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Archive for Doctor Accountability

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  • “Docs on Probation” Guest Post: We Need Transparency for Doctors

    If your doctor was on probation for sexual misconduct with a patient, would you want to know? What about offenses related to drug or alcohol addiction, or gross negligence? Unfortunately, in the state of California, that information is not easy to come by.

  • Great start for California “Docs on Probation” campaign!

    In less than a week since we launched our California online petition to require doctors on probation to inform their patients, we have received 4,700 signatures and our campaign was featured on San Diego’s KGTV news!

  • Our New California “Docs on Probation” campaign fights for patients’ right to know

    You have a right to choose whether you want to see a doctor who is on probation, and that’s why we are announcing a campaign aimed at getting the Medical Board of California to require that doctors tell their patients when they are on probation.

  • California Activists Take a Deep Dive on Patient Safety

    Consumers Union Safe Patient Project staff met with a terrific group of California activists in Los Angeles this month to share successes and brainstorm plans for future collaboration. Here are five things that these extraordinary individuals have accomplished.

  • You Saved New York’s Physician Profile Website!

    Thanks to your support, we convinced New York lawmakers to keep New York’s Physician Profile website.

  • 11 tips for how to complain about your medical care

    Check out Public Citizen’s fantastic guide for where to complain, written by Alan Levine, member of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Network.

  • Factors to Consider When Choosing a Doctor

    What factors do you consider when choosing a doctor? Do you care more about having a doctor who communicates well or is it more important that your doctor has lots of experience and skills?

  • 3 Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Your Medications

    Learn the Risks and Benefits of Any Drug You Take Taking a new medication is a big deal. When a doctor recommends a new prescription, you should walk away knowing why it was prescribed and how you should monitor your symptoms after taking it. The more informed you are as a patient, the easier it will Continue Reading

  • A Surprising Way to Avoid Medical Errors in the Hospital

    Most of us have a bad waiter or waitress experience. Maybe they were rude, made a mistake with your dish, or overcharged you. Similarly, people have had less than optimal experiences in the hospital, as a patient or family member of a patient.

  • 6 Questions to Ask Before Getting a CT scan or X-ray

    I was shocked to learn that 15,000 people are estimated to die each year because of cancers caused by the radiation in CT scans.

  • Video: What do we want? Safe health care!

    Medical harm is the third leading cause of death in the US. These Safe Patient Project activists are doing amazing things to change that. Check out our new video!

  • These people are working to make your health care safer

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project hosts a national gathering of patient safety activists from across the country to connect face-to-face, share information and strategize on future work together. This year November 11-13, we held our 9th summit in Yonkers, NY, headquarters of Consumer Reports.

  • Rethinking the use of Morcellators on Women

    A morcellator is a medical device that seems like it was developed in medieval times as an instrument of torture. But it is actually marketed and used to grind up tissue during laparoscopic hysterectomies and uterine fibroid removal. It becomes problematic if the tissue being shredded is cancerous. The FDA recently issued a safety alert stating, “Morcellating these tumors can spread cancerous tissue internally and significantly worsen the odds of long-term survival.

  • Patient safety activists react to USA Today story on seniors and Rx drugs

    This week’s USA Today story about the problem of overprescribing serious narcotics and pain killers to seniors touched a nerve with Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project activists. According to the story, “hundreds of thousands of the nation’s seniors are misusing prescription drugs, including narcotic painkillers, anxiety medications and other pharmaceuticals, for everything from joint pain Continue Reading

  • California Safe Patient activists celebrate progress and testify at Medical Board of California meeting

    A week ago, our Consumers Union (CU) Safe Patient Project staff went to sunny California to meet with our network of activists that are working to protect CA patients from medical harm. Find out what we did!

  • California advocates voice concerns at medical board meeting

    This month, California advocates worked with CU to voice safety concerns at the California Medical Board meeting. We testified on several issues that affect the public and transparency…

  • California advocate featured in LA Times on how to research your doctor

    Michele Monserratt-Ramos, member of CU’s California Safe Patient Network, was featured in a February 9 Los Angeles Times article on how to research your doctor. Michele has been active on patient safety issues since the tragic death of her husband-to-be, Lloyd Monserratt.

