By Mathew Goldstein
Disciplining physicians who exhibit incompetence or whose conduct is illegal or abusive towards patients is a chief responsibility of the state medical boards. State licensing boards and health care entities, including professional societies, are required to report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) certain adverse licensing and disciplinary actions taken against individual practitioners. Malpractice insurers and other payers are also required to report all malpractice payments made on behalf of individual practitioners. State level summary information that does not identify individuals is publicly available.
Maryland’s rate is 0.89 which ranks 25th among all states. That earns Maryland an F grade (51%) relative to Michigan’s rate. Virginia’s rate is 1.02 which also earns an F grade (58%). Marylanders and Virginians, like the citizens of most states, should be concerned about the poor performance of state medical boards.
Public Citizen notes: “For $2.50 per physician per year, boards can purchase “continuous query” from the NPDB for each licensee. the licensing boards of Florida, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Wyoming enrolled substantially all their licensees in continuous query. All of these states except Wyoming — a low population state for which a relatively few licensure actions could make a relatively large change in ranