What is the risk of dangerous doctors being punished by the State Medical Board which licenses them? Well, if you happen to ply your trade in California, it is likely you will never get into any real trouble at all.
This, according to the public safety watchdog group Public Citizen, in it’s annual report in August. The Public Citizen investigation revealed that a jaw-dropping 700 California physicians sanctioned by hospitals and outpatient clinics for serious misbehavior have yet to face any action, by the the same board that touts “public safety” as their number one priority.
The Public Citizen study points out that California’s Medical Board doctor discipline performance has consistently deteriorated over the last decade. The non-profit group was so concerned about patient safety that they sent a formal advisory to Governor Jerry Brown. The letter urged him to take immediate action on what it referred to as “dangerously inadequate medical board activity.”
In the letter, the group detailed there were currently 220 physicians nationwide considered an “immediate threat to health or safety,” and a stunning 102 of them were – and likely still are – California physicians. A rather remarkable finding, we think, when one considers that California has a mere 12% of all licenses doctors in the nation.
In the national ranking of state medical board physician disciplinary action, California barely escaped from being one of the worst 10 states.
According to Doctor Sidney Wolfe, author of the study, the facts show that incompetent, unethical and criminal doctors who might have been properly disciplined a few years ago, are escaping scrutiny today.
“In California, they’re less likely to get disciplined than in the past. The state is sinking in its rate of disciplinary actions.” (Doctor Sidney Wolfe)
The safest states when it comes to doctor discipline are, in order, listed as follows:
9. New Mexico
2. North Dakota
# # #