Friday, March 18, 2011
The common law implications for institutions failing to disclose adverse results associated with individual physicians were recently discussed here. But what are the downstream results when institutions do take action against physicians with clinical privileges? The answer provided in the Public Citizen report, State Medical Boards Fail to Discipline Doctors With Hospital Actions Against Them, available here, is all too frequently, not much!
The report analyses 10 years of data in the National Practitioner Data Bank, here. It found that 5,887, or 55%, of physicians who had their clinical privileges revoked or restricted had experienced no state licensing actions. Over 2000 of this cohort had one or more of the most serious violations, such as incompetence or "immediate threat to safety."
It is hard to fault Public Citizen's conclusion:
Hospital disciplinary reports are peer review actions that are one of the most important sources of information for medical board oversight. Subsequent state medical board action against a physician’s license provides a greater assurance than a hospital disciplinary action alone that the practitioners medical practice would be monitored or limited and that other state medical boards and future employers will have a more complete account of a practitioner’s practice history.
Our analysis of physicians with clinical privilege reports but no state licensure action raises serious questions about whether state medical boards are responding adequately to hospital disciplinary reports and whether, as required by federal law, state medical boards are receiving such reports.