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
- 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.
- Consumer Reports Health: A look at the Health Ratings Center Source: Consumer Reports Health (Thursday October 18, 2012)
New video highlights some of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center’s important accomplishments: assessing hospitals for safety, surgeons for their heart bypass records, and drugs for their effectiveness.
- Consumer Reports: Patient access to their doctor's notes leads to better care, study finds Source: Consumer Reports (Monday October 1, 2012)
Are you interested in reading the medical notes your doctor writes about you? Some ten thousand patients around the country recently had that chance. And both they, and their doctors, said it led to better care.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-902-9537 (cell) or Ross Moonie, email@example.com or 917-690-5713 or Joe Duraes, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- 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
- California activists urge lawmakers to reform California Medical Board
In March 2013, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project organized a small but powerful gathering of eight California consumer advocates in Sacramento to discuss patient safety issues related to California’s medical board sunset review process, hospital infections, and more. One advocate who attended, Alicia Cole, sent a terrific email about the meeting that we decided to post it as a guest blog.
- Safe Patient Summit inspires patient safety advocates
This week, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project brought 31 energized advocates from across the U.S. to the 7th annual Safe Patient summit November 12-14, with a day of presentations at Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers, NY.
- Washington Advocates for Patient Safety participate in Patient Safety Day
Last month on July 25, members of the Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) commemorated Patient Safety Day in their home state of Washington by joining several people working on health care issues in the state and giving a voice to patients who have experienced preventable medical harm.
- Survey: Your Experiences with State Medical Boards Source: Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (Monday December 9, 2013)
Yanling Yu Ph.D. (Washington Advocates for Patient Safety) is collecting information on state medical boards, in particular people’s experiences when filing a complaint. If you’ve ever filed a complaint with your state’s medical board, help out by taking this anonymous survey form.
- The Biggest Mistake Doctors Make Source: WSJ (Sunday November 17, 2013)
Misdiagnoses are harmful and costly. But they’re often preventable.
- Medical Complaints Gather Dust in Florida Source: The Ledger (Saturday October 19, 2013)
Florida’s The Ledger reports: “Medical professionals in Florida hang onto their licenses and continue practicing as the state grapples with a lengthy disciplinary process that can take years, according to an analysis by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.”
- Jeff Pitman: Legislation adds insult to injury in medical errors Source: The Cap Times (Friday October 11, 2013)
Some bills in Wisconsin would keep information about medical errors secret from patients and family members; and would prevent patients from using the statements of health care providers if they admit fault, liability or responsibility.
- North Texas doctor fined over unneeded stent implants Source: Dallas Morning News (Wednesday September 18, 2013)
Dallas Morning News reports: The Texas Medical Board has fined a McKinney heart doctor for implanting unnecessary stents into cardiac patients, according to records released by the board.
Research and Reports
- 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.
- California Medical Board videos Source: YouTube (Wednesday December 12, 2012)
CA medical board meetings on YouTube.