For two years (2006-2008) I was in the ER repeatedly with vomiting, pain, etc. I saw a physician in their facility on an outpatient basis. I eventually suffered arrhythmias, multiple episodes of aspiration pneumonia, and was even referred to psychiatric help.
Archive for Doctor Accountability
Consumers Union Documents
- 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 Opposition Letter and Patient Statements regarding SB 1483 Impaired Physicians Source: Consumers Union (Wednesday August 1, 2012)
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project opposes SB 1483 (Steinberg), which would establish a costly and unnecessary government entity to serve as a substance abuse and mental health treatment referral service for physicians, who are well-equipped to find their own therapy services, while leaving patients uninformed and unprotected.
- Consumers Union Letter to CA's Governor Brown Regarding: Request for executive action to require that the Medical Board of California provide teleconference participation in its public meetings Source: Consumers Union (Thursday December 29, 2011)
Consumers Union letter to CA’s Governor Brown: We are concerned about poor consumer access to Medical Board of California (MBC) meetings and request that you take executive action to require that the MBC make all of its public meetings available for interactive public participation through teleconferencing.
- Letter to CA's Governor Brown re: Gubernatorial appointments of public members to the Medical Board of California Source: Consumers Union (Thursday July 12, 2012)
Consumers Union and other CA consumer groups send a letter to CA’s Governor Brown about the need to appoint public members to the vacant seats on the Medical Board of California (MBC). A number of patient safety issues deserve the attention of a full and balanced MBC.
- Consumers Union Letter to Medical Board of California Members Source: Consumers Union (Monday January 30, 2012)
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and CA patient safety advocates send a letter to members of the Medical Board of California (MBC) regarding issues affecting consumers, such as: better access to medical board meetings; MBC’s confusing statute of limitations information for filing complaints; and MBC’s responsibilities related to outpatient settings.
- Consumer Reports: Speak up when talking to your doctor Source: Consumer Reports (Saturday September 1, 2012)
Ask about costs, consent forms, and more
- Consumers Union Calls on HHS To Restore Online Access To National Practitioners Data Bank's Public File
Consumers Union (September 15, 2011)
- Video: Advice on staying safe in the hospital--from the experts
- Doctor directory is first step to new "Physician Compare" website
Medicare has launched a new website directory of health-care providers who accept Medicare patients.
- Ratings of Heart Surgeons
Consumer Reports has teamed with The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) to rate heart-surgery groups based on their performance data for bypass surgery. For the first time, consumers can easily see how surgical groups compare with national benchmarks for survival, complications, and other measures.
- Medical Board Notice to Consumers Regulation
The Medical Board regulation requiring physicians to have a notice for patients with the Medical Board contact information has been approved. It goes into effect on June 27th. Medical Board of California (April 2010)
- CU Comments to Board of Podiatric Medicine Regarding Notice to Consumers (pdf)
Consumers Union writes in support of the Board of Podiatric Medicine’s (BPM) adoption of proposed section 1399.730, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. This proposal requires doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs) to notify their patients that they are licensed by the State of California, and provides the Board’s website address and the toll-free number where consumers with complaints may seek guidance.
- Consumers Union "To Err Is Human, To Delay Is Deadly" Webcast
On November 17, 2009, Consumers Union hosted a forum in Washington DC based on the 10-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 1999 study on medical harm challenging our health system’s progress on preventing medical harm 10 years later. We released a report earlier in the year on this
- CU letter in support of disclosure of gifts to doctors
CU recommends that health reform bill should includes disclosure requirements of any payments to hospitals, medical schools, and others and provides for a smaller exemption for gifts.
- Consumers Union Report: To Err is Human-To Delay is Deadly
Ten years ago the Institute of Medicine (IOM) declared that as many as 98,000 people die each year needlessly because of preventable medical harm, including health care-acquired infections. Ten years later, we don’t know if we’ve made any real progress, and efforts to reduce the harm caused by our medical care system are few and fragmented. With little transparency and no public reporting (except where hard fought state laws now require public reporting of hospital infections), scarce data does not paint a picture of real progress.
- CU Comments on the Medical Board of California's Proposed Sec. 1355.4
Consumer groups have prepared a letter to the Medical Board of California in support of a regulation that would mandate specific, simple language from doctors to notify consumers that they are licensed and regulated by the Medical Board. We have also added our recommendations for strengthening the proposed regulation, which include making this information visible to the public in physician waiting areas and include a number where they can lodge complaints.
- To Err is Human - To Delay is Deadly
Ten years later, a million lives lost, billions of dollars wasted
- Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act
Passed in 2007, Colorado’s Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act (Michael’s Law) brings to light vital physician information–such as disciplinary actions and malpractice information–so that if you are ever faced with a decision like the Skolnik family, you will no longer be in the dark.
- Text of H.R. 1561
Full text of filed bill.
Consumers Union News Releases
- Consumer Reports Poll Finds High Levels of Concern About Medical Harm & Support For Public Ratings on Hospital Safety
A new poll released today by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found high levels of public concern about hospital-acquired infections and other forms of medical harm.
- WA Bill Would Create More Transparency When Patients File Complaints Against Health Care Workers
Patients who file complaints against doctors and other health care providers would be able to find out more information about their complaints.
- Report Finds Medical Errors More Common
Consumers Union Calls For Public Reporting of Medical Errors
- Health Care Reform Law Poised to Make Health Care Safer
New Law Includes Important Patient Safety Provisions That Will Save Lives and Health Care Dollars
- CU Report: U.S. Health Care System Fails To Protect Patients From Deadly Medical Errors
Consumers Union Assesses Lack of Progress Ten Years After Institute of Medicine Found Up To 98,000 Die From Preventable Errors
- 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
- 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.
- Dedicated patient safety advocate shares his story in Health Affairs article
This week I read a new article written by a dedicated patient safety advocate, Kerry O’Connell, published in Health Affairs, a prestigious healthcare journal.
- National Practitioner Data Bank “Public” Use Data File Should Actually Be Public
A Consumer Reports national poll found that almost 9 in 10 Americans (88%) said the public should have access to federally collected information about problems with doctors.
- Video: Advice on staying safe in the hospital–from the experts
Hear advice from consumer advocates on patient safety.
- Information to patients from doctors should be accurate
Patient safety activist identifies errors in JAMA article; JAMA corrects it. Guest blog post by John James.
- If you’re in the San Diego area tomorrow, meet us at the Empowered Patient training
On Saturday, October 9, the Empowered Patient Coalition along with Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and AARP California will be holding a special training in San Diego for patients and caregivers on how to stay safe in the hospital.
- California Moving Too Slow On Patient Safety Progress
Since 2006, California lawmakers have passed laws to improve patient safety, yet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been moving at turtle speed to enforce these laws.
- New Resource for Those Dissatisfied with a Health Care Experience
Guest blog post by Deb Wachenheim, Health Quality Manager at Health Care For All (HCFA) in Boston. HCFA has launched a new website that can help patients in Massachusetts and across the country speak up when something goes wrong in the hospital. There is information on asking for help when you are in the hospital, advice on how to file a complaint, and resources available to help you.
- Delaying Is Deadly–Join Our Patient Safety Webcast on November 17
On November 17, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project is hosting a forum in Washington DC based on the 10-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) study on medical errors, “To Err Is Human.”
- Hospitals Own Up to Errors
Some Find That Confronting Mistakes Reduces Litigation—and Future Mishaps.
- Watch Money-Driven Medicine
A new documentary, Money-Driven Medicine, offers a thoughtful perspective to the health care reform debate that couldn’t be timelier.
- In Honor of Patients
Join patient safety advocates across the country tomorrow to observe Patient Safety Day.
- A Doctor’s Right to a Livelihood vs. a Patient’s Right to Live – The Discussion Continues
Guest blogger Michele Monserratt-Ramos, President of Californians for Patients’ Rights, attended a forum to discuss the Regulatory Management of Chemically Dependent Healthcare Practitioners. These are policy filled terms that translate to “what to do with doctors and health care workers in our health system who abuse drugs or alcohol.”
- Patients Right to Know
Colorado Citizens for Accountability has launched its new patient safety website: PatientsRightToKnow.org. It contains a U.S. map where you can find out what physician background reporting is available in your state.
- What you should ask your doctor
Consumer Reports Health continues its AdWatch series, with this analysis of those ubiquitous Cialis ads.
- Common sense shouldn’t take two years – unless it’s the FDA
Should it really take two years to study a common-sense proposal to make drug ads better for consumers? Not unless it’s the Food and Drug Administration, which has taken foot-dragging to new heights
- Free drug samples hardly help the poor
If you are poor, uninsured, non-English speaking, or an ethnic or racial minority, you are less likely to receive free drug samples, according to a first of its kind study by Harvard researchers at the Cambridge Health Alliance.
- New bill introduced in Senate: Drug co’s must report how much they pay docs
Last week Senator Grassley of Iowa introduced The Physician Payments Sunshine Act in the Senate that would require drug companies to…
- Doctors, medical staff on drugs put patients at risk Source: USA Today (Wednesday April 16, 2014)
A USA TODAY review shows more than 100,000 doctors, nurses, medical technicians and health care aides are abusing or dependent on prescription drugs in a given year, putting patients at risk.
- 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.
- West Penn Allegheny Health System will pay $1.5M for alleged kickback scheme Source: TribLive (Wednesday March 19, 2014)
“West Penn Allegheny Health System will pay a $1.5 million penalty to settle federal allegations that it paid kickbacks to doctors in exchange for patient referrals.”
- How to find out if your doctor is in good standing. It takes some digging. Source: Washington Post (Monday February 24, 2014)
Suggestions for finding information on your doctor’s track record from Washington Post.
- Former hospital owner will say he bribed senator Source: UT San Diego (Friday February 21, 2014)
“LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former owner of a tiny orthopedic hospital with an unusually heavy roster of spinal surgery patients was charged Friday with health care fraud in a $500 million scheme to defraud workers’ compensation insurance providers with the help of a California state senator.”
- Former Owner of Long Beach Hospital Charged in Health Care Fraud Scheme That Paid Tens of Millions of Dollars in Kickbacks for Referrals for Spinal Surgeries Billed to Workers’ Comp Programs Source: FBI (Friday February 21, 2014)
FBI: “The former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach was charged today in a long-running health care fraud scheme that involved tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks in exchange for referrals of thousands of patients who received spinal surgeries.”
- When a University Hospital Backs a Surgical Robot, Controversy Ensues Source: Truthout (Tuesday February 18, 2014)
ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein writes this op-ed describing a full-page ad for the da Vinci surgical robot featuring members of a surgery team at an IL university hospital. This ad was spotted a couple Sundays ago by former hospital executive, Paul Levy, in the New York Times magazine. Following controversy, the university asked the robot device maker to suspend the ad.
- Dispute with top surgeon throws UA's prestigous transplant programs into turmoil Source: Arizona Daily Star (Sunday January 19, 2014)
Dispute with top surgeon exposes allegations of “serious problems with transplant record-keeping” at a Arizona hospital.
- How to research your doctor's ratings and record Source: Los Angeles Times (Sunday February 9, 2014)
Where can California consumers go to find information about their doctors? Patient safety advocate Michele Monserratt-Ramos, a member of Consumers Union’s activist network, said consumers should look beyond a doctor’s resume and investigate civil and criminal records, although some important information isn’t available to the public. Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center Director, Dr. John Santa, said to be wary of doctor rating websites that rely on a small sample of patients.
- In A Major Shift, Medicare Wants Power to Ban Harmful Prescribers Source: ProPublica (Monday January 6, 2014)
ProPublica reports that Medicare has issued a proposed rule that would give the agency the “authority to kick out physicians and other providers who engage in abusive prescribing. It could also take such action if providers’ licenses have been suspended or revoked by state regulators or if they were restricted from prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances.”
- ‘Let the Crime Spree Begin’: How Fraud Flourishes in Medicare’s Drug Plan Source: ProPublica (Thursday December 19, 2013)
ProPublica identified scores of doctors whose prescribing in Medicare’s drug program bore the hallmarks of fraud
- Bangor doctor closes practice in wake of employee’s billing fraud Source: Bangor Daily News (Tuesday December 31, 2014)
Bangor Daily News reports: “A Bangor gynecologist has abruptly shuttered his women’s health center after settling a federal complaint over false billing and filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.”
- When Bacteria Can No Longer Be Stopped Source: New York Times (Sunday December 29, 2013)
Read the experts discuss solutions to antibiotic resistance from creating new antibiotics to reducing the over-prescribing of antibiotics.
- Report: California Earns 'C' Grade for Physician Quality Data Source: California Healthline (Tuesday December 10, 2013)
California has received a “C” grade for the accessibility of data on physician quality, according to a national report released Tuesday by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Kaiser Health News’ “Capsules” reports.
- 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.
- Money May Be Motivating Doctors To Do More C-Sections Source: NPR (Friday August 30, 2013)
NPR reports: “Obstetricians perform more cesarean sections when there are financial incentives to do so, according to a new study that explores links between economic incentives and medical decision-making during childbirth.”
- Anatomy of a Tragedy Source: Texas Observer (Saturday September 28, 2013)
Saul Elbein at The Texas Observer writes that it took more than a year for the Texas Medical Board to stop a doctor who had numerous complaints against him for patient deaths and botched surgeries.
- Medical board suspends doctor faulted in Lap-Band surgery death Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday August 22, 2013)
The Medical Board of California has suspended the license of an anesthesiologist faulted in the care of a patient who died after weight-loss surgery at a clinic tied to the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign.
