We were thrilled when we heard that Michele Monserratt-Ramos was featured in the February 9 Los Angeles Times article, “How to research your doctor’s ratings and record.” And it was great to see Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center Director, Dr. John Santa, quoted in the same article!
Michele stressed the importance of looking beyond a doctor’s resume and reviewing sources that many people often overlook, such as civil and criminal court records — typically open to the public. Would you want to know if your doctor had a criminal record? I certainly would. Michele has been a dedicated patient safety advocate since the tragic death of her husband-to-be, Lloyd Monserratt in a California hospital. In Michele’s own words: “Lloyd entered a Los Angeles hospital for elective surgery and died 3 days later with no explanation provided for his untimely death. My investigation revealed that Lloyd was the victim of undisclosed surgical errors and untreated infection all at the hands of a surgeon who had multiple arrest records and a background of drug abuse.” Since his death in 2003, Michele has been working to end secrecy around substance-abusing physicians, and frequently attends California medical board meetings to voice her concerns around physician safety issues.
Another source to check is the Medical Board of California (MBC) website. MBC is the state government agency which licenses and disciplines physicians, surgeons and certain allied healthcare professions in California. Consumers can find out if a doctor has been “disciplined or formally accused of wrongdoing by the Board” for example. Here’s what the Board says it does and doesn’t make available about a physician’s record.
Consumer Reports’ Dr. Santa said to be cautious of commercial online doctor ratings that can base ratings on a small sample of patients. Consumer Reports partnered with the California HealthCare Foundation on CalQualityCare.org, a new website which “features information on California hospitals, medical groups, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities, along with tips and checklists about how to choose a health care provider, questions to ask, how to pay for care, and what to do if something goes wrong.” Added bonus: the information on the website is free.
Go check out the article to find a number of other online resources listed. Doing research to find out what’s up with your doctor shouldn’t be a drag but it’s a good idea.