HEALTH AND SAFETY

» Drug, Devices, and Supplements

» Physician Accountability

» Consumer Product Safety

» Worker Safety

» Health Care Delivery

» Auto and Truck Safety

» Global Access to Medicines

» Infant Formula Marketing

 

More Information on State Medical Boards' Disciplinary Actions

State Medical Boards Fail to Discipline Doctors with Hospital Actions Against Them

March 15, 2011

Alan Levine
Robert Oshel, Ph.D.
Sidney Wolfe, M.D.

View entire report (pdf)
View letter to Secretary Sebelius about this report (pdf)
View sample letter to state medical boards which failed to discipline 50 percent or more of the physicians with clinical privilege reports


 

Methodology

We analyzed the NPDB Public Use File and extracted information about 5,887 physicians (identified in this file only by a coded number) who had at least one clinical privilege report in the NPDB but no medical board licensure action report in the NPDB.

For the purposes of our analysis, these physicians were assigned to a state based on the state in which the last clinical privilege action occurred. Thus, a physician may have had two clinical privilege actions reported in state A, but the third and most recent report was for state B. The physician in this example would have been assigned to state B for the purposes of our analysis. This means that, by definition, for the state-stratified data in this report, every state that is counted as having failed to take a license action after a previous hospital action is the same state in which the most recent hospital action occurred. In addition, if a physician with one or more clinical privilege actions had a licensing board action in any state, the practitioner was not included in our study.

We examined the following: (1) the number of clinical privilege reports per physician, nationally and by state; (2) the number of clinical privilege reports for reasons that would much more likely warrant a medical board action, such as “Immediate Threat to Health or Safety,” incompetence and sexual misconduct; and (3) the number of medical malpractice payment reports for the 5,887 physicians with one or more clinical privilege actions but no board licensure action in our study. Unless otherwise noted, the data in the report and in the exhibits cover the period from September 1, 1990, the date the NPDB started collecting data, through December 31, 2009.

Clinical privilege actions, which totaled 8,734 reports (involving 5,887 physicians) in our analysis of physicians without a medical board licensure action, could include extensions or decreases in length of sanction, reinstatements and other changes in sanctions, thereby accounting for more than one report for many physicians.[1]



[1] Automatic reinstatements after a suspension would not be included, but neither would the action that was voided. Although these reports of changes to penalties increase the number of reports in a physician’s record, they are relatively infrequent, and therefore we do not believe they affect the core conclusions of our analysis since such reports are included in a physician’s record only if the original action was reported.  Furthermore, their actual impact on our analysis, if any, is debatable, since they may indicate either a more severe penalty based on a physician’s failure to meet conditions imposed with an original action or a reduction in the originally imposed penalty. 

View next section

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.