5 things to know about variation in physician discipline across state lines

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Discipline for physicians varies greatly from state-to-state, according to a recent Medical Xpress report based on a BMJ Quality and Safety study.

 

Here are five things to know:

 

1. Delaware, Kentucky and Ohio have the highest adjusted disciplinary action rates while Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania have the lowest. Oversight on physicians is state-regulated.

 

2. Obstetrician-gynecologists have the highest physician misbehavior rate of the specialties studied.

 

3. There are 3.75 disciplinary actions each year in the United States for every 1,000 practicing physicians; there are 1.15 serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 practicing physicians. By state, there is a huge difference in the disciplinary action rate. For example, there are 7.93 per 1,000 practicing physicians in Delaware compared to 2.13 per 1,000 practicing physicians in Massachusetts.

 

4. The state medical board’s actions could have an impact on physicians moving between states. Whereas in one state a violation could be a fine, in another the physician could lose their license. In the more lax states, physicians could move on to practice in another state without repercussions.

 

5. Several additional factors make it difficult to track discipline between states:

 

• The ease of making a complaint to the state board
• Resources available to investigate a complaint
• Board makeup — physicians versus non-physicians
• Standards for making a judgement and disciplinary action

 

More articles on physicians:
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How to boost income: Best ideas for physicians

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