- Lap-Band surgery center tied to 1-800-GET-THIN loses accreditation Source: Los Angeles Times (Wednesday August 21, 2013)
Following patient deaths, a Beverly Hills lap-band outpatient surgery center has lost its accreditation, which under California law, prohibits the center from performing surgeries on patients under general anesthesia. The operators of these lap-band surgery centers have disciplinary records with the California Medical Board and face a joint criminal investigation involving both state and federal law enforcement agencies.
- USA Today: Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct Source: USA Today (Tuesday August 20, 2013)
USA Today’s Peter Eisler and Barbara Hansen investigate how docs with serious misconduct records are able to keep practicing
- Doctors still practicing despite serious misconduct Source: 9news (Wednesday August 21, 2013)
Safe Patient network member, Patty Snolnik (founder of Colorado’s Citizens for Patient Safety) interviewed by 9news about doctors who are allowed to operate on patients despite having a history of harming patients. Patty’s son Michael was subject to unnecessary brain surgery which led to his death. Patty now advocates for transparency in medical boards and other healing arts boards so consumers have information about their doctors.
- Medical board rankings could vanish Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Monday August 19, 2013)
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Federation of State Medical Boards has stopped releasing state-by-state medical board disciplinary reports this year, and plans to issue a general report instead. Wisconsin ranks low in Public Citizen’s report on taking serious disciplinary action against doctors but lack of state-by-state data will stop enabling the rankings.
- Surgeon accuses St. Albans hospital of deliberately infecting his patients Source: VTDigger (Monday August 12, 2013)
Surgeon accuses hospital of deliberately infecting his parents.
- Former Cleveland Clinic doctor accused of raping patient at Lakewood Hospital Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (Friday July 19, 2013)
Ohio anesthesiologist accused of sexually assaulting patients pleads not guilty.
- Spine surgeon indicted on 10 federal counts, faces 125 years Source: WLWT (Thursday August 8, 2013)
An Ohio doctor was indicted on 10 counts of unnecessarily performing spinal surgeries on patients and billing private and public health insurance companies for millions of dollars of fraudulent services. According to the indictment, as a result of this doctor’s procedures, some of his patients suffered serious injuries.
- Prison Sterilization Report Prompts Call For Inquiry In California Source: NPR (Thursday July 11, 2013)
California lawmakers are calling for an investigation into allegations that 148 female prisoners underwent tubal ligation surgeries without the state’s required approval. Some inmates said they had been pressured into undergoing the sterilization procedure, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
- Studies: Tired surgeons a risk to patient safety Source: Poughkeepsie Journal (Sunday July 21, 2013)
While there are no regulations regarding how many operations an orthopedic surgeon can perform in a given day, multiple studies and articles show that a fatigued surgeon may put patients at risk.
- Few doctors disciplined for care issues or negligence, analysis shows Source: Tulsa World (Sunday July 14, 2013)
“Since Jan. 1, 2011, the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision has taken 196 disciplinary actions against doctors, a Tulsa World analysis of board data shows. Of those, only seven actions involved quality of care, negligence or incompetence by the doctor, records show. “
- Senator Asks States If They Alert Medicare to Problem Physicians Source: Propublica (Friday June 28, 2013)
Senator Grassley sent letters to all 50 states this week asking if they alert the federal government when they do. This information could be used by Medicare to help identify fraud.
- Tulsa doctor's disciplinary history comes to light after woman dies under his care Source: Tulsa World (Sunday June 23, 2013)
Finding her mother naked, blood running from her mouth, in the fetal position, Diane Lopp investigated and was horrified to find her mother’s doctor had a long history of bad medical care. The doctor, Kenneth Kirk, also has a long history of drug addiction and other addictions he does not seem able to control. Yet, the Oklahoma medical board had found it justifiable to reinstate the doctor’s license which ultimately led to the unconscionable treatment of Diane Lopp’s mother and other victims of the doctor.
- Complaints against Oklahoma doctors increase with new online form Source: News OK (Sunday June 23, 2013)
A new online tool designed to help people lodge complaints against medical doctors and other health care professionals is working, an official said during a recent Oklahoma Medical Board meeting.
- State's doctor discipline process hampered by delays Source: CT Post (Monday June 17, 2013)
“A review of disciplinary decisions in the past 18 months shows that the medical board rarely acts within a year of an incident — and sometimes the process takes as long as four years, with physicians still practicing freely in the interim.” Consumers Union Safe Patient Project member and CT medical board member, Jean Rexford, quoted in the article.
- Reviews Highlight Harmful Prescriptions And Unnecessary Surgeries Source: Kaiser Health News (Thursday June 20, 2013)
Kaiser Health News Daily Report: “ProPublica takes a look at a Medicare drug program report detailing the prescription writing practices of some physicians while USA Today reports on its findings regarding unnecessary surgeries based on a review of government records and medical databases.”
- UPDATE 1-U.S. federal judge lifts ban on public access to Medicare data Source: Reuters (Friday May 31, 2013)
Amazing step forward for transparency. Doctors and hospitals that overtreat can be identified publicly now.
- Slap: University Says It Sued Reporter to Protect Patients Source: Reporting on Health (Friday June 7, 2013)
Reporting on Health’s Bill Heisel does Q & A with the University of Kentucky’s executive director for public relations and marketing., on the suing of one of its own public radio reporters who was trying to gain access to information about its children’s hospital.
- Florida Board of Medicine revokes 2 doctors' medical licenses Source: Tampa Bay Times (Friday June 7, 2013)
The Florida Medical Board recently revoked the licenses of two physicians and fined another.
- Sunlight as Disinfectant — New Rules on Disclosure of Industry Payments to Physicians Source: New England Journal of Medicine (Thursday May 30, 2013)
Medicare will begin reporting to the public payments to physicians from drug and medical device companies and medical suppliers starting September, 2014.
- Rocklin doctor's license suspended Source: Sacramento Business Journal (Thursday May 2, 2013)
Rocklin doctor has license suspended after a court found that her practicing medicine “will endanger the public health, safety and welfare.”
- California's medical board backs some prescription-drug-abuse reforms Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday April 26, 2013)
LA Times reports: “The Medical Board of California on Friday embraced a host of reforms aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and reducing overdose deaths but balked at a proposal to strip it of its authority to investigate physician misconduct.”
- Michael Hiltzik, LA Times: Legislature should pull plug on inept Medical Board of California Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday April 26, 2013)
Michael Hiltzik of LA Times: “Legislators should sunset the medical board’s do-nothing, know-nothing membership and executive director, and start over fresh.”
- Angel of Death: Killer nurse stopped, but not soon enough Source: CBS News (Sunday April 28, 2013)
Nearly all of the hospitals ex-nurse Charles Cullen worked at were suspicious of the serial killer. So why did his career last 16 years? Steve Kroft reports.
- Q&A: Are medi-spas safe for laser hair removal and other cosmetic procedures? Source: Consumer Reports (Monday April 22, 2013)
Learn about the potential health risks associated with unsupervised medi-spas.
- Medical Board of California could lose investigative powers Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday April 25, 2013)
Legislators propose turning over investigations of doctors to the state attorney general’s office, leaving the board to deal with licensing.
- Report: San Diego Chargers team physician has job despite issues Source: Sporting News (Wednesday April 24, 2013)
San Diego Chargers team physician has a history of lawsuits filed against him by former patients, and drinking and driving citations, Sporting News reports.
- Jury finds McKinney chiropractor guilty of sexual misconduct Source: Dallas Morning News (Wednesday April 24, 2013)
“A McKinney chiropractor was found guilty of multiple charges of sexual misconduct late Tuesday after a marathon session by jurors that lasted nearly 15 hours.”
- Legislators threaten to kill state medical board Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday April 11, 2013)
Lawmakers warn that they will let the agency expire next year if it doesn’t become more aggressive in taking action against dangerous doctors.
- How many bad doctors are there? Source: Philip Levitt M.D. (Wednesday April 17, 2013)
Dr. Philip Levitt looks at data from the National Practitioner Data Bank and an Australian study to answer “how many bad doctors are there?”
- Bellaire doctor's license revoked due to drinking, medical board says Source: Click2Houston (Monday April 8, 2013)
Texas Medical Board temporarily suspends doctor’s license due to his excessive drinking
- Physician faces charges after years of allegations, lawsuits in multiple states Source: Modern Healthcare (Tuesday April 16, 2013)
Modern Healthcare reports on a doctor in jail after years of hospital sanctions and dubious pain-clinic jobs. But he’s still licensed in Ga. Consumers Union Safe Patient Project policy analyst, Suzanne Henry, quoted.
- Medical Malpractice: Scant Discipline for Patient Injury, Death in Wisconsin
How to investigate your state medical examiner board
- Doctor-pharma ties defended on eve of pay reporting mandate Source: American Medical News (Monday March 25, 2013)
Starting in August, pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers must begin tracking physician payments and gifts worth as little as $10. Public disclosure of these so-called transfers of value in a searchable federal government database starts Sept. 30, 2014.
- Malpractice sought after surgeon operates on wrong eye Source: KATU (Thursday March 14, 2013)
Physician operates on wrong eye; will settle but not publicly admit mistake
- Doctor who runs Bangor Women’s HealthCare will pay almost $300,000 to settle fed complaint Source: Bangor Daily News (Wednesday March 13, 2013)
A local board-certified gynecologist who operates three medical facilities for women’s health has agreed to pay almost $300,000 to settle a federal complaint over improper billing of Medicare and MaineCare.
- Medical Malpractice: Scant Discipline for Patient Injury, Death in Wisconsin Source: Reporting on Health (Friday March 22, 2013)
David Wahlberg covers the scant discipline for patient injury, death in Wisconsin
- Newark-based physician’s medical license suspended after 55 alleged malpractice cases Source: The Review (Monday March 18, 2013)
It took 55 malpractice cases and a death to get a Delaware physician’s license suspended for 3 yrs
- Oregon medical error mediation bill set to become law Source: Health care finance news (Thursday March 14, 2013)
New law attempts to settle medical error issues through mediation.
- Medical Board of California failing to implement new surgery center law designed to inform consumers Source: Southern California Public Radio (Monday March 11, 2013)
The Medical Board of California has largely failed to implement key provisions of a law intended, in part, to provide consumers with better information about physician-owned, outpatient surgery centers that the agency is responsible for regulating, KPCC has found. Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project quoted.
- Herbalife cozies up with UCLA Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday February 22, 2013)
Los Angeles Times: “UCLA’s Medical School has an unusually close relationship with Herbalife, which constantly promotes its connection to doctors there. Where do sensible ideas end and the shilling for Herbalife begin?”
- Legal drugs, deadly outcomes (Dying for Relief, a Times Investigation) Source: Los Angeles Times (Sunday November 11, 2012)
Prescription overdoses kill more people than heroin and cocaine. An L.A. Times review of coroners’ records finds that drugs prescribed by a small number of doctors caused or contributed to a disproportionate number of deaths.
- Consumer group calls for laws to boost monitoring of doctors Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday February 7, 2013)
Consumer Watchdog says reforms are needed to reduce the rising number of prescription drug overdoses and to rein in incompetent and corrupt physicians.
- Consumer Watchdog Seeks Stronger Oversight of Rx Overprescribing Source: California Healthline (Thursday February 7, 2013)
In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Wednesday, Consumer Watchdog called for legislation to improve monitoring of physicians who overprescribe medications, the Los Angeles Times reports. The letter was prompted by a Times investigation that found the state’s oversight of such physicians to be lacking (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 2/7).
- Hollywood cardiologist’s ties with St. Jude sales rep raises red flags Source: Miami Herald (Saturday February 2, 2013)
Hollywood doctor regularly implants St. Jude pacemakers in his patients, generating more than half a million sales for the company last year. This doctor also happens to be a business partner with a St. Jude sales rep in two corporations that run yogurt shops. This raises some conflict of interest questions in the ongoing debate over a pending disclosure policy in Congress that would more clearly reveal financial ties between doctors and the healthcare industry.
- Video: The Doctors interview of Patty Skolnik, Citizens For Patient Safety Source: RGJ.com (Thursday January 31, 2013)
Patty and David Skolnik tragically lost their only son, Michael, from complications after a brain surgery. Since Michael’s death, Patty founded Citizens for Patient Safety, an organization committed to take action to protect our health and safety from medical errors.
- Medical Board says lack of money, authority ties hands and may attract subpar physicians to state Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Tuesday January 29, 2013)
Part 3 of a three-day State Journal special investigation on doctor discipline in Wisconsin: “Wisconsin Medical Board members say they’d like to be tougher on doctors but don’t have the authority or money to do so.”
- Some doctors not disciplined, even following large malpractice settlements Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Monday January 28, 2013)
Part 2 of a three-day State Journal special investigation on doctor discipline in Wisconsin: “Even in cases where a jury gives the patient a large award, the state may not take any disciplinary action against the doctor.”
- Wisconsin doctors who make mistakes often don't face serious consequences Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Sunday January 27, 2013)
A three-day State Journal special investigation on doctor discipline. Part 1: “Wisconsin rarely suspends or revokes medical licenses, leading some to question if the state does enough to ensure patient safety.”
The State Journal created a database with details of all 218 cases for which the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board disciplined doctors from 2010 to 2012. More than half of the doctors disciplined received reprimands, warnings that go on their records but don’t limit their practices.