  • Go Team! Advocates Deliver Patient Safety Message in Washington State

    Last week, the Safe Patient Project traveled to Washington State to team up with Washington Advocates for Patient Safety to give a voice to the health care crisis of preventable medical harm

  • Consumers Union’s “Ending Medical Harm” Conference Brings Awareness and Action

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project held an incredible conference on November 6, 2013 at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in NYC that gathered experts, journalists and activists to address the pressing public health threat of medical harm. Our conference, “Ending Medical Harm: Tackling the 3rd leading cause of death in the US,” had approximately 150 Continue Reading

  • Endangered Patients: WA Consumer Forum Explores Ending Medical Harm

      Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) teamed up to host a patient safety forum at the Seattle Public Library to explore ideas for ending patient harm and what consumers can do to protect themselves from medical errors, hospital infections and failed hip and knee implants. About thirty-five people heard Continue Reading

  • 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: 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…

News Articles

  • Deadly infections from medical scopes go unreported, raising health risks
    Source: USA Today (Thursday August 6, 2015)

    “for every duodenoscope-related illness that’s reported, countless others go uncounted, an ongoing USA TODAY investigation finds.”

  • It pays to read the warnings when you open up a prescription
    Source: Wash. Post (Monday August 3, 2015)

    Barbara Odanaka was hospitalized with pneumonia and was prescribed levofloxacin, an antibiotic in the fluoroquinolone drug class. She was not told about fluoroquinolone toxicity, a disorder of the musculoskeletal system.

  • CA Medical Board Places Controversial Drug "Guru" Dr. Paul Daniel Corona on Probation Again
    Source: OC Weekly (Monday August 3, 2015)

    ” Jodi Barber told a San Diego news program that she never would have taken her son to Corona if she knew he was on probation.”

  • Patients ought to find out more about doctors
    Source: Sacramento Bee (Monday July 13, 2015)

    California physicians aren’t required to tell patients they’re on probation. Patient advocates are asking the Medical Board of California to change that.

  • Perspective: Less is More
    Source: NEJM (Tuesday July 28, 2015)

    Mary Brennen-Taylor recounts the events that led to her mother’s death, starting with medication that is potentially dangerous to older adults.

  • Push for Cameras in the Operating Room
    Source: Washington Post (Wednesday June 24, 2015)

    “A movement is afoot to put cameras in operating rooms around the country, after a woman died from an anesthesia overdose.”

  • Push for doctors to disclose probation before treatment
    Source: KGTV San Diego (Tuesday June 23, 2015)

    CA Patient advocates push to get doctors to tell their patients if the are on probation.

  • Consumer Organizations Request All State Attorneys General to Consider Ruling on Public Participation on State Medical Boards
    Source: Consumers Union, the Citizen Advocacy Center, and the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego (Wednesday May 6, 2015)

    Three consumer organizations call for state Attorneys Generals to take action based on a Supreme Court decision earlier this year. The decision could lead to changing the make up of medical boards (and other boards) to consist of a majority of public members rather than a majority of doctors.

  • To reduce malpractice litigation, stop making mistakes
    Source: The Hill (Monday March 16, 2015)

    A new Public Citizen report about obstetric safety in the United States concludes the U.S. “has a poor childbirth safety record, likely due in part to the failure of obstetrics practitioners to develop and adhere to standardized practices.”

  • Source: CDC Hospitals Don't Have to Tell You About Deadly Superbug Risks
    Source: Bloomberg (Friday March 6, 2015)

    “Hospitals don’t have a legal obligation to tell patients about the presence of pathogens — even antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Recent outbreaks, linked to contaminated endoscopes at UCLA and other hospitals, are bringing this policy gap to the fore.”

