Dr James Schaller
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INTERNET GOSSIP ON MALPRACTICE
& "DISCIPLINE" ON THE INTERNET:
BUYER BEWARE

One headline at a so-called health information internet site, Public Citizen's Web site, offers the seductive promise of a special CD to buy which has all the discipline of doctors by "State and Federal Governments."

Health Research Group has its our own publicly-available data bank of doctors who have been "disciplined."

Forty-one states now post some information on the Internet about disciplinary actions against physicians. Virginia's Board of Medicine Practitioner Information Web site received 16,000 hits in its first 36 hours of operation. HealthGrades offers basic information on physicians and gets about 100,000 visitors a month.

Got a credit card? Then you can access disciplinary actions by state regulators and Medicare, as well as a profile that includes medical school and specialty board certification.

Public Citizen provides no free information on its site. It promotes a $400 book containing summary information about the 20,125 "questionable" doctors. A CD-ROM version sells for $600. Some of these doctors are not practicing or are dead. The Public Citizen data does not include information on malpractice suits or settlements.

Consumer interest in quality of care issues has spurred greater demand for information about physicians, but leaders of the medical profession have voiced strong concerns about the type of information being provided.

SIMPLISTIC VIEWS ON THESE MATERIALS

  1. I know of different thought leaders who have settled small malpractice cases, because to hire their own top lawyer and experts, and not the cheap dopes the insurance carrier offered, would cost $100-200,000. They settled for business reasons. If you are going to publically shame someone. They will never settle and will fight you forever like a dog. And recall, doctors are trained to defer gratification for decades and sacrificing large sums of money for their career. They can and will last years in the battle.
  2. Difficult patients are already being abandoned. If you are complex, you will not be accepted as a patient, since there are twenty more folks in the waiting room if the doctor is good. If you get sicker the doc will be sued and after that happens once, the doc will stop taking on challenging patients.
  3. If it is sensed you are looking into the doctor or your family is checking into the doctor, the physician will simply terminate you. I have had patients abuse my staff repeatedly and they always seem surprised that I terminate their care. They seem to think I am a masochist. Just because I love medicine and love healing, does not mean I will treat lawsuit-oriented people, who are abusive to staff and entitled. It is easy to find a mocking smarty-pants relative or other doctor willing to devalue a physician's care. But they rarely help folks I have been treating -- even after 1-2 years. Talk is cheap.
  4. The most progressive and cutting-edge doctors often come up in Medical Board accusations. Perhaps because they accept the most complex and personality disordered patients. Perhaps because they try new options when the traditional options have failed. Perhaps because the lawyers on the board who direct prosecutions and their dinosaur "experts" are clueless about the advanced care offered.
  5. An accusation does not mean a positive finding. Publishing an accusation anywhere assumes the brilliance of a prosecution attorney who does not even know where the spleen is located. Please, be serious.
  6. Many discipline issues are for profoundly unclinical reasons. Lawyers decide the medical record is for them and not for your medical care as notes to remind the physician of his care. They feel the doctor should be an extensive scribe and these prosecuting jokers ignorantly think physicians can be emotionally and intellectually present for you and take extensive legal notes. Dream on and stop the LSD! If your doc attends to you, but does not make a lawyer-approved full and complete note, they are toast. Paper over people -- that sounds like most lawyers. Paper money over people.
  7. All physicians perform acts able to be disciplined by a state board. For example, if you are given a common medically monitored medication and the doctor does not put your address on the script, it is a violation of Federal law.
  8. The dirty little secret of state medical boards is that lawyers run them. Guess what? Lawyers do not know ninth grade biology, and cannot be in the same room with a physician with 10-40 years post-doctoral clinical medical science. But lawyers decide whom to attack.
  9. State Board "experts" are commonly of dubious ability and some are grossly ignorant or impaired. Some are simply paid prostitutes who will merely criticize to be used again in the future.
  10. No common sense settlements are possible with published state board records. If someone needs more education in a certain area, they should just do it, and the prosecutor should accept that, and all can get on with serving people. Yet, if it is public, the doctor cannot admit to a single thing and must fight to the death and be perfect.
  11. If your state becomes known as an anti-physician state, engaged in public shame, you will lose the best creative doctors for 20-40 years. Doctors have memories that make elephants look senile. They will remember the caricature of your state, and will not forget what they read, see, or hear about other doctors struggling with malpractice abuse or state board abuse.
  12. Some states and locations have more malpractice than ants. It is hardly because all their doctors are useless. The culture is pro-lawsuit. Guess what? Your area is burned for 25 plus years. You just had a brain drain.

For more information: www.psychiatrictimes.com/p020160.html

To Many Good Doctors in Your Town to Care for You!

Dr. J



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