Watchdog Agency Cites ‘ Questionable’ Doctors

A national health group has charged that fewer than a third of the country’s disciplined physicians were not required to stop practicing, even temporarily.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and author of "16,638 Questionable Doctors," said the group lists 393 doctors disciplined for sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a patient and 2,391 disciplined for substandard care, incompetence or negligence."
Wolfe called for the federally-funded National Practitioner Data Bank to make available the names of disciplined doctors to the public.
He said that of 34,049 disciplinary actions taken against the doctors named in Public Citizen’s analysis, most did not lead to any removal, even temporarily of a doctor’s license. Listed in the book are 1,861 doctors involved in criminal offenses, 2,391 doctors disciplined for substandard care, incompetence or negligence, 1,521 doctors who over prescribed or mis-prescribed drugs, 1,390 doctors with actions taken because of substance abuse and 393 doctors disciplined for sex-related offenses.
Public Citizen is calling for changes in state and federal policy to combat this national problem including the following recommendations:
• Data sharing by state medical boards, Medicare peer review organizations, state Medicaid agencies and Drug Enforcement Administration in catching and sanctioning malfeasant doctors.
• The National Practitioner Data Bank should be opened to the public.
• The names of doctors whose controlled-substance prescription licenses are removed or restricted by the Drug Enforcement Administration should routinely be publicized.
o State medical boards should report to the public all their disciplinary actions and the offenses for which their actions were taken.
For more information "16,638 Questionable Doctors," call (202) 588-7780.
.— Johnny Correa

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