In 2001, Patty and David Skolnik spent nearly three years watching their only child, Michael, play victim to a broken system as a result of unnecessary brain surgery. Due to medical error caused by negligence and incompetence, routine expectations of our healthcare system proved ineffective in providing quality medical care and patient safety for 22 year old Michael Skolnik.
When physicians provide poor quality care, their patients are typically the last to know. Some physician backgrounds may be available in your state, but can you tell which ones have the most complaints, malpractice claims or disciplinary actions? Knowing the background information on your doctor could save your life.
Consumers Union Documents
- Letter from Consumers Union and Washington Advocates for Patient Safety on medical board secrecy Source: Consumers Union (Monday February 10, 2014)
Consumers Union and the Washington Advocates for Patient Safety oppose SBH 2139 unless it is amended to make the “nondisciplinary resolution” of complaints and physician problems a part of the public record at the state and national level.
- Consumer Reports: How to find a doctor you can trust Source: Consumer Reports (Monday February 3, 2014)
What’s most important—impressive credentials? 5-star reviews? Here’s the truth.
- Presentations from the Consumers Union/Washington Advocates for Patient Safety Meeting
Washingtonians: Become Safe & Savvy Health Care Consumers! Joint Presentation by: Consumers Union – Safe Patient Project Washington Advocates for Patient Safety September 30, 2013 CU Safe Patient Project and hip and knee warranty campaign overview-Lisa McGiffert, Suzanne Henry CU storytelling and social media-Daniela Nunez WA advocates for patient safety overview- Yanling Yu Transparency and Accountability Continue Reading
- Consumer Reports: Too many doctors can be bad for your health Source: Consumer Reports (Wednesday August 1, 2012)
The more physicians you see, the greater the chance of miscommunication and overtreatment
- Video: Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center Source: YouTube (Thursday October 18, 2012)
Here’s a look at some of the important work the Health Ratings Center has done since its creation in 2008.
Consumers Union News Releases
- Consumers Union To Hold “Ending Medical Harm” Conference at Columbia University On November 6th
CONSUMERS UNION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 Contact: Michael McCauley, email@example.com or 415-902-9537 (cell) or Ross Moonie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-690-5713 or Joe Duraes, email@example.com or 914-293-0100 Consumers Union To Hold “Ending Medical Harm” Conference at Columbia University On November 6 Conference To Focus on Tackling The 3rd Leading Cause of Death Continue Reading
- California Medical Board reforms needed
Monday, March 11, 2013 Consumers Union Urges California to Adopt Medical Board Reforms to Improve Oversight of Centers and Problem Physicians State Lawmakers Begin Sunset Review of the Medical Board of California SACRAMENTO, CA – Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, urged state lawmakers today to implement a number of Continue Reading
- Consumers Union: Public Should Have Full Access to Doctor Database, Including Names of Problem Physicians
Consumer Reports Poll: Almost 9 in 10 Americans Say Public Should Have Access to Information Collected by Feds on Doctors
- CU urges HHS to restore online doctor database
HHS decision to remove online access runs counter to Administration pledge to promote transparency
- Governor Gregoire Signs Bill To Create More Transparency When Patients File Complaints Against Health Care Workers
When Patients File Complaints Against Health Care Workers Washington Law Could Serve As A Model For Other States.
- California advocates voice concerns at medical board meeting
This month, California advocates worked with CU to voice safety concerns at the California Medical Board meeting. We testified on several issues that affect the public and transparency…
- California advocate featured in LA Times on how to research your doctor
Michele Monserratt-Ramos, member of CU’s California Safe Patient Network, was featured in a February 9 Los Angeles Times article on how to research your doctor. Michele has been active on patient safety issues since the tragic death of her husband-to-be, Lloyd Monserratt.
- Go Team! Advocates Deliver Patient Safety Message in Washington State
Last week, the Safe Patient Project traveled to Washington State to team up with Washington Advocates for Patient Safety to give a voice to the health care crisis of preventable medical harm
- Consumers Union’s “Ending Medical Harm” Conference Brings Awareness and Action
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project held an incredible conference on November 6, 2013 at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in NYC that gathered experts, journalists and activists to address the pressing public health threat of medical harm. Our conference, “Ending Medical Harm: Tackling the 3rd leading cause of death in the US,” had approximately 150 Continue Reading
- Endangered Patients: WA Consumer Forum Explores Ending Medical Harm
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) teamed up to host a patient safety forum at the Seattle Public Library to explore ideas for ending patient harm and what consumers can do to protect themselves from medical errors, hospital infections and failed hip and knee implants. About thirty-five people heard Continue Reading
- CMS Makes Physician Claims Data Public Source: Health Leaders Media (Thursday April 10, 2014)
“The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a potential treasure trove of 2012 Medicare physician claim information. The release, which makes the data public for the first time since 1979, is “a huge step to making the Medicare system more transparent,” CMS says.”
- Sliver of Medicare Doctors Get Big Share of Payouts Source: New York Times (Wednesday April 9, 2014)
“A tiny fraction of the 880,000 doctors and other health care providers who take Medicare accounted for nearly a quarter of the roughly $77 billion paid out to them under the federal program, receiving millions of dollars each in some cases in a single year, according to the most detailed data ever released in Medicare’s nearly 50-year history.”
- Dollars for Docs: How to Evaluate Drug Payment Data Source: ProPublica (Tuesday March 11, 2014)
How patients can ask their doctors about their financial relationships in a non-confrontational way (ProPublica).
- Reporting Recipe: Dollars for Docs Source: ProPublica (Friday March 28, 2014)
With more data on relationships between doctors and drug companies soon to be released, here are some ways journalists can use this information.
- Double Dip: Doctors Paid to Advise, Promote Drug Companies That Fund Their Research Source: ProPublica (Tuesday March 25, 2014)
Research has been seen as less objectionable than other forms of interactions with drug companies, but 10 percent of researchers have multiple ties among the nine companies ProPublica analyzed. That raises questions about doctors’ impartiality.
Research and Reports
- Health Watch USA Newsletter (January 2014) Source: Health Watch USA (Tuesday January 7, 2014)
In this issue, Dr. Kevin Kavanagh highlights news on antibiotic resistance, C.diff solutions, and unreported robotic surgery injuries.
- Become an Empowered Patient with this New Decision Support App
The Empowered Patient® Decision Support web app is a series of ten questions that help identify areas in which patients may need help and support when making health care decisions. The app produces a streamlined pdf report of areas where the patient feels confident and decisive – and areas in which the patient may need information and guidance.
- Ambulatory Surgery Centers: Big Business, Little Data Source: California Healthcare Foundation (Thursday June 13, 2013)
California HealthCare Foundation Report: A growing number of Californians are being sent to ambulatory surgery centers for a wide variety of procedures, yet little is known about the care they deliver because reporting is not required.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern About the Quality of Care from a South Carolina Doctor Source: Informed Patient Institute (Friday March 1, 2013)
This tip sheet explains steps you can take in your doctor’s office to deal with your concerns about quality. It also tells you how to contact places that regulate or oversee doctors.
- DocFinder Source: Association of State Medical Board Executive Directors (Friday February 1, 2013)
The site http://www.docboard.org/docfinder.html is run by Administrators in Medicine, the national organization of Executive Directors of the state medical boards. It allows users to look up whatever medical boards post on-line about their licensees. Users can search many states simultaneously with one click. For states for which that doesn’t work, the site provides links to the individual state board web sites.