- Neurosurgeon targeted in malpractice litigation sues Ventura hospital, area doctor Source: Ventura County Star (Monday January 14, 2013)
Ventura County Star reports on a neurosurgeon who was sued for malpractice 20 times in California and had his hospital privileges suspended there. The suits claim “he performed overly aggressive back surgeries that often ended in infection and sometimes corrective surgery.” The surgeon moved to Michigan to continue practicing, denies malpractice, and says his suspension was a sham to avoid having to pay him a big bonus.
- IL: Agency that polices doctors to slash staff Source: Chicago Tribune (Friday January 11, 2013)
The Illinois agency that license doctors estimates that it will take up to 18 months to renew a license.
- Op-ed: The culture of health-care secrecy harms patients Source: Seattle Times (Wednesday December 26, 2012)
A former nurse writes about the inside knowledge she had about a doctors and other nurses concerning their performance history, including medical errors. But patients don’t have access to that same information.
- Medicare Lists Hospital Quality Bonuses Source: Medpage Today (Saturday December 22, 2012)
“The revised payments, which will begin in January, mark the federal government’s most extensive effort yet to hold hospitals financially accountable for what happens to patients.”
- Why Rating Your Doctor Is Bad For Your Health Source: Forbes (Monday January 21, 2013)
Kai Falkenberg for Forbes: “Many doctors, in order to get high ratings (and a higher salary), overprescribe and overtest, just to “satisfy” patients, who probably aren’t qualified to judge their care. And there’s a financial cost, as flawed survey methods and the decisions they induce, produce billions more in waste.”
- Law bans gag clauses in settlements with licensed professionals Source: California Watch (Monday December 10, 2012)
Californians who sue licensed professionals, such as contractors or nurses, will no longer be subjected to legal settlements that ban them from talking to state officials investigating misconduct when a new law takes effect in January.
- Report: reckless prescribing common in Calif. Source: Associated Press (Sunday December 9, 2012)
Associated Press reports: California patients are at risk from reckless prescribing by doctors because of a lack of oversight at the state Medical Board, an investigation has found.
- Report: Calif. Medical Board Oversight of Risky Prescribing Is Lacking Source: California Healthline (Monday December 10, 2012)
Patients are put at risk by physicians who overprescribe medications because of a lack of oversight by the Medical Board of California, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
- More Technology Puts Doctors in Ethical Bind Source: FOXBusiness (Friday December 7, 2012)
A recent Medscape survey reveals how more than 24,000 U.S. physicians would react when faced with ethical considerations that potentially challenge putting the patient first. The results show doctors are divided.
- Merced dentist charged with abusing 4 patients Source: Sacramento Bee (Wednesday November 28, 2012)
A Central California dentist is facing charges that he sexually abused four female patients – at least one while she was sedated.
- Call Kurtis: Groupon Issues MedSpa Customers Refunds After Call Kurtis Investigation Source: CBS Sacramento (Wednesday November 14, 2012)
Groupon has pulled the plug on deals offered by a Rocklin cosmetic surgeon exposed in a Nov. 1 Call Kurtis investigation.
- Doctors appeal rulings that diminish error reporting protections Source: American Medical News (Monday November 19, 2012)
KY court cases calls into question medical error reporting in Kentucky.
- Greendale Pediatrician Surrenders License After Identified as Pedophile Source: Greendale Patch (Thursday November 1, 2012)
A Greendale pediatrician surrendered his medical license after he was identified as a child sex offender under an investigation of confidential records of the Boy Scouts of America.
- Video: Brian Goldman: Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that? Source: TED (Sunday January 1, 2011)
Every doctor makes mistakes. But, says physician Brian Goldman, medicine’s culture of denial (and shame) keeps doctors from ever talking about those mistakes, or using them to learn and improve. Telling stories from his own long practice, he calls on doctors to start talking about being wrong. (Filmed at TEDxToronto.)
- Call Kurtis Investigates: Cosmetic Surgeon Accused of Leaving Patients Deformed Source: CBS Sacramento (Thursday November 1, 2012)
Patients say they were left deformed, even paralyzed at the hands of a Rocklin gynecologist turned cosmetic surgeon, a CBS13 Call Kurtis investigation has revealed.
- North Valley dentist arrested for sex crime Source: CBS 47 (Wednesday October 31, 2012)
CA dentist arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a patient. The CA Department of Consumers Affairs website allows you to looking into a dentist’s history before going to them: http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=DDS&p_qte_pgm_code=3610
- Meningitis outbreak tests physician trust in compounding pharmacies Source: American Medical News (Monday October 29, 2012)
“Unlike drugmakers such as Pfizer that must follow FDA-specified manufacturing practices, the safety and quality of compounding pharmacies is regulated by state pharmacy boards.”
- Flaws found in state consumer protection enforcement Source: OC Register (Friday October 26, 2012)
An Orange County Register investigation has found that the state’s network of 36 consumer protection agencies has systemic flaws that may actually encourage lenient settlements and, ultimately, undermine public safety. A Register analysis of three years of enforcement proceedings found that three of the state’s key health care boards agreed to penalties below their own recommendations in dozens of cases where patients had been killed or permanently injured.
- Doctor in Repeat-Surgery Probe Gives Up License Source: Wall Street Journal (Thursday October 11, 2012)
A Portland, Ore., neurosurgeon who performed an unusual number of repeat spinal operations on patients has surrendered his medical license, ending an 18-month investigation by the state’s medical board.
- Looking for a good doctor? Good luck Source: Reuters (Thursday September 27, 2012)
Patients need outcomes data, not just current info on whether doctors follow guidelines. Consumer Reports quoted.
- Letter to the the Secretary of Health and Human Services Regarding Professional Society Reporting to the National Practitioner Data Bank Source: Public Citizen (Thursday September 27, 2012)
For the sake of patient safety, Public Citizen urges HHS to take the necessary action to either amend the HHS regulations at 45 C.F.R. part 60 or the department’s policy interpretation of these regulations to stipulate that: (a) a professional society’s initiation of an investigation under a formal peer-review process into allegations of ethical misconduct by a society member is a “professional review action,” and (b) the voluntary resignation from society membership in response to such an investigation is an action that “adversely affects the membership of a physician in the society” and, as such, must be reported to the NPDB.
- When your surgeon isn't the one you expected Source: Chicago Tribune (Sunday September 23, 2012)
Some patients painstakingly vet their surgeons to find a highly skilled professional to perform their operation, only to discover later that they didn’t get the person they wanted or expected.
- Couple seek changes from medical board after baby's stillbirth Source: North County Times (Wednesday September 19, 2012)
The way one Cardiff couple see it, patients shouldn’t have to wait months to find out that their doctor has accepted discipline from the state medical board.
- Supreme Court to decide whether Duluth doctor gets jury trial Source: Duluth News Tribune (Tuesday September 4, 2012)
The Minnesota Supreme Court heard the case of a Duluth neurologist Tuesday who sued a patient’s son after being criticized on rate-your-doctor websites for his bedside manner.
- Secret Treatment Pathway for Addicted Doctors Won’t Protect Patients Source: Reporting on Health (Monday September 3, 2012)
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert guest blogs for Reporting on Health about a CA plan to create a pathway that would allow physicians with substance abuse problems to seek treatment without any impact on their medical license.
- Letter: Discipline actions must be detailed Source: Times Union (Saturday August 25, 2012)
Arthur Levin, MPH of Center for Medical Consumers and Russ Haven of NYPIRG write a letter to the editor about problems with oversight of NY doctors.
- Controversy surrounds effort to help addicted doctors, protect patients Source: Sacramento Bee (Friday August 24, 2012)
Consumer advocates question a CA bill that would protect doctors who have addiction issues, while keeping patients in the dark. Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, quoted.
- Texas Medical Board Failing to Discipline Dangerous Doctors Source: Public Citizen (Wednesday August 22, 2012)
459 Physicians Have Been Sanctioned by Texas Hospitals and Other Health Care Institutions But Not Disciplined by the State Medical Board
- State suing doctor over billing tactics Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday August 17, 2012)
The state of CA is suing a doctor for her aggressive billing practices, alleging that she collected or attempted to collect more from patients than insurance companies paid, a practice known as balance billing. Meanwhile, the California Medical Board, which licenses doctors, has filed a separate accusation against this doctor, alleging that she was illegally balance billing. In its petition to revoke her medical license, the board also accused her of engaging in unprofessional conduct by requiring patients visiting emergency rooms to sign agreements to pay her costs if their insurance companies didn’t.
- NY medical board gets softer on doctors Source: Times Union (Sunday August 19, 2012)
A Times Union analysis of state Office of Professional Medical Conduct’s annual reports compared the agency’s activity between 1992-2001 to 2002-2011 and found that serious punishments that result in the loss of a doctor’s license are dropping, while censure/reprimands are increasing.
- The Pulse Health and hospital news in New York and the Capital Region E-mail | Twitter | Facebook | About | Send me a tip NY medical board gets softer on doctors Source: Times Union (Sunday August 19, 2012)
Complaints have increased but disciplinary actions against doctors has not.
- DEA targets local doctor in prescription painkiller probe Source: Buffalo News (Friday August 10, 2012)
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration charges NY doctor with unlawful distribution of controlled substances.
- LA doctor accused of videotaping naked patients Source: Associated Press (Thursday August 2, 2012)
California doctor criminally charged with secretly videotaping two patients who had undressed for examinations, according to CA medical board officials.
- Many doctors treating state's prisoners have disciplinary records themselves Source: The Times-Picayune (Sunday July 29, 2012)
Of the 15 doctors working full-time at Louisiana state prisons, nearly two-thirds have been disciplined by the state medical board for issues ranging from pedophilia to substance abuse to dealing methamphetamines.
- Two Arms, Two Choices: If Only I’d Known Then What I Know Now Source: Health Affairs (Wednesday August 1, 2012)
Disabled by faulty arm surgery and harmed by a hospital-acquired infection, a patient wishes he’d been better informed. Article by Colorado patient safety advocate Kerry O’Connell for Health Affairs.
- Man accused in hepatitis C outbreak was fired from Arizona hospital Source: CNN (Friday July 27, 2012)
The man accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C at a New Hampshire hospital was fired from a job in Arizona two years ago after testing positive for cocaine and marijuana, a public relations agency for Arizona Heart Hospital said Thursday.
- An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable Source: New York Times (Wednesday July 11, 2012)
NYT reports on the medical harm story of Rory Staunton, a 12-year-old in New York who died of sepsis.
- Op Ed: The Boy Who Wanted to Fly Source: New York Times (Saturday July 14, 2012)
Story of medical error by Maureen Dowd.
- Cardiac Arrest: Hospital Refuses to Give Widow her Husband's Heart Source: ProPublica (Friday July 13, 2012)
Linda Carswell has been trying to get her husband’s heart so she can bury it with his body for eight years. Houston’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center won’t budge.
- An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable Source: NYT (Thursday July 12, 2012)
A 12 year old shows signs medical professionals would recognize as sepsis, a deadly blood infection, but in this case the sepsis was not recognized and treated resulting in an untimely, unnecessary death.
- Big Pharma’s Big Fines Source: ProPublica (Tuesday July 3, 2012)
Chart of unbelievably large fines paid by large pharmaceutical companies.
- Consumer Reports score Mass. physician practices Source: Boston Globe (Thursday May 31, 2012)
Consumer Reports magazine — long seen as an authority on the performance of automobiles, appliances, and air conditioners — is now rating a service commonly used but difficult to measure: your primary care doctor.
- Apology as Cure: Finding the Secret Ingredients to Make "Sorry" Really Work Source: Reporting on Health (Monday May 28, 2012)
Reporting on Health’s William Heisel follow up article on the debate over a current SorryWorks! proposal that would make it harder for medical boards to discipline doctors and harder for people to sue them if they say sorry.
- Apology as Cure: Dig into Data to Find Number of Patients Harmed Source: Reporting on Health (Thursday May 24, 2012)
Reporting on Health’s William Heisel lists three studies cited by Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project that offer a better estimate than the 1999 Institute of Medicine figure of the number of patients that are harmed every year by medical errors.
- Apology as Cure: Should Laws Change to Encourage Doctor to Admit Medical Errors? Source: Reporting on Health (Tuesday May 22, 2012)
Reporting on Health’s William Heisel offers a balanced view of the Sorry Works! proposal that would make it harder for medical boards to discipline doctors and harder for people to sue them if they say sorry. Consumers Union and a coalition of patient safety advocates say this proposal is ill-advised because it would it would leave the public even less well protected from medical malpractice than is the case today. It would hide the records of malpractice settlements from entities charged with a responsibility to review physicians’ backgrounds for the purpose of licensing, employment or hospital privileges.
- Say you’re sorry and get a pass? Source: Kansas City Star (Thursday May 17, 2012)
Consumers Union and a coalition of patient safety advocates raise questions about a new Sorry Works! campaign that wants a national doctor data bank to keep malpractice payments secret in many cases when doctors make apologies and disclosures. Further, the campaign wants doctors shielded from medical board discipline on these cases.
- New law will reveal more on doctors Source: Star Tribune (Saturday May 5, 2012)
Besides access to more data, patients will get quicker response to complaints. A bill that pushes the state medical board for more accountability and transparency is signed into law.
- Patty Skolnik pushes medical transparency legislation toward the federal level Source: Denver Westword Blogs (Friday March 23, 2012)
Patty Skolnik, founder of Colorado Citizens for Patient Safety profiled as a local Colorado activist for her work to make medical professionals’ histories public in honor of her son Michael, and her mission to make the medical system safer than how she found it.
