ web sites only if the professional in question practices in another state.

The series is pretty terrific; here’s one page,  titled “Has Your Doctor Been Disciplined?”  The table documents “board actions against licensed physicians in Minnesota since 2000, plus 46 actions taken by other states.”

You might also use the resources of sites like HealthGradesRateMds and Vitals, though I personally find myself more comfortable with seeking out the original sources for such reports, meaning the medical boards of the states in question.

Do you have better resources? Let us know at info@clearhealthcosts.com.