State Medical Boards Are Letting Patients Down

If you follow patient safety news, you've seen this headline before. Why should you care? Apart from retaining an attorney to represent you in the event of medical malpractice, what stands most prominently between medical consumers and the bad behavior of health-care providers is their states' medical boards.

These government agencies are charged with licensing medical practitioners, monitoring their practices and punishing those who make serious mistakes or who commit crimes. Sometimes, this oversight is lacking. We’ve written here before about states that fail to discipline doctors whose own hospitals find their behavior wanting, and about how one state—Washington—took the lead in addressing its board’s deficiencies.

A recent study by consumer watchdog Public Citizen has ranked states’ effectiveness in protecting their citizens from substandard physicians. Thanks primarily to shrinking budgets and also to flagging political will and leadership, residents of many states have a lot to be concerned about.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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