- Doctor's suit tests limits of online criticism Source: Star Tribune (Saturday March 24, 2012)
Doctor sues unhappy consumer for online defamation, and now the case is pending before the Minnesota Supreme Court.
- Once a model, state medical board lags badly Source: Boston Globe (Monday March 19, 2012)
Doctor record secrecy is commonplace in Massachusetts, due to physician-friendly provisions in state law, the board’s policy of purging certain records, sometimes in violation of state law, and outdated technology.
- 15% of surgeons struggle with alcohol problems Source: American Medical News (Tuesday March 6, 2012)
Archives of Surgery study: 10% of surgeons made a major medical error in the last 3 months; 15% of surgeons struggle with alcohol problems
- Allergan Erases Doctor Payment Records Source: ProPublica (Wednesday February 1, 2012)
Drugmaker Allergan best known for its wrinkle-fighting drugs Botox and Juvederm, removes old reports of payments to doctors from its website. Allergan is among 12 pharmaceutical companies that post such payments to the web, either voluntarily or as a result of legal settlements with the U.S. government over allegations of improper marketing and illegal kickbacks to doctors.
- Senate Watchdog Targets High-Prescribing Medicaid Docs Source: ProPublica (Tuesday January 24, 2012)
Iowa Republican Charles Grassley sent letters to 34 states Monday asking what steps they had taken to investigate doctors whose prescribing of antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers to Medicaid patients far exceeds that of their peers. “When these drugs are prescribed to Medicaid patients, it is the American people who pay the price for over-prescription, abuse, and fraud,” wrote Senator Grassley.
- Secrecy protects doctors with long histories of problems Source: Kansas City Star (Saturday December 17, 2011)
Alan Bavley reports on the secrecy of the National Practitioner Data Bank and mentions Consumers Union’s poll results that found nearly nine in 10 people said the public should have full access to the database.
- An MS Patient Loses Trust When She Finds Out Her Doctor Is Paid By Drug Companies
As of 2013, a national physician payment database created under the Affordable Care Act will make such information available to all.
- Woman Waterboarded: Police Arrest Jermeller Steed and Cicely Reed For Mock-Drowning On Elderly Patient Source: Huffington Post (Monday November 21, 2011)
“Two nursing home employees in Georgia were arrested for allegedly attacking an elderly woman in a ‘manner similar to waterboarding,’ according to local police.”
- Consumer Group Wants Full Access to National Practitioner Data Base Source: HealthLeaders Media (Wednesday November 16, 2011)
HealthLeaders Media reports on Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project call to open the National Practitioner Data Bank to the public.
- Salisbury stent doctor sentenced to federal prison Source: Baltimore Sun (Thursday November 10, 2011)
Physician sentenced to federal prison for implanting unnecessary coronary stents in dozens of patients, then fraudulently billing insurers thousands for the work.
- Texas Doctor Pleads Guilty in Retaliation Case Source: ABC News (Tuesday November 8, 2011)
Texas doctor will spend two months in jail and be on probation for five years after pleading guilty to retaliating against two nurses who reported him to state medical regulators.
- Agency re-posts National Practitioner Data Bank file, but restrictions draw fire Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Wednesday November 9, 2011)
The Obama administration has reposted the Public Use Data File but with new restrictions that ProPublica journalist Charles Ornstein says are “unworkable and amount to a prior restraint.”
- Editorial: Obama shouldn't be hiding records on doctor errors Source: Sacramento Bee (Tuesday October 18, 2011)
The Obama administration should restore the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank for use by the public.
- Government Misses Deadline for Rules Forcing Disclosure of Industry Payments to Doctors Source: ProPublica (Wednesday October 12, 2011)
The federal government has yet to write rules — mandated as part of last year’s health-care law — that would force drug and medical-device companies to disclose their gifts, fees and payments to doctors.
- Editorial: Ferreting out fumbling physicians Source: The Providence Journal (Saturday October 8, 2011)
An editorial from the Providence Journal about the NPDB Public Use File
- Doctor who pleaded guilty to concealing fraud regains full license Source: Las Vegas Sun (Wednesday October 5, 2011)
Nevada Medical Board restores a doctor’s license after he pleaded guilty to concealing fraud in a malpractice case where the patient became paralyzed after a surgery he participated in. Yet another case of a licensing board protecting the licensee rather than the public.
- Grassley criticizes federal agency over removal of doctor discipline data Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Friday October 7, 2011)
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley sent a letter today to the Health Resources and Services Administration, criticizing its decision to remove a public version of the National Practitioner Data Bank, which has helped reporters and researchers to expose serious gaps in the oversight of physicians.
- Former Practitioner Data Banks official says HRSA ‘erroneously interpreting the law’ Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Monday October 3, 2011)
A retired National Practitioner Data Bank official (Robert Oshel) criticized a decision by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration for removing the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank from the agency’s website – a major development as journalism groups fight to restore access to the important tool.
- Journalists turn to Sebelius for access to National Practitioner Data Bank file Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Wednesday September 28, 2011)
Six journalism groups have appealed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to intervene in the dispute over the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank and restore access to this important data tool.
- New law bans anonymous complaints about doctors Source: Austin American-Statesman (Sunday September 18, 2011)
The new law will allow the Texas Medical Board to ignore complaints filed if the no specific identity is included in the complaint. Currently about 4% of all complaints filed with the Texas Medical Board are anonymous. The legislator who sponsored the bill also happens to be a doctor.
- Q&A with Journalist Alan Bavley: Keeping Track of Medical Malpractice Frequent Fliers Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday September 28, 2011)
William Heisel interviews Kansas City Star journalist, Alan Bavley, about tracking medical malpractice frequent fliers.
- Some of former Duluth doctor's Texas patients claim harm Source: Duluth News Tribune (Tuesday September 27, 2011)
Malpractice lawsuits in Texas have declined dramatically after a law passed liminting damages to $250,000. While these kinds of limits on lawsuits attract doctors to Texas, can the Texas Medical Board keep bad doctors from practicing in the state?
- Agency declines to restore public data Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Thursday September 22, 2011)
The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration resisted demands by three major journalism organizations for the immediate restoration of a Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank, a tool that reporters have used to expose lapses in oversight of troubled physicians.
- The government helps hide malpractice? Source: ZDNet Health (Friday September 16, 2011)
Journalism groups cry out against government shutdown of public database crucial to malpractice oversight.
- We Are All Alan Bavley: How to Get HRSA's Attention on Doctor Database Source: Reporting on Health (Monday September 19, 2011)
Who is Alan Bavley? Read this article to find out.
- Kansas City Star: Stop trying to protect dangerous doctors Source: Kansas City Star (Saturday September 17, 2011)
“President Barack Obama’s administration has gone overboard in trying to protect physicians from the public’s right to glean essential information about their doctors.”
- New law bans anonymous complaints about doctors Source: American-Statesman (Sunday September 18, 2011)
A law that took effect this month bars the Texas Medical Board from considering complaints against doctors if they come from anonymous sources.
- US data on 'bad doctors' closed to the public Source: MSNBC (Thursday September 15, 2011)
The Obama administration has closed public access to its database of disciplinary action against doctors and other medical professionals, basically because reporters were getting too good at using it.
- Doctors Avoid Penalties in Suits Against Medical Firms Source: ProPublica (Friday September 16, 2011)
At least 15 drug and medical-device companies have paid $6.5 billion since 2008 to settle accusations of marketing fraud or kickbacks. However, none of the more than 75 doctors named as participants were sanctioned, despite allegations of fraud or of conduct that put patients at risk, a review by ProPublica found.
- Obama's HHS shuts down public access to doctor malpractice data Source: Kansas City Star (Tuesday September 13, 2011)
The Kansas City Star reports on the HHS taking down the National Practitioner Data Bank Public Use File. Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project quoted. A Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration spokesman says the file is likely to be down for 6 months or more and may not return in the same format.
- National doctor database goes dark over privacy concerns Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Monday September 12, 2011)
The Health Resources and Services Administration has removed the Public Use File from the National Practitioner Data Bank’s website because of confidentiality concerns.
- Missouri patients can now find out more about their doctors Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch (Friday September 9, 2011)
A new law will give Missouri residents more information about their doctor, including disciplianary actions and license revocations in other states.
- Doctors with histories of alleged malpractice often go undisciplined Source: The Kansas City Star (Saturday September 3, 2011)
The Star found about 200 doctors who have practiced in Kansas or Missouri since 1990 and have had five or more malpractice case payments made on their behalf, without ever being disciplined by the state’s board. And although the two states’ boards have access to malpractice claims information from several sources, they don’t make it available to the public — unlike the boards in many other states.
- How Hospitals Harm Us Source: Daily Beast (Wednesday August 31, 2011)
Effective and disturbing graphics and statistics on hospital patient safety performance. (Medical Billing and Coding)
- Most pill-mill doctors ‘clear, active’ Source: Healthnews Florida (Friday August 26, 2011)
Florida doctors who have been making millions prescribing narcotics still have a status of clear and active (able to practice medicine) on the Department of Health’s website.
- Parkland Officials Talk About Critical Report Source: KERA (Thursday August 18, 2011)
Parkland Hospital were cited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) for having deficiencies in infection control and emergency room care.
- Doctors Take Aim At Antibiotic Resistance From Factory Farming Source: Huffington Post (Tuesday August 16, 2011)
The wide and questionable use of antibiotics in animal factory farming is contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans and a need to create new antibiotics and/or control the use of current antibiotics. Time is running out.
- Duluth reporters use malpractice database to track doc’s settlements Source: Duluth News Tribune (Wednesday June 15, 2011)
Two reporters use the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal database that tracks malpractice cases, to find settlement amounts for medical lawsuits.
- California medical board fails to discipline 710 troubled doctors Source: Los Angeles Times (Wednesday August 10, 2011)
Of the California doctors who escaped state discipline, 35% had more than one disciplinary action from another entity, according to the Public Citizen report.
- New law brings Illinois doctor website back online Source: Associated Press (Tuesday August 9, 2011)
Consumers will be able to see whether a doctor has been disciplined in Illinois or in another state. Malpractice judgments and settlements going back five years will be posted, as will updates as new cases are decided. If a doctor appeals a court judgment, the doctor’s profile will note the appeal.
- California Is Delinquent in Disciplining Dangerous Doctors Source: Public Citizen (Tuesday August 9, 2011)
Public Citizen report: 710 Doctors Escaped Medical Board Action, Including 102 Considered an ‘Immediate Threat to Health and Safety’
- Doctor accused of sexually abusing hospital patients in The Dalles Source: The Oregonian (Wednesday August 3, 2011)
A hospital anesthesiologist in The Dalles was accused of sexually abusing two female patients in an indictment Wednesday by a Wasco County grand jury.
- Eastern Shore doctor convicted of criminal charges in stent case Source: Baltimore Sun (Tuesday July 26, 2011)
A federal jury convicted a retired Eastern Shore cardiologist Tuesday of health care fraud and related charges for placing unnecessary coronary stents in the arteries of dozens of patients, then billing private and public insurers hundreds of thousands of dollars for the procedures.
- Nixon signs law to help Missouri discipline dangerous doctors Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Wednesday July 13, 2011)
A new state law will allow patients to learn more about their doctors’ backgrounds and give the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts increased power to discipline incompetent physicians. Consumers Union worked with the media and did an online action in support of the bill, asking MO activists to send letters of support.
- First-Year Medical Residents Must Follow New Sleep-Related Rules Source: KTVU San Francisco (Friday July 1, 2011)
New rules require that first-year residents can only work up to 16 hours in a row, down from 30 hours. They must have a supervisor on site and they must have at least eight hours off between shifts.
- Behind the board: How a flawed system jeopardizes patient safety Source: Greenwich Time (Saturday June 4, 2011)
Jean Rexford, executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, comments on the failure of the state medical board at protecting CT patients from dangerous doctors.
- Intent to Harm Source: Texas Observer (Thursday March 17, 2011)
The new doctor in town was friendly, popular—and dangerous. Especially to the nurses who reported his bizarre treatments.
- Austin doctor's license suspended for continued 'threat to the public welfare' Source: Austin Business Journal (Tuesday May 17, 2011)
Austin physician loses his medical license after the Texas Medical Board said he “poses a continuing threat to the public welfare.”
- Old Boys Network (audio) Source: This American Life (Friday June 3, 2011)
Nurses at a small Texas hospital report a well-connected doctor for dangerous medical practices, and find themselves under arrest.
- Oversight of doctors fails to alert consumers to those who have been disciplined
Investigative reporting on problem doctors who slip under the public radar.
- In Texas, former Duluth surgeon may be sanction-free Source: Duluth News Tribune (Tuesday May 31, 2011)
Doctor who was disciplined in Minnesota for allegedly harming patients doesn’t have to comply with MN sanctions in order to keep practicing medicine in another state.
- Patients' Right to Know Act passes Assembly Source: Chicago Tribune (Tuesday May 17, 2011)
Law would make criminal convictions, malpractice payments public
- CT: Sex Offender Doc Allowed To Resume Practice Source: New Haven Independent (Tuesday May 17, 2011)
Connecticut Medical Examining Board recently voted to allow a Stamford physician to resume practicing medicine in the state. Berken is a registered sex offender in Connecticut and New York
- Legislature sends doctor discipline bill to governor Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Saturday May 14, 2011)
On Friday, the Missouri Legislature sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill that would give the board more power to suspend incompetent and impaired doctors and provide patients with more information about their doctors. The reforms were inspired by a Post-Dispatch investigation last year that found the state’s policing of doctors to be among the nation’s most lax and least transparent.
