Medical Boards Step Up Disciplinary Actions
Wolfe pointed to the wide variation in the percentage of doctors in each state who undergo any kind of discipline as evidence that prosecutions against bad physician practice is uneven throughout the country.
"There's really no difference in the quality of doctors from state to state," he says. "What's different is the quality of the state medical boards." Even if, for example, a state like California did discipline more doctors in 2011, it still is 35th in the nation in percentage of disciplinary actions.
"Doctors are getting away with things in California that they wouldn't get away with other states" such as Louisiana, Alaska, or Ohio, where the percentage of doctors disciplined is the highest, he says.
Additionally, according to Public Citizen's report, the rate of serious actions per 1,000 doctors nationally is even lower than it was in 2009 and "continues to be significantly lower than the peak for the past 10 years."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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