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doctor oversight

Picture of William Heisel

When I wrote in 2009 about the death of the Medical Board of California’s diversion program, some medical board staffers expressed disbelief that I would say anything nice about a program that had been so controversial.

Picture of William Heisel

Medicare’s new consumer information site, Physician Compare, promises the same gold mine of data patients find when they use Hospital Compare or Nursing Home Compare. But, unlike those sites, Physician Compare does not keep its promises.

Picture of William Heisel

Older doctors should not lose their licenses just because they hit a target birthday. But should they have their skills regularly tested after a certain age?

Picture of William Heisel

Although Doctors Behaving Badly tends to focus on exactly what you would expect, its mission is to make people aware of the many ways that patients are left unprotected.

There are nearly 1 million licensed, practicing physicians nationwide. Antidote has no ability to count how many are “behaving badly,” but it is safe to say that only a slim minority are tainting the reputation of the medical community. Doctors who abuse, injure or kill patients are the surrogate markers for an illness in the physician discipline system. They are not the illness.

Picture of William Heisel

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. There are some standouts, but, overall, they do a terrible job protecting patients and informing the public.

It bears repeating that most doctors do a great job and are focused on one thing: helping their patients heal and lead healthier lives. The mission of this tour was to explore what happens to that minority of doctors who don’t follow the rules.

Picture of William Heisel

Luckily for Dr. Dan Stephen Hollis, an Alabama ophthalmologist, medical boards rarely see selling drugs over the Internet in the same way that police officers see selling drugs in the street.

 

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