SALT LAKE CITY – Finding out if your doctor has ever been disciplined by a state medical board can be a daunting task under the best of circumstances, and some states make it even tougher.
According to Consumer Reports, Utah is rated one of the most difficult states for finding out if your doctor has been put on probation for misconduct, made malpractice payouts or been convicted of crimes.
Lisa McGiffert, a Consumer Reports spokeswoman, says states should make it easy for consumer to find that information, but Utah falls short of the mark.
“Utah has kind of a mixed bag,” she states. “They’ve got information in two different places that they could integrate. They don’t provide a plain language summary of why the board took actions against doctors and how that action restricted their license.”
McGiffert says Consumer Reports has published a <a href=”http://consumersunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Final-report-for-posting-3-28-16-6PM-ET.pdf” target=”parent”>study</a> of the medical boards in all 50 states, ranking them from best to worst, based on how well they provide information.
She says one bright spot for Utah was that its website made it fairly easy to find complaints against doctors, but that information was not part of a single profile page.
McGiffert says Consumer Reports evaluated each state’s medical board using 61 criteria. The main thing Consumer Reports looked for was whether the boards made complete information available in one convenient online place.
“Generally, we were looking to see whether these boards had what we call a physician profile where you can find pretty much everything that they have about the doctor that’s publicly available,” McGiffert explains.
She says Consumer Reports maintains that the National Practitioner Data Bank should be open to the public. It’s a federal repository that contains information on malpractice payments and disciplinary actions taken by state medical boards and hospitals.
Access to the information is currently limited to doctors, hospitals, law enforcement, insurance companies and medical boards.