States Fail to Discipline Rogue Doctors

Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen just dropped a bombshell on the debate over medical malpractice. State medical boards have failed to discipline 55% of the doctors who were sanctioned by the hospitals where they worked. The Public Citizen report has received widespread media attention and may mean that doctors who are sanctioned by their employers move on to other hospitals or health institutions with little consequence.
According to the Washington Post, “The consumer advocacy group analyzed data in a federal clearinghouse from 1990 to 2009 for disciplinary action and medical malpractice payments against doctors.
Of 10,672 physicians listed in the National Practitioner Data Bank, about 55 percent, or 5,887 doctors, had been disciplined by hospitals but escaped any licensing action by the state during the entire 20-year period. The hospital discipline was to restrict or revoke the physicians’ clinical privileges.”
More than 35% of the nearly 6,000 doctors reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank were reported for serious violations that involved immediate threats to patient health or safety.