- Bill would post every physician's Medicare billing data on Internet Source: American Medical News (Monday April 4, 2011)
A Senate bill aimed at curtailing Medicare fraud would publish physician billing data online, letting viewers determine how much individual doctors earn annually from the program.
- States eye public access to more doctor disciplinary records Source: American Medical News (Monday May 9, 2011)
The amount of information about physicians’ backgrounds varies from state to state, and many things are hidden from the public. More states are pushing for transparency laws that would give patients and family members greater access to medical board information and the complaint process.
- Medical Board of California, go public with your pain Source: Reporting on Health (Friday May 6, 2011)
William Heisel on the Medical Board of California: “The board’s members should make a cogent public case for a better-funded, more nimble and more accountable board. “
- Influencing Doctors Source: KQED (Friday May 6, 2011)
Audio interview featuring ProPublica journalist Charles Ornstein on the drug and medical device industry’s heavy presence at medical society conventions.
- Financial Ties Bind Medical Societies to Drug and Device Makers Source: ProPublica (Thursday May 5, 2011)
ProPublica investigation reveals nearly half of the Heart Rhythm Society’s annual revenues come from corporate sponsorships, exhibits or grants. Last year corporate sponsors spent $5 million on product placement at one cardiologists’ conference.
- Board Disciplines 3 Doctors Source: New York Times (Tuesday May 3, 2011)
The Board of Medical Examiners in New Jersey, which is responsible for licensing doctors practicing in the state, said on Tuesday that it had disciplined three orthopedic surgeons because they did not disclose their personal financial interests in the success of an artificial spinal disk they were studying in clinical trials that were used by federal regulators to approve the disk.
- Hospitals must change surgical scrub culture from within Source: William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories (Wednesday April 27, 2011)
Julia Hallisy, cofounder of The Empowered Patient Coalition, writes about surgical scrubs transferring infections when they are worn outside the hospital
- New law requires transparency from boards that discipline doctors Source: Seattle Times (Friday April 22, 2011)
A new law gives new rights to Washington patients and families who file complaints about alleged medical errors with state disciplinary boards.
- Lap-Band death blamed on anesthesiologist Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday April 14, 2011)
LA County coroner finds that bad care by an anesthesiologist caused the death of a young woman who had Lap-Band weight loss surgery.
- Bill to reform doctor discipline faces uncertain chances Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Saturday April 9, 2011)
Proposals to reform Missouri’s lax system on disciplining of doctors have advanced out of committee, and bills are ready for debate before the full House and Senate, but the future of any legislation remains clouded.
- Parkland patients who complained had rights violated, report says Source: The Dallas Morning News (Sunday January 9, 2011)
Hospital repeatedly violated the rights of people who complained about medical treatment, according to a federal report obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
- Experts: Medical schools aren't teaching patient safety Source: FierceHealth (Sunday March 27, 2011)
“Various experts in the field of medical education and patient safety, including some current medical students, comprised a 40-member roundtable that helped to create the report, titled “Unmet Needs: Teaching Physicians to Provide Safe Patient Care.”
- Report: State boards don’t punish all doctors sanctioned by hospitals Source: Washington Post (Wednesday March 16, 2011)
Public Citizen reports that, “State medical boards have failed to discipline 55 percent of the nation’s doctors who were sanctioned by the hospitals where they worked, according to a report released Tuesday by Public Citizen.”
- Legislative measure seeks medical-board transparency Source: Seattle Times (Thursday March 17, 2011)
A Washington couple encouraged a bill to be filed that would provide more transparency to the medical complaint process. House Bill 1493 has passed the House and is scheduled to be heard by a Senate committee Thursday, March 17, 2011.
- Op Ed: Hospital acquired infection is the gorilla in the room Source: Minute Man News Service (Wednesday March 9, 2011)
“I guess America’s present “Wild West” health care system does allow lots of folks to make a handsome profit. But the rest of us are suffering from high health insurance premiums and unacceptably high fatality rates caused by medical errors.”
- A fight for medical transparency Source: 9news.com (Wednesday March 9, 5)
The parents of a 22-year-old Centennial man who died after having brain surgery that was not necessary are working to improve the medical industry.
- Video: Medical transparency Source: 9News (Wednesday March 9, 5)
Patty Snolnik teaches patient advocacy courses to educate consumers about how to engage with their medical team and avoid harm.
- Do expensive buildings improve health care? Source: Concord Monitor (Thursday March 3, 2011)
Patient safety advocate Lori Nerbonne argues that the $1billion spent on new hospital buildings in New Hampshire since 2000 has not resulted in better quality care.
- Legislation would speed doctor discipline in Missouri Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch (Tuesday March 1, 2011)
The St. Louis Post investigation revealed that the Missouri healing arts board is one of the nation’s weakest and least transparent. A bill has been introduced this session that would give Missouri regulators more authority to suspend dangerous doctors, and patients information about doctors would be available to patients.
- Legislation would speed doctor discipline in Missouri Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Tuesday March 1, 2011)
Missouri regulators would have more authority to suspend dangerous doctors, and patients would be able to better research physicians, if bills filed in the state Legislature become law.
- Doctor suspended after liquor store crash Source: Boston Globe (Friday February 25, 2011)
A Barrington doctor who police say plowed his car through the doors of a Massachusetts liquor store has had his medical license suspended.
- Download event flyerFree Workshop in Denver March 5, 2011: Finding Your Way Through a Safe Healthcare Journey
Free Workshop by Patty Skolnik, Founder and Director, Citizens for Patient Safety. Must RSVP. For more information contact Breanna Sakis (Breanna.Sakis@HealthONEcares.com)
- Post-Dispatch series: "Who Protects the Patients?"
A Post-Dispatch investigation this year has shown how patients are kept in the dark about problems with their doctors and hospitals, and how a disciplinary system seems geared toward protecting doctors’ livelihoods.
- Released hospital patients' many unhappy returns Source: San Francisco Chronicle (Wednesday February 16, 2011)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/16/MN4K1HCMNU.DTLA new study found that 20 percent of California patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days at an annual cost of $250 million. The study blames poor discharge planning but also patient complications, which we know can often be the result of infections and medical errors. The report by the California Discharge Planning Cooperative can be found here.
- Mo. governor, legislators vow to strengthen laws protecting patients Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Wednesday December 15, 2010)
Information on legislation to strengthen doctor discipline laws in Missouri
- Physician Compare Needs an Immediate Tune-Up Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday January 5, 2011)
Antidote found five big problems with Medicare’s Physician Compare that need an immediate fix.
- Medical boards to crack down on sex offenders, addicts Source: California Watch (Wednesday February 9, 2011)
Boards that license nurses, doctors and chiropractors in California are working to pass separate slates of get-tough regulations less than a year after a similar proposal died in the Legislature.
- Abbott nurse accused of stealing painkiller Source: Star Tribune (Thursday February 10, 2011)
A Minneapolis nurse charged with stealing pain medicine from an ailing patient.
- Fixing The Failure At Physician Compare Source: The Health Care Blog (Friday January 28, 2011)
“Medicare should fix Physician Compare today and learn from its mistakes to make systematic improvements for tomorrow.”
- New Jersey board keeps doctor's fraud, alleged terrorist ties, drug-ring charges hidden Source: Reporting on Health (Monday January 31, 2011)
“New Jersey Deputy Attorney General said recently, of a doctor accused of selling painkillers to patients he had never examined, that he ‘is no different than a street-corner drug dealer. He sold drugs to people for money. The only difference is that he did so under cover of his medical practice.’”
- Nearly half of dialysis technicians failing skills test Source: California Watch (Wednesday January 26, 2011)
A large percentage of dialysis technicians are failing a new competency test required by federal authorities, cutting into the patient-care workforce in California.
- Andrew Rutland: California doctor accused in repeated patient deaths surrenders license Source: Reporting on Health (Tuesday January 25, 2011)
Chilling story about a problem doctor who gives up his medical license.
- As Doctors Age, Worries About Their Ability Grow Source: New York Times (Monday January 24, 2011)
Some experts warn that there are too few safeguards to protect patients against those who should no longer be practicing.
- Spine surgeons fighting over future royalties Source: Louisville Courier Journal (Monday January 17, 2011)
Doctor’s file suit over claims that a new agreement violates a 2001 agreement among five surgeons to equally share rights to their inventions for Medtronic. That included any “improvements and enhancements” of the devices, and “any future systems, devices or techniques developed by their efforts.”
- Dollars for Docs Sparks Policy Rewrite at Colorado Teaching Hospitals Source: ProPublica (Wednesday January 19, 2011)
The University of Colorado Denver and its affiliated teaching hospitals have launched an overhaul of conflict of interest policies after a ProPublica database revealed extensive ties between its faculty and pharmaceutical companies.
- Too much medical care can kill, author warns in Texas Source: American-Statesman (Saturday January 15, 2011)
About one-third of health care spending is wasted, much of it on care that is unneccessary for patients but lucrative for doctors, author Rosemary Gibson says.
- Houston doctor Julia Ward, M.D., suspended Source: Texas Medical Board (Tuesday January 18, 2011)
Houston doctor Julia Ward, M.D., suspended for illegal operation of pain clinic
- St. Luke's review finds almost 30% echocardiograms are misread Source: Journal Sentinel (Tuesday June 22, 2010)
Nearly 30% of diagnostic echocardiograms done at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center were misread by insufficiently trained cardiologists, resulting in more invasive, unnecessary procedures, according to an internal review done at the Milwaukee hospital.
- Aurora fires Milwaukee heart doctor Source: Journal Sentinel (Thursday January 13, 2011)
Milwaukee heart doctor fired without explanation, possibly due to revealing that doctors at a hospital were misreading a substantial number of diagnostic echocardiograms.
- Consumers deserve to know more about their health-care providers Source: Washington Post (Thursday January 13, 2011)
Letter to the editor by Robert E. Oshel: Congress should open the [National Practitioner] Data Bank so we can learn as much about the safety of our doctors as we can about our toasters.
- Midwife gives up license Source: Concord Monitor (Sunday January 2, 2010)
A NH midwife is giving up her license because of allegations/complaints by hospitals to state council; patients sue.
- 'You can’t kill my mother and get away with it' Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday December 26, 2010)
Article by Marshall Allen after attending Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project 2010 summit.
- Disciplined Docs Practice Freely In State Source: CT Health I-Team (Monday December 6, 2010)
A C-HIT review found that Connecticut often takes no action against doctors who are disciplined in nearby Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, in contrast to medical boards in those other states, which are quick to impose their own reciprocal sanctions after Connecticut takes disciplinary action.
- Connecticut's A Haven For Doctors In Trouble Source: Hartford Courant (Friday December 24, 2010)
Editorial: “Connecticut too often overlooks disciplinary incidents that occur elsewhere or applies restrictions that aren’t tough enough.”
- $650K For Fat Fix? Surgeon Caught Charging Sky-High Fees Source: CBS Los Angeles (Tuesday December 7, 2010)
Encino doctor accused of negligence, false representation
- State medical boards leave patients in danger and in the dark Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday December 29, 2010)
Medical boards from coast to coast are inconsistent, inefficient and ill equipped to monitor the hundreds of thousands of doctors licensed under their watch, Antidote’s investigation of every state board has found.
- Ten ways to help state medical boards better protect patients Source: Reporting on Health (Friday December 31, 2010)
Ten suggestions from Antidote based on a “Doctors Behaving Badly” nationwide investigation of state medical boards.
- Where We Live: Dubious Docs Source: YourPublicMedia.org (Wednesday December 22, 2010)
Interviews with Jean Rexford (CT Center for Patient Safety); Tracy Webber (Propublica); Lisa Chedekel (C-HIT) discuss learning about a doctor’s professional history. A report by the Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT) shows that many out of state doctors with a history of disciplinary actions are slipping through the cracks of Connecticut’s public health department.
- Dozen Stanford physicians under fire for speaking at gigs paid for by drugmakers Source: MercuryNews.com (Monday December 20, 2010)
A dozen physicians at Stanford University’s School of Medicine are under investigation by the school’s disciplinary board for their too-cozy relationships with drug companies.
- ProPublica and "Dollars for Docs" Source: The Oregonian (Tuesday December 21, 2010)
The Oregonian takes a look at local policies governing doctor-pharma relationships after a ProPublica investigation.
- Drug-firm fees to UM doctors are questioned Source: The Miami Herald (Monday December 20, 2010)
ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative group, is reporting that more than dozen University of Miami doctors did not properly report their earnings from drug companies as required by a medical school policy.
- Tipline Investigation: Denture Disaster Source: KEYT.com (Thursday July 22, 2010)
A Santa Barbara shares her denture disaster story.
- Med Schools Flunk at Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit Source: ProPublica (Sunday December 19, 2010)
An ongoing ProPublica investigation finds conflict of interest activity at some of the nation’s top medical schools.
- Information about doctors is readily available in other states Source: Post-Dispatch (Tuesday December 14, 2010)
Colorado’s Division of Registrations website gives patients information about a disciplined doctor who is practicing in another state.
- Quality ratings on coronary artery bypasses made public with surgeons' help Source: Amednews.com (Sunday September 12, 2010)
In a first-of-its kind bid to make clinical quality performance data available to the public, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons partnered with Consumer Reports in September to rate 221 cardiac surgical groups in 42 states.
- Tennessee doc accused of hooking pregnant woman on drugs stays in business Source: Reporting on Health (Friday November 26, 2010)
Bill Heisel digs through the Tennessee Medical Board’s website and finds some troubling information about doctor discipline.
