Report chides state health agency about doctor oversight

Times Union
Thursday, May 15, 2014

The state needs to do a better job overseeing doctors and informing New Yorkers about disciplinary actions taken against them, a coalition of consumer groups said Thursday.

"It is, after all, the public that gives the power to government to license doctors in the first place," said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Over three-quarters of doctors found negligent by the state Department of Health are allowed to continue practicing, according to their report, "Questionable Doctors." More than half of the disciplinary actions taken by the state were against doctors already sanctioned by other states, the federal government and the courts, the report found.

The information that is available to the public about these doctors is difficult to find, advocates said. And reports intended to be released annually do not come out on time. The Health Department's last annual report was released in 2010.

The groups' recommendations include creating a new office to assist consumers with tracking down information on doctors, and requiring doctors' offices to post information on how to access data on disciplinary actions.

They also called for requiring doctors whose errors result in harm to a patient to notify the patient or patient's family when the error occurs.

The state Health Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Groups releasing the report Thursday included NYPIRG, Center for Medical Consumers, Center for Justice & Democracy, Commission on the Public's Health System, Consumers Union, Empire State Consumer Project, New Yorkers for Patient & Family Empowerment, Peggy Lillis Foundation and Pulse of New York.


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