A new report is showing that state medical boards are not living up to their obligations to protect patients from those doctors who are practicing substandard medicine. Although the rate in which states took disciplinary action against doctors rose slightly in 2009, this is still 18 percent lower than the highest rate which occurred 5 years ago. The Public Citizen Press Room is reporting that if the rate stayed constant at the peak rate, there would have been an additional 653 serious disciplinary actions taken against U.S. physicians.
The director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group stated that there is mounting evidence showing that medical boards are under-disciplining physicians who commit medical error. He believes that most states are not living up to their obligations to the general population to protect those patients from doctors who are not practicing safe medicine. It is imperative that serious attention be given to improving how state medical boards hold physicians accountable. To ensure this, legislative action must but pressure on the medical boards. There needs to be legislative oversight of medical boards in order to decrease the amount of medical errors. While Illinois does not land in the states with the worst records of disciplining physicians, it also does not land in the best. They have worked towards improving the amount of disciplinary actions taken. Illinois must make sure that their medical boards are closely watching all medical errors committed by physicians in order to protect patients. To learn more about the medical malpractice study, please click the link.