An alarming report released by Washington, D.C.’s Public Citizen says that California is not disciplining its doctors for poor and negligent medical care. According to the report, California’s medical board failed to discipline 710 doctors for various violations from September 1990 to December 2009. In addition, peer reviewers classified 102 of the doctors as an “immediate threat to health or safety.”
Various California hospitals and health maintenance organizations originally disciplined the doctors for substandard care, misdiagnoses, alcohol and substance abuse, leaving surgical equipment inside patients, among other violations. However, the state medical board did not follow-up with the necessary disciplinary action.
Public Citizen contacted California’s medical board about the failed disciplinary actions. A spokesperson for the medical board cited understaffing and a lack of resources as reasons for why the 710 doctors escaped punishment. With 102 of the doctors classified as immediate threats to health or safety, it represents nearly half the number of doctors nationwide with that dubious distinction.
The report marks quite a downfall for California’s medical disciplinary record. The state used to rank as one of the best for disciplining its doctors. But since 2006, California has continued to drop in the rankings. It now ranks 41st in states with the lowest disciplinary actions against doctors.
Approved by attorney Kelly Fisher