- Virginia keeps lips zipped on ER doc's dangerous slips Source: Reporting on Health (Monday November 29, 2010)
According to Bill Heisel, “The Virginia Board of Medicine makes finding out about doctors cumbersome, frustrating and, in some cases, futile.”
- Hospital Care in Las Vegas: Why we suffer Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday November 14, 2010)
Substandard hospital care has roots in a culture of seeking profits, shunning best practices, turning away from problems.
- Drug industry ties to doctors weaken as disclosure, gift rules spread Source: American Medical News (Monday November 29, 2010)
More physicians are saying no to free lunches, drug reps and consulting relationships, new data show.
- 10 Things I Learned at the Consumers Union Safe Patient Summit - Part 2 Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday November 24, 2010)
Bill Heisel of Reporting on Health and Antidote adds more ideas he learned at CU’s Safe Patient Project 2010 summit in Austin.
- DPH Posts Pharma and Device Payment Data Source: HCFA (Monday November 22, 2010)
Today, the MA Department of Public Health released the eagerly-anticipated data containing payments made to Massachusetts prescribers by drug and device companies searchable by provider name, company name, or payment category.
- South Carolina hospice doc never met a patient who wasn't terminal, yet profitable Source: Reporting on Health (Friday November 19, 2010)
South Carolina hospice doc never met a patient who wasn’t terminal, yet profitable
- Propriety of doctors' paid talks questioned Source: The Slate (Tuesday November 16, 2010)
The pharmaceutical industry funneled nearly $3 million to South Carolina doctors in 18 months, based on data compiled by ProPublica.
- Doctors Behaving Badly: Vengeful doctor and his sheriff buddy face Texas-style justice Source: Reporting on Health (Friday November 12, 2010)
Two Texas nurses who were fired and indicted on felony charges for reporting a doctor ended up with a favorable outcome.
- Physician Groups React to Report on Pharma Payments to Providers Source: Health Leaders (Monday October 25, 2010)
These relationships are expected to come under greater scrutiny as the more than 70 drug companies operating in the United States are forced to release physician payment information by March 2013 in accordance with healthcare reform mandates.
- Medical Workers Charged With Fraudulent Billing of Medicare, Medi-Cal Source: California Healthline (Tuesday November 2, 2010)
Investigation into fraudulent billing of Medicare and state Medicaid by two North Hollywood physicians and four clinic employees.
- In Medicare's Data Trove, Clues to Curing Cost Crisis . Source: WSJ (Monday October 25, 2010)
Analysis of Medicare billing data revealed abuse of the system by some doctors.
- HealthKey: Database details pharmaceutical payments to doctors Source: Baltimore Sun (Sunday October 24, 2010)
$6 million went to Maryland medical professionals in 2009-2010
- Consumer Reports: Fears about the flu shot linger, our poll finds
Three out of 10 health care workers opt out of flu vaccination.
- Consumers wary of doctors who take drug-company dollars Source: Consumer Reports Health (Tuesday October 19, 2010)
A recent poll conducted by Consumer Reports found that most Americans are skeptical of financial arrangements between doctors and drug companies.
- Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
“Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice?”
- Those were the days Source: Houston Chronicle (Tuesday October 5, 2010)
Letter to the editor by John James on doctor accountability in Texas.
- Doctors Behaving Badly: Medical board gives addicted Montana doctor last chances galore Source: Reporting on Health (Monday September 27, 2010)
“The trouble with programs like Montana Professional Assistance Program (MPAP) is that they, too, can become a revolving door, allowing doctors to continue to treat patients without letting the patients know that their doctors may be under the influence.”
- Hospital Credentialing to Include Data Screening of Terminated Providers Source: HealthLeaders Media (Thursday September 9, 2010)
Health reform prohibits state Medicaid and Children’s Insurance programs to contract with providers or suppliers that have been terminated by these programs in other states. Here is a list of providers who have been excluded from these programs.
- Deaths in adult homes hidden and ignored Source: The Seattle Times (Saturday September 11, 2010)
The deaths of hundreds of seniors at adult family homes may have been the result of neglect or abuse, but were never investigated, according to a Seattle Times investigation.
- Joint Commission overlooks risky practices that led to patient death Source: Reporting on Health (Wednesday September 22, 2010)
Joint Commission (hospital accreditation and certification organization) overlooks serious problems at surgery center, namely multiple doctors that faced medical board charges.
- Surgeons routinely fail to disclose financial ties Source: Journal Sentinel (Monday September 13, 2010)
Orthopedic surgeons who were paid millions by medical device manufacturers often failed to disclose their financial ties in their published research, according to a new study that mirrors findings of an ongoing Journal Sentinel investigation.
- Colorado transparency unique Source: Las Vegas Sun (Sunday September 19, 2010)
As a result of the Skolnik Act, Colorado posts on its website malpractice and discipline information.
- Present imperfect: Doctors in training work even when ill Source: University of Chicago Medical Center (Tuesday September 14, 2010)
In a research letter published in the September 15, 2010, issue of JAMA, researchers report that three out of five residents surveyed came to work in the previous year while sick, possibly exposing their patients and colleagues to suboptimal performance and, in many cases, communicable disease. The American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) funded the study.
- Delaware Tightens Oversight of Physicians
Pediatrician accused of sexual abuse was investigated multiple times and no action was taken, nor was the public aware, until local DE paper subpoenaed documents which triggered action and lead to new doctor accountability laws.
- Consumer Reports Is Rating Surgical Groups Source: New York Times (Tuesday September 7, 2010)
You may know Consumer Reports for rating cars and toasters, but CR has begun rating surgical doctor groups.
- OSHA May Limit Residents' Work Hours Source: Occupational Health & Safety (Friday September 3, 2010)
The head of OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, said Thursday his agency will consider a petition seeking a limit of 80 work hours per week for medical residents and other rest and hours limits.
- California doctors run afoul of state board but keep working Source: The Sacramento Bee (Sunday September 5, 2010)
Most of the doctors who run afoul of the Medical Board of California are given reprimands or put on probation, allowed to go on treating patients while they take extra classes or have another doctor look over their shoulder.
- Cardiologist indicted for stent procedures Source: Baltimore Sun (Wednesday September 1, 2010)
A Salisbury cardiologist accused of placing unneeded coronary stents in hundreds of patients has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Baltimore on health care fraud charges alleging he put patients’ lives at risk unnecessarily while billing private and public insurers millions of dollars.
- Texas Nurses Fired for Alleging Misconduct Settle Their Suit Source: New York Times (Tuesday August 10, 2010)
Two Texas nurses were fired after anonymously reporting a doctor for improper medical treatment. The nurses were acquitted by a jury and the doctor will be tried for numerous violations found by the state medical board.
- A Google Map Of Bad Doctors Source: Forbes.com (Monday August 16, 2010)
A new online map provides information on doctors you might not want to trust.
- Serious medical errors, little public information Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sunday August 1, 2010)
Hear from a journalist about how difficult it is to find information about a serious medical error. No matter what source you turn to, you are left with few answers.
- The M.D.: Silence on bad doctors Source: The Los Angeles Times (Monday August 2, 2010)
Not all physicians are well-qualified to practice medicine. And doctors who keep mum about their colleagues’ incompetence have their own issues.
- Why Patients May Not Get Whole Truth About Doctors Source: NewsChannel5.com (Sunday July 5, 26)
This is why there has to be reform of State Medical Boards – Doctor gets “slight slap on the wrist” for leaving operating room during surgery.
- Ob-Gyns Issue Less Restrictive VBAC Guidelines Source: HealthCanal.com (Thursday July 22, 2010)
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released guidelines that state it is safe to have a vaginal delivery after a previous delivery by cesarean delivery.
- Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer Source: NYT (Monday July 19, 2010)
“Diagnosing the earliest stage of breast cancer can be surprisingly difficult, prone to both outright error and case-by-case disagreement over whether a cluster of cells is benign or malignant, according to an examination of breast cancer cases by The New York Times.”
- Many Doctors Stay Mum On Unfit Colleagues Source: NPR (Wednesday July 14, 2010)
“More than a third of docs don’t think they’re responsible for reporting those who aren’t fit to practice, according to the results just published in JAMA. And only 69 percent of the docs who knew about an impaired or incompetent colleague reported them.”
- California Eyes Discipline for 2,000 Nurses Sanctioned by Other States Source: ProPublica (Sunday June 27, 2010)
“California’s registered nursing board has discovered that some 3,500 of its nurses have been punished for misconduct by other states — hundreds even had their licenses revoked — while maintaining clean licenses in the state. As many as 2,000 of these nurses now will face discipline in California, officials estimate. That’s more registered nurses than the state has sanctioned in the last four years combined.”
- July: A Deadly Time For Hospitals Source: NPR (Monday July 5, 2010)
Is the “July Effect” a myth. A study shows that deaths due to medication errors spike in July at teaching hospitals where new residents are just starting their residency. Medical records from 1979-2006 were analyzed.
- New medical law gives patients more information (Video) Source: 9NEWS.com (Wednesday June 9, 10)
New Colorado law shines the light on medical professionals’ backgrounds.
- New Law Means Better Info For Patients (Video) Source: CBS4 (Saturday June 4, 11)
Patient advocate Patty Skolnik successfully advocated for a new law that expands Colorado’s physician database to include more health care providers, making it easier for the public to access background information about their health care provider.
- Doctor lost hospital privileges but kept clean record Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sunday May 16, 2010)
“Hospitals either aren’t disciplining doctors who have had problems, or are finding ways to avoid federal reporting rules.”
- Badness in Baltimore: Can Peer Review Catch Rogue Doctors? Source: Watcher's World (Tuesday May 11, 2010)
A doctor is accused of placing 500 unnecessary stents in patients.
- RN Rehab Source: Texas Tribune (Thursday March 18, 2010)
“A Texas Tribune review of the 383 disciplinary actions taken by the nursing board between June and September of 2009 found about a third of the cases involved substance abuse.”
- Nursing a Habit Source: The Texas Tribune (Wednesday March 17, 2010)
“Texas nurses with substance abuse problems — including showing up to work drunk or high, stealing narcotics meant for patients, and forging doctor signatures on prescriptions for pain-killers — are often not punished for their acts for months or even years and continue to practice in the meantime, according to a Texas Tribune review of state nursing disciplinary records.”
- New Web Site Invites Patients To Report on Adverse Medical Events Source: ModernHealthcare.com (Monday April 26, 2010)
The Empowered Patient Project has created a patient oriented survey on adverse medical events. Aggregate information from the surveys will be posted on their website.
- Patient Advocates Announce Website to Collect Medical Error Stories
- Patient Safety Report Shows Medical Errors Continuing in NJ Hospitals Source: Atlantic Hightland Herarld (Thursday April 1, 2010)
AARP: Older Adults Still the Most Affected by Dangerous Medical Errors
- Public Citizen Releases Annual Ranking of State Medical Boards Source: Public Citizen (Monday April 5, 2010)
Public Citizen’s 2010 annual ranking of state medical boards shows that most states, including one of the largest, are not living up to their obligations to protect patients from doctors who are practicing substandard medicine, according to the report released today.
- Dallas toddler dies after heparin overdose at Nebraska hospital Source: Dallas Morning News (Thursday April 1, 2010)
A 23 month old died from an overdose of blood thinner while in the hospital to be treated for an infection.
- UK: Hospital checklists for common conditions 'cut deaths' Source: BBC (Thursday April 1, 2010)
Checklists that spell out exactly how to care for patients with common conditions have dramatically reduced hospital deaths, say doctors.
- Few Clues On How To Track Rogue Doctors Source: NPR (Tuesday March 30, 2010)
“There’s no national tally of physicians who abuse their patients, but some say better reporting by hospitals and doctors and state medical boards would help. There is a database, which was established in 1986, but it also includes malpractice decisions and the information is not available to the public.”
- You wouldn't fly with a dead-tired pilot. So why let a wiped-out physician work on you? Source: Dead By Mistake Blog (Thursday February 11, 2010)
Patient Safety Advocates Launch Campaign to Reduce Resident Physician Fatigue, Boost Patient Safety
- Transparency and the health-care reform bill Source: Washington Post (Sunday March 21, 2010)
Merrill Goozner points out another little-noticed provision in the bill: “Drug and device companies will soon have to report payments to physicians in a national database, thanks to a little noted section of the health care reform bill called the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.”
- The Worst Time for a Hospital Visit Source: NYT Health blog (Thursday March 18, 2010)
According to a study published this month in the journal Medical Care hospital occupancy, weekend admissions, nurse staffing and the seasonal flu are major factors that increase the risk of dying in a hospital.
- California doctors suing state to ensure nurses have supervision when administering anesthesia Source: HCPro (Wednesday February 24, 2010)
HCPro (February 24, 2010)
- Term for guilty ex-nurse Source: Nashua Telegraph (Thursday March 18, 2010)
Southern NH Medical Center Nurse Sentenced for stealing narcotics & replacing them with saline
- NH Hospital Faces Suit After 'Smearing' Lab Director Over Failed CAP Inspection Source: GenomeWeb (Friday February 19, 2010)
Wentworth Douglas Hospital Faces Lawsuit over Smearing Lab Director
- Video: The Faces of Medical Errors...From Tears to Transparency
The following films from Transparent Learning are the first in a series of educational stories that feature patient safety advocates including Helen Haskell, Rosemary Gibson and Dr. Lucian Leape.
