Way to go, New York! Thanks to consumer action, New Yorkers will have access to a crucial state website to look up their doctor. The NY state budget deal restored funding for the New York State Physician Profile website. Our e-action resulted in over 2,300 emails from NY constituents urging Governor Cuomo, NY Senators and Assembly Members to “Save the Physician Profile reporting website!” This informative website enables consumers to look up New York doctors’ medical malpractice records and other vital background information. You can check it out.
The NY Physician Profile website has been in place for nearly 15 years, and provides vital, one-stop information on medical safety including a doctor’s criminal record, malpractice awards, limitations on practice, and loss of hospital privileges. This is important information that you and I should have access to when looking for a doctor. The website was visited 35,000 times in December alone — a clear case of the public making good use of its right to know.
Our Consumers Union staff and fifteen other consumer partner groups urged the NY Governor to drop his plan to dump the website. The Governor had proposed eliminating the web site to save money, claiming that similar information was available on commercial websites. In a letter to the governor, groups wrote: “… if just one person avoids death or disability because they use this site to choose a doctor with better credentials, the money is well worth it.” We took to social media to ask the Governor to do the right thing and keep this website alive.
Here is a snapshot of the great media coverage we got on this issue:
Editorial: New York can’t let the bad doctors hide.
Physician Profiles advocate decries loss of funding in Cuomo budget proposal
NY budget deal saves website that provides information about docs
In the final NY State budget adopted by the legislature, and signed by the Governor, the state restored approximately $1.2 million in funding for the New York Physician Profile Website, which was a true win for consumers. The budget deal actually improves the web site, by tightening reporting deadlines for physician submissions to the web site. It also directs the NY Department of Health to study the feasibility of adding additional information about which insurance plan networks the doctors participate in.
Thanks to everyone that emailed, tweeted, and shared Facebook posts to pressure the Governor to stand with consumers and restore funding to this important website. Now New Yorkers can avoid being in the dark when it comes to getting quality health information.
Have you ever looked up your doctor on a state website or any other doctor ratings website? Tell us what you found useful or not useful in the comments below!