  • New York can't let the bad doctors hide
    Source: NY Daily News (Monday February 23, 2015)

    The NY Physician Profile website Cuomo wants to eliminate “was visited 35,000 times in December alone — a clear case of the public making good use of its right to know.”

  • Why Does Cuomo Want to Shutter New York’s Doctor Report Card Site?
    Source: NY Times (Tuesday February 24, 2015)

    “For the last few years, however, New York State has provided patients with some unvarnished relief. It came in the form of a website called That website has been carrying information, good and bad, about most New York doctors.”

  • How To Investigate Doctors
    Source: Propublica (Sunday February 8, 2015)

    Propublica provides state level information on how to look up information about doctors, including disciplinary information.

  • Joan Rivers Lawsuit Will Focus on Informed Consent
    Source: Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare (Friday February 6, 2015)

    A good document for patients to read before signing informed consent forms.

  • ProPublica Analysis: Government’s New Doctor Payments Website Worthy of a Recall
    Source: ProPublica (Wednesday October 1, 2014)

    Health reporter Charles Ornstein takes a test drive using the federal government’s new website for drug and device payments. He finds it virtually unusable.

  • ProPublica: Our First Dive Into the New Open Payments System
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday September 30, 2014)

    The government’s data on payments to doctors and hospitals by drug and device makers is incomplete and hard to penetrate – but here’s a first look. (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica)

  • Database shows $3.5 billion in industry ties to doctors, hospitals
    Source: LA Times (Wednesday October 1, 2014)

    “This exposure will require everybody to talk about something that’s been underground,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project.

  • California could change how nursing home residents receive antipsychotics
    Source: Reporting on Health (Monday September 8, 2014)

    Reporting on Health’s Bill Heisel covers a debate stirring over the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. Safe Patient Project activist, Marian Hollingsworth, weighs in.

  • Should signed consents be required to give nursing home residents antipsychotics?
    Source: Reporting on Health (Friday September 12, 2014)

    Reporting on Health’s Bill Heisel discusses issues around informed consent for nursing home residents.

  • Ex-Des Moines doctor cited in West Virginia VA death

    With a trail of errors behind him, Iowa doctor hired by a VA hospital in West Virginia.

  • There is a database, but it costs to search
    Source: Des Moines Register (Thursday August 14, 2014)

    The National Practitioner Data Bank is what state licensing boards use to research a doctor’s background but the AMA says it’s not reliable. Why is it acceptable to use this information to license a physician but not show it to the public?

  • Allegations against Allegany doctor highlight dearth of complaint info
    Source: The Baltimore Sun (Saturday June 7, 2014)

    In Maryland a doctor was licensed despite a rape conviction. Years later he sexually assaulted a patient. Why doesn’t the Maryland Medical Board keep this information from the public?

  • J&J alerted in 2006 to device's surgical risks, doctor says
    Source: Pittsburgh Business Times (Friday May 30, 2014)

    Use of power morcellators (a device that grinds up tissue inside the body before removal) in minimally invasive surgery has been connected to spreading undetected uterine cancer.

  • Addicted-doctors bill dies in committee -- and good riddance
    Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday May 23, 2014)

    A bad bill in CA that would have resurrected the “doctor diversion” program has been stopped in its tracks. CA patient safety activists had a lot to do with that!

  • New state rules seek to tighten doctor discipline
    Source: Crain's Detroit Business (Sunday April 20, 2014)

    New state rules are aimed in part at preventing licensing board chairs from stopping investigations because of conflicts of interest.

  • Dallas Anesthesiologist Being Sued Over Deadly Surgery Admits to Texting, Reading iPad During Procedures
    Source: Dallas Observer (Tuesday April 1, 2014)

    Dallas anesthesiologist admits to texting and using iPad during a woman’s cardiac surgery. The patient died and her family is arguing that the doctor was at fault due to “distracted doctoring.”

  • 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: (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:$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: (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 (

  • 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) 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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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

    Press Relase and Link to Adverse Medical Events Survey

  • 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: (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: (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: (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; 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: (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,, 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, 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