Minnesota Medical Board Comes Under Scrutiny
A Minneapolis Star Tribune series looks at gaps in information available to consumers on doctor quality.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Doctors Who Err Escape Penalties
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, responsible for protecting the public from physician errors or misconduct, often shies away from punishing doctors whose mistakes harm patients or who demonstrate a pattern of substandard care, a Star Tribune investigation has found. Since 2000, at least 46 Minnesota doctors escaped board discipline after authorities in other states took action against their licenses for such missteps as committing crimes, patient care errors or having sexual or inappropriate relationships with patients (Howatt and Meryhew, 2/5).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Doctor Discipline: State Fails To Offer Full Disclosure
Minnesota's medical board doesn't provide access to malpractice awards and other records that are readily available in  other states. ... The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice also doesn't disclose whether doctors have been disciplined by regulators in other states or lost their privileges to work in hospitals and other facilities for surgical mistakes and other problems …. The Minnesota board does provide complete disciplinary reports on doctors going back to the 1970s (Meryhew and Howatt, 2/5).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minimum Standards Mean Less Discipline
In Minnesota, a doctor has to meet the minimum standard to avoid state discipline. And when a physician is caught making a mistake, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice often gives second chances (Meryhew and Howatt, 2/4).
In related news, doctors and other health professionals are complaining in Florida.
Health News Florida: DOH Costs 'Outrageous': Docs
Florida's health boards face a revolt by doctors, dentists and others refusing to pay what they call "outrageous" costs for their own prosecution in the wake of an appeals-court ruling. While the Department of Health seeks court resolution of the issue, two boards meeting today are stuck in legal limbo. The Board of Dentistry, meeting in St. Augustine, will hear from an angry dentist who was charged $40,000 by DOH in a minor case involving faulty record-keeping (Gentry, 2/3).