- Lawyer says lab doctor is victim of WDH smear campaign Source: Foster's (Friday February 19, 2010)
Wentworth Douglas Hospital’s Laboratory on probation
- Transparency and Public Reporting Are Essential for a Safe Health Care System Source: Commonwealth Prespectives on Health Reform Brief (Wednesday March 17, 2010)
Leading patient safey advocate Dr. Lucian Leape released report. He makes a strong statement on public reporting: “Transparency is an idea whose time has come and both hospitals and the public will be better off because of it.” His statement and report are online now.
- State Nursing Board Tracker
How You Can Investigate Your State’s Oversight of Its Nurses and Other Licensed Professionals- Provided by ProPublica reporters Charles Ornstein and Tracey Weber.
- Tracking Nurses – What You Need to Know
ProPublica reporters Charles Ornstein and Tracey Weber have put together a very useful tool for tracking nurses performance. The chart shows, “which states allow you to verify a nurse’s license for free online, which provide Web access to disciplinary documents, and which participate in a publicly available national database. “
- Intriguing people for March 1, 2010: Patty Skolnik Source: CNN (Monday March 1, 2010)
Patty Skolnik, Founder of Citizens for Patient Safety, makes CNN’s “Intriguing people” feature. Patty was a speaker on CU’s consumer panel on medical harm at our “To Err Is Human, To Delay Is Deadly” forum in DC. She is a lead advocate in Colorado and nationally on patient safety and doctor accountability issues.
- Study: Costly Health Care Not Necessarily Best Source: NPR; WBUR (Thursday February 25, 2010)
For some medical conditions, the cost of care does not directly correlate to the quality of care according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
- Doctors, Officials Fight Against Prescription Drug Addiction Source: WMUR Manchester (Monday February 22, 2010)
New Hampshire ranks fourth in the nation for deadly methadone overdoses, and health professionals and law enforcement are battling to keep it and other prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.
- Dangerous Caregivers Missing From Federal Database Source: ProPublica (Monday February 15, 2010)
A federal database of disciplinary actions taken against health professionals is missing numerous serious disciplinary records.
- Health workers often decline TB treatment
A new study, which followed patients with latent TB at 32 U.S. and Canadian medical clinics, found that 22 of 53 healthcare workers who were offered treatment declined to take it.
- Glaxo, Merck disclose how much they're paying U.S. doctors Source: Miami Herald (Saturday January 23, 2010)
Responding to a continuing push from lawmakers to reveal how much the pharmaceutical industry is influencing America’s doctors, two more major drug makers have made public their payments to physicians, but an industry expert says the data are of limited value.
- In son's memory, a mom's fight for medical transparency continues Source: KDVR (Thursday February 11, 2010)
KDVR (February 11, 2010)
- Patient safety campaign targets brutal work schedules of doctors-in-training Source: Statesman.com (Friday February 5, 2010)
A new campaign aimed at reducing medical errors is targeting the grueling schedules required of medical residents (doctors-in-training) and interns who often work shifts up to 30 hours at a time.
- Campaign Calls for Limits on Doctors' Hours Source: The Palm Beach Post (Thursday February 4, 2010)
Activists are urging the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which controls medical residency training programs, to limit the amount of time residents go without sleep to 16 hours and to increase supervision of the residents. This would bring prevailing rules in line with recommendations outlined in a 2008 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on resident duty hours.
- Harvard Teaching Hospitals Cap Outside Pay Source: New York Times (Saturday January 2, 2009)
The owner of two research hospitals affiliated with the Harvard Medical School has imposed restrictions on outside pay for two dozen senior officials who also sit on the boards of pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. Doctors who sit on Pharma boards can make hundreds of thousands extra pay a year.
- Annual Hope Award Winner-Patty Skolnik
Medically Injured Trauma Support Services (MITSS) honors Patty Skolnik for her work on patients safety through the organization she founded- Colorado Citizens for Accountability.
- Inept nurses free to work in new locales Source: Los Angeles Times (Sunday December 27, 2009)
An LA Times/ProPublica investigation on nurses who were disciplined for medical errors in one state who hold nursing licenses and may continue to practice (and harm patients) in other states. Using public databases and state disciplinary reports, reporters found hundreds of cases in which registered nurses held clear licenses in some states after they’d been sanctioned in others, often for serious misdeeds. In California alone, a months-long review of its 350,000 active nurses found at least 177 whose licenses had been revoked, surrendered, suspended or denied elsewhere.
- Sens. move to block drugmakers from mining Rx data Source: AP (Thursday December 10, 2009)
A proposed amendment to the Senate health care bill would prohibit drug companies from mining pharmacy records in order to craft their marketing to a doctor’s prescribing history.
- Leapfrog releases 2009 list of best hospitals for patient safety Source: Hearst; Dead By Mistake Blog (Wednesday December 9, 2009)
Leapfrog sites only five of U.S. News’ 21 best hospitals. View Leapfrogs press release on the top hospitals list.
- Inside a U.S. healthcare "island of excellence" Source: Reuters (Tuesday December 8, 2009)
Pennsylvania’s Geisnger Health Systems, a private, nonprofit, provides excellent care at lower costs. “Medical authorities inside and outside Geisinger credit the system’s performance to three factors: its salary-based compensation for physicians; an electronic medical records system that reduces the likelihood of treatment duplication by integrating the services of doctors, nurses and administrators; and best-practice protocols that require doctors to follow accepted standards for certain kinds of treatment.
- How to Find a Doctor's Medical Malpractice Track Record
If you will need any form of difficult medical testing or treatment, you will need to choose your doctor wisely. You’ll want to do some research about the doctor to be sure his credentials, experience and abilities meet your needs, and just as important, be sure he has not built a track record of disciplinary problems or malpractice. Here is a guide for finding a doctor’s malpractice or disciplinary information that may help protect you and your family.
- Temp Firms a Magnet for Unfit Nurses Source: Propublica and LA Times (Saturday December 5, 2009)
Firms that supply temporary nurses to the nation’s hospitals are taking perilous shortcuts in their screening and supervision, sometimes putting seriously ill patients in the hands of incompetent or impaired caregivers.
- Kent Hospital (RI) settles suit with Woods family Source: The Providence Journal (Wednesday December 2, 2009)
James Woods, his mother and the hospital president announced the withdrawal of the lawsuit and a new joint effort by the hospital and the family to improve patient care.
- Rhode Island hospital ordered to have camera's in operating room. Source: The Today Show; NBC (Tuesday November 3, 2009)
Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert comments on wrong site surgery.
- Film explores broken health care system Source: Dead By Mistake (Saturday October 31, 2009)
A new documentary film, “Money-Driven Medicine”, tackles the economic underpinnings of an American healthcare system that kills four times as many people through medical error and preventable infections as die in highway accident. Consumers Union has encouraged activists to view this film and take action to make our health care system safer.
- Money-Driven Medicine Watch-In!
“Money-Driven Medicine” examines the medical industrial complex, and what’s wrong with our healthcare system. Watch the movie for free here until November 10 and sign our petition for reform.
- TX: Physician misconduct often tolerated by state medical board, analysis finds Source: Dallas Morning News (Sunday October 11, 2009)
Seven years ago, after a scathing series of stories in The Dallas Morning News, the Texas Medical Board promised to crack down on bad doctors. Patient endangerment would be dealt with severely. And sexual misconduct, one official said, would become “intolerable.” It hasn’t turned out that way.
- Florida Hospital Confirms Patients Infected by Reused IV Bags Source: Newsinferno.com (Friday October 16, 2009)
Broward General Medical Center patients received reused IV bags and have tested positive for some infectious diseases.
- MRI die can lead to fatal disease for some Source: Business Week (Friday October 16, 2009)
Many MRI patients are injected with a GE dye to enhance images. If they have weak kidneys, they might develop a rare and sometimes fatal disease.
- Physician misconduct often tolerated by state medical board, analysis finds Source: The Dallas Morning News (Sunday October 11, 2009)
The Dallas Morning News investigates the many holes in the Texas Medical Board review process over the past seven years, leaving patients at risk.
- One Good Reason to Get Mad About Health Care Source: The Huffington Post (Monday August 17, 2009)
Article about “no patient left behind” — a simple report card system to give patients a heads-up about their doctors’ credentials and safety record, something almost impossible to get now.
- What Josie King's story should teach us Source: New Jersey Star Ledger (Monday September 21, 2009)
Josie King, an 18 month old went to the hospital for burns from hot bath water and later died in the hospital from dehydration and medical error.
- Patients at UPMC hospital may have been exposed to viruses Source: Pittsburgh Gazette (Wednesday September 16, 2009)
“The Derrick newspaper in nearby Oil City reported yesterday that “a failure to follow equipment sterilization guidelines” at the hospital resulted in “the notification of more than 100 surgical patients. “
- Lilly Paid Doctors to Prescribe Zyprexa, Notes Show Source: Bloomberg.com (Tuesday September 8, 2009)
Eli Lilly & Co. paid doctors in South Carolina for participating in a speakers’ program in exchange for prescribing the antipsychotic Zyprexa.
- Consumer Reports nurse's survey show cleanliness problem Source: ABC 360.com; KFSN-TV Fresno, CA (Monday September 7, 2009)
Nancy Metcalf, Consumer Reports said: “We surveyed more than 700 nurses nationwide who work in operating rooms, emergency rooms, critical care units and other areas of the hospital.”
- New Jersey Doctors Getting Paid Extra To Save Hospitals Money Source: AP (Wednesday August 19, 2009)
A dozen New Jersey hospitals are paying doctors as an incentive to save the hospitals money.
- Hospitals take steps as more S.C. health-care workers battle drug addictions Source: Greenville Online (Wednesday August 12, 2009)
South Carolina licensing boards disciplined 170 doctors and nurses for drug problems in the past year, records show, with addiction running higher among health-care professionals than the general population, according to the director of a program that treats medical workers.
- Dead By Mistake Source: Source: Hearst Newspapers (Friday July 31, 2009)
Dead by mistake was researched and written by a team of journalists from across Hearst newspapers and television stations. Hearst describes medical errors as “a critical and neglected health care issue.” Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project published a report on medical harm, “To Err is Human, To Delay is Deadly” in May 2009.
- Which Docs Measure Up? Source: Washington Post (Sunday May 31, 2009)
“We don’t have a Consumer Reports for doctors and hospitals — at least not yet.”
- Basic Patient Safety Reforms Would Save 85,000 Lives and $35 Billion a Year, Public Citizen Report Says Source: Public Citizen (Thursday August 6, 2009)
The report, “Back to Basics,” analyzed the results of scientific studies of treatment protocols for chronically recurring, avoidable medical errors.
- Ranking hospitals now done by many organizations, not just U.S. News & World Report Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (Monday July 27, 2009)
There’s a movement to make hard numbers the basis for rankings among hospitals, instead of reputation or word-of-mouth.
- Texas Medical Board Disciplines 71 Doctors Source: Texas Medical Board (Wednesday June 3, 2009)
The Texas Medical Board provides a complete list of disciplined doctors this quarter.
- Doctor's orders: Just sign this no-complaint contract... Source: Washington Post (Tuesday July 21, 2009)
Beth Nash, an internist employed by Consumer Reports, advises that patients dump a doctor who demands a privacy waiver. “While we have all had bad days,” she wrote on the group’s health blog, “I find it hard to believe that a doctor with multiple negative reviews has just been unlucky enough to be judged on those occasional bad days.”
- Perks policy for doctors challenged Source: The Boston Globe (Thursday July 23, 2009)
A new organization of doctors – several from Boston – want to roll back policies curbing interactions between doctors and drug company representatives, saying restrictive rules ultimately will hurt the patients they’re designed to protect.
- Loose Reins on Nurses in Drug Abuse Program Source: ProPublica (Saturday July 25, 2009)
ProPublica (July 25, 2009)
- Doctor's Orders Source: The Washington Post (Tuesday July 21, 2009)
To quell criticism, some doctors require patients to sign “gag orders.”
- Audio slideshow: His body a prison Source: Los Angeles Times (Tuesday July 14, 2009)
In the prime of life, rendered a quadriplegic
- Audio slideshow: Stricken at birth Source: Los Angeles Times (Tuesday July 14, 2009)
A disabled young girl starts to question why
- Misconduct ailing health professionals Source: The Flint Journal (Thursday July 16, 2009)
The Flint Journal investigates misconduct in the health profession — from drug abuse to fraud to incompetence and negligence — that spilled over on the job, causing Michigan regulators to restrict or suspend their licenses from 2006 to 2008.
- Schwarzenegger sweeps out nursing board Source: Los Angeles Times (Tuesday July 14, 2009)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced most members of the state Board of Registered Nursing on Monday, prompted by reports of problem practitioners continuing to work for years as cases against them drag on, endangering patients.
- When Caregivers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay on the Job as Patients Suffer Source: ProPublica and Los Angeles Times (Saturday July 11, 2009)
The board charged with overseeing California’s 350,000 registered nurses often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct, leaving nurses accused of wrongdoing free to practice without restrictions, an investigation by The Times and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica found.
- Colo. Nurse Faces More Pain Pill Charges Source: KMGH Denver (Wednesday July 8, 2009)
KMGH Denver (July 8, 2009)
- Springs surgery tech suspected of exposing 5,700 to hepatitis C Source: Colorado Springs Gazette (Thursday July 2, 2009)
Federal officials Thursday warned that about 5,700 surgery patients, including 1,000 at a Colorado Springs surgery center, are at risk of having been infected by an operating room technician with hepatitis C.
- Video: Problem Doctors Practice Bad Medicine Source: ABC News (Sunday June 21, 2009)
Public Citizen’s report on ineffective hospital peer review (and under-reporting bad doctors to the National Practitioner Data Bank) made ABC World News on Sunday evening, June 21st. Doctors who perform medical errors are not always reported, and hospitals are not penalized for failing to report bad doctors.
- Patients to get a look at physicians' notes Source: Boston Globe (Friday June 19, 2009)
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is about to begin a project called “open notes’’ in which about 100 doc tors at the hospital and two other sites will allow 25,000 to 35,000 patients to read their physicians’ notes for a year as part of their online medical record.
- News clip on Medical Transparency Source: 9News.com (Friday May 9, 31)
Colorado news clip on the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, a law which went into effect on May 31. The law required a website with information about a doctor’s medical license, criminal background and malpractice settlements, and disciplinary actions against that doctor in any of the 50 states.
- Colorado: Physican data available online
An online database on every doctor in Colorado went live Sunday on the homepage of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, www.dora.state.co.us, writes Durango Herald News. The database includes information about doctors’ education, malpractice lawsuits, criminal record and disciplinary actions, such as a loss of hospital privileges or drug-prescribing privileges. The state assembled the database after a 2007 law known as the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act. This bill requires the Board of Medical Examiners post important information on their website about all physicians in Colorado.
- Doctor data ready online Source: Herald Denver Bureau (Tuesday June 2, 2009)
An online database on every doctor in Colorado went live Sunday on the homepage of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, www.dora.state.co.us. The database includes information about doctors’ education, malpractice lawsuits, criminal record and disciplinary actions, such as a loss of hospital privileges or drug-prescribing privileges.
- CO: A step toward transparency for physicians
On May 31, all Colorado physicians must be in compliance with a recent state law, the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, which requires them to publicly report certain business dealings, malpractice actions, disciplinary matters and crimes to practice medicine here.
- Hospitals Fail to Report Doctor Incompetence Source: ABC News (Wednesday May 27, 2009)
Study Finds That Few Hospitals Report When Doctors Are Harmful to Patients
- Medical transparency law will allow people to look into physicians' past Source: The Gazette (Monday May 25, 2009)
On May 31, all Colorado physicians must be in compliance with a recent state law, the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, that requires them to publicly report certain business dealings, malpractice actions, disciplinary matters and crimes in order to practice medicine here.
- U.S. Health Care System Fails to Protect Patients From Deadly Medical Errors
Consumers Union Assesses Lack of Progress Ten Years After Institute of Medicine Found Up To 98,000 Die From Preventable Errors
- Report: about 98,000 Americans still die annually from medical errors Source: China View (Friday May 22, 2009)
The Consumers Union report said lawmakers largely have failed to enact patient safety reforms recommended by a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine that found that medical errors cost the U.S. as much as 29 billion U.S. dollars a year.
- Preventable Medical Errors Still Kill Thousands, Cost Billions as Employers Foot Bill Source: Workforce Management (Wednesday May 20, 2009)
Despite a landmark report a decade ago detailing the deadly nature of the U.S. health care system, a consumer group finds that little has been done to prevent errors that cost the nation $17 billion to $29 billion and kill as many as 100,000 patients annually.
- Deadly Medical Errors Still Plague U.S.
Report Shows 10-Year Effort to Curb Medical Errors Yields Few Results
- U.S. group sees little progress on medical errors Source: Rueters (Tuesday May 19, 2009)
Despite a decade of promises, little has been done to fix the problem of preventable medical errors that kill nearly 98,000 people in the United States each year, a consumer group said on Tuesday.
- Vermont Enacts Sweeping Gift Ban; Affects Drug, Device, Biologics Manufacturers Source: NLARX (Monday May 11, 2009)
A bill passed by the Vermont House and Senate will close the loopholes in the state’s existing gift disclosure law by requiring full disclosure of allowable gifts to physicians, health care organizations, non-profit groups and state-funded academic institutions.
- Institute of Medicine report recommends legislated and voluntary changes for COI disclosure Source: Shelley Wood (Wednesday April 29, 2009)
A new report from the Institute of Medicine proposes that both legislation and “voluntary measures” are necessary to improve disclosure of financial ties between the medical community and industry. The report comes amid increasing debate about appropriate disclosure of conflicts of interest (COI) in medicine and research.
- The Devil Inside Wired Medicine Source: Forbes Magazine (Monday May 11, 2009)
Electronic records might make medicine safer and cheaper. But it might just digitize the worst flaws of today’s system, where errors are rampant and basic recommended treatments often fall through the cracks.
- VA: 46 Health Care Professionals Linked To Substance Abuse Source: Bristol Herald Courier (Sunday April 26, 2009)
Virginia shuffles addicted professionals through a five-year monitoring plan called the Health Practitioners’ Intervention Program. It’s a secretive program meant to keep participants sober and in the health care business
- Video: Shopping for You Doctor Can Save Your Life
Michael Skolnik died from poor medical care when he was rushed into unwarrented brain surgery that resulted in complete disability and death. His family did not know the surgeon had medical malpractice claims against him. This information must now be reported under the new Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act.
- Group Advises Stopping Flow of Gifts to Doctors Source: The New York Times (Wednesday April 29, 2009)
In a scolding report, the nation’s most influential medical advisory group said that doctors should stop taking much of the money, gifts and free drug samples that they routinely accept from drug and device companies. Supports Grassley/Kohl legislation legislation that would require drug and device makers to publicly disclose all payments made to doctors.
- Should doctors see complaints against them? Source: Austin American-Statesman (Thursday April 16, 2009)
Texas had a hearing on legislation to weaken the medical board.
- No More Free Lunches For Doctors? Source: Hartford Business Journal (Monday April 13, 2009)
Connecticut doctors would be prohibited from accepting certain gifts from drug and medical device companies under a plan being considered by lawmakers.
- Doctor dozed during surgery, report says Source: Boston Globe (Wednesday March 25, 2009)
Beth Israel faulted in case but only after the patient challenged the case which was first ruled invalid.
- One doctor's long trail of dangerous mistakes Source: LA Times (Tuesday December 7, 2004)
This five-part series details the devastating consequences that occur when public accountability at a local Los Angeles hospital breaks down. (Free site registration required to read other parts of series.)
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.
- The Assertive Patient Source: The Assertive Patient (Monday September 10, 2012)
A Guide to Speaking Up When You Are Dissatisfied With A Health Care Experience by Health Care For All.
- Big Pharma's Big Fines Source: ProPublica (Tuesday July 3, 2012)
ProPublica takes a look at six recent multi-million dollar fines that drug companies have agreed to pay for inappropriately, and in some cases illegally, promoting prescription drugs.
- An Open Letter from Patient Safety Advocates on the "Sorry Works!" Proposal
A coalition of patient safety advocates, including Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, oppose a proposal by “Sorry Works!” purported to “reform” the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and state medical licensing boards.
- OIG Most Wanted Fugitives
This Web page contains information about OIG’s most wanted health care fugitives. In all, OIG is seeking more than 170 fugitives on charges related to health care fraud and abuse.
- HRSA Response to Consumers Union Regarding National Practitioner Data Bank's Public Use Data File
Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) letter responding to Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, regarding its decision to remove the National Practitioner Data Bank Public Use File on September 1, 2011. Consumers Union’s letter to HRSA can be read here.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley letter to Health Research and Services Administration concerning removal of National Practitioner Data Bank's Public Use File
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today asked the head of a federal agency to explain a decision to shut down public access to data on malpractice payouts, hospital discipline and regulatory sanctions against doctors and other health professionals
- Journalists' letter to Sebelius on the National Practitioner Data Bank file
Letter from six national journalism organizations to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius elevating their concerns about a decision by the Health Resources and Services Administration to remove the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank from the agency’s website.
- National Practitioner Data Bank Public Use File
Investigative Reporters and Editors post National Practitioner Data Bank public use file (available for download) on physicians that was removed by the federal government last week.
- Dollars for Docs
Look to see if your doctor has ties to drug and medical device companies.
- Healthcare Professions Profiling Program
Thanks to the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act of 2010, consumers can now search for online profiles of different healthcare professionals.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern About the Quality of Care from a Pennsylvania Doctor
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.
- New Jersey Health Care Profile
How to get information on NJ medical doctors, podiatrists and optometrists.
- State Medical Boards Fail to Discipline Doctors with Hospital Actions Against Them
Public Citizen reviewed the National Practitioner Data Bank Public. They found that physicians who had violations recorded in the Data Bank escaped any state licensing action.
- State Medical Boards Fail to Discipline Doctors with Hospital Actions Against Them
More than half of doctors disciplined by hospitals escape licensing action by states
- What to Do if You Have a Concern About the Quality of Care from a Maine Doctor
This tip sheet explains steps you can take in your doctor’s office to deal with your concerns about quality. It tells you how to contact places that regulate or oversee doctors.
- What To Do If You Have a Concern About Quality in a New York Nursing Home
Steps you can take if you are concerned about the quality of care in a NY nursing home.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern About the Quality of Care from a New York Doctor
Steps you can take if you are concerned about your care under a NY physician.
- CA Medical Board: Board and Committee Meetings
Link to find out about the CA medical board meetings, agendas, and webcasts of past quarterly meetings.
- DORA Physician Lookup
Look up your Colorado physician’s background on AskDora.Colorado.gov.
- Memorandum Report: Quality Improvement Organizations' Final Responses to Beneficiary Complaints
Review of QIO complaint responses to Medicare beneficiaries who report quality-of-care problems.
- Office of Inspector General Exclusions Program
Search through the OIG’s database to identify individuals or entities who have been excluded from participating in Federally-funded health care programs.
- ACGME Common Program Requirements
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education finalized their policies on resident hours, effective July 1, 2011
- Maryland Judiciary Case Search
Site allows for searches of medical malpractice cases filed in Maryland.
- 2009 Patient Experiences in Primary Care
In Massachusetts you can look up information about patients’ experiences at their doctor’s offices.
- Public Citizen, CIR/SEIU, AMA et.al petition to OSHA
“Whereas previous appeals to limit resident physicians’ work hours have focused on the well-documented risks patients face due to tired physicians, this petition concentrates on the often-overlooked health risks faced by the resident physicians who endure those long hours.”
- Eliminating Mistakes To Improve Patient Safety
“Nearly one in five adverse events is due to erroneous diagnoses made by physicians.”
- Medical Malpractice & Errors
A series of articles on medical malpractice in Health Affairs outlines the real cost of malpractice in the U.S.
- Look for Yourself: Is Your State Reporting Dangerous Nurses?
Chart that shows how many serious disciplinary actions against registered nurses each state reported to a federal database over the past ten years.
- Doctors Behaving Badly: Medical boards should drop the stone tools, join the digital age
Many state medical board websites are not consumer-friendly, and it can be confusing or impossible to find information about a doctor’s disciplinary, criminal or malpractice history. In response, journalist William Heisel has created a Google map of “doctors behaving badly” with links to bad doctor new articles.
- Texas Medical Board Bulletin Spring 2010
Includes formal complaints issued against licensed physicians, new physician licenses issued and summary of disciplinary actions taken on board licensed health care providers by the Texas Medical Board.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern about the Quality of Care from a California Physician
Steps you can take if you are concerned about your care under a CA physician.
- What To Do If You Have Concern About Quality in a California Nursing Home
Steps you can take if you are concerned about the quality of care in a CA nursing home.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a California Hospital
What to do if you are concerned about your hospital’s quality of care and links to resources that can help. It addresses steps you can take within a hospital or with organizations that regulate or oversee hospitals.
- Medical Malpractice Information
Go to this website for information on fully paid medical malpractice cases (insert physician’s name where indicated and click on “search”).
- Practitioner Profile Information
Go to this website for a profile of your doctor.
- Healthcare Practitioner License Search
Looking for information on Florida physicians? Go to this website for information on licensing verification.
- Healthcare Performance in Massachusetts
Massachusetts ratings of physician practices.
- The Silence
When our health care system remains silent about preventable medical harm it only creates more problems.
- Tracking Nurses – What You Need to Know
Each state has a different process for investigating and disciplining nurses and for making licensing information available to the public. ProPublica compiled a chart to show which states allow you to verify a nurse’s license for free online, which provide Web access to disciplinary documents, and which participate in a publicly available national database.
- North Carolina Medical Board Doctor Licensee Search
NC Medical Board adds medical malpractice reports to Physician search.
- Hospitals Drop the Ball on Physician Oversight
Hospitals drop the ball on Physician Oversight
- Problems with the Board of Registered Nursing Enforcement and Diversion Programs (PDF)
On July 11, 2009, the Los Angeles Times, in conjunction with Pro-Publica, a non-profit investigative news agency, published an article entitled “When Caregivers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay on the Job as Patients Suffer,” charging that Board of Registered Nursing, which oversees California’s more than 350,000 nurses, often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct. Nurses with histories of drug abuse, negligence, violence, and incompetence continue to provide care, and BRN often took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses.
- Letter Urging Secretary Sebelius to Provide Hospitals and Nursing with Disciplinary Data on Nurses and Other Allied Health Professionals
Public Citizen: The U.S. Health and Human Services has failed to issue a final regulation to implement a 22 year old law (called Section 1921 of the Social Security Act) that would expand the National Practitioner Data Bank and allow over 5,000 hospitals and about 700 nursing homes access to disciplinary records on nurses and other allied health professionals.