Patients Right to Know

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Colorado Citizens for Accountability has launched its new patient safety website: It contains a U.S. map where you can find out what physician background reporting is available in your state. By clicking on your state, you’ll be directed to the homepage of the state’s agency that oversees licensing of doctors.

In my home state of Texas, I was able to see where my doctor went to med school, how long he’s practiced medicine, and if he’s board certified. If my doctor had been disciplined by the licensing board because of substandard care – I would be able to see information about that too. The rules vary from state to state, but you’ll likely find valuable information to determine whether your doctor is right for you.

Knowing the background information on your doctor could your life.

Retrieving such life-saving information hasn’t always been easy, and some states have stronger laws than others. Patty and David Skolnik successfully lobbied the Colorado Legislature in 2007 to pass the Medical Transparency Act, also known as “Michael’s Law” in honor of their son. Michael’s unwarranted surgery rushed by a neurosurgeon led to a 32-month nightmare of brain surgeries, infections, pulmonary embolisms, respiratory arrest, vision impairment, paralysis, psychosis, severe seizure disorder, short-term memory loss, multiple organ failure, near total dependence and death. They later discovered multiple malpractice cases and formal complaints against the physician. The Colorado law requires public disclosure about a doctor’s medical license, criminal background and malpractice settlements, and disciplinary actions against that doctor in any of the 50 states.

Attorney Rohn Robbins said it nicely: “The Medical Transparency Act promotes physician accountability and makes available to the public information which may prove valuable in making informed and intelligent decisions.”

The Colorado Citizens for Accountability, for the launch of Patients Right to Know, will help us all find information about our doctor or potential doctor. It also highlights which states do not provide valuable information like Michael’s Law in Colorado.