According to Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, the Texas State Medical Board has failed to properly discipline more than 450 doctors, responsible for serious violations over two-decades.
Using information from the National Practitioner Data Bank, Public Citizen found that Texas healthcare facilities imposed clinical-privilege sanctions against 793 physicians between September, 1990 and December, 2011. Yet 58% of them were never disciplined by the state medical board as they should have been.
Public Citizen further reports that 459 doctors were responsible for 641 clinical action reports, resulting in 144 punitive peer-review actions.
Legal actions against 216 of these doctors resulted in 473 malpractice payouts, and one physician in the group was responsible for 22 malpractice payouts by himself, according to the report.
In a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (PDF), Dr. Irvin Zeitler of the Texas Medical Board noted that between 2005 and 2009, 147 physicians have had a clinical privilege report, but only 60 of the cases had been reported to the board.
In a separate letter to Perry (PDF), by Sidney Wolfe, MD, Director of Public Citizen Health Research Group, wrote that the Board also faces a backlog of work caused by staff shortages. While medical board operations are traditionally funded by doctor license fees, Wolfe noted that the Texas Board functions on a mere one-third of the $60 million these fees bring in over a two-year period.
(We thank Andis Robeznieks for his excellent health-related reporting. His articles can be seen regularly in Modern Physician web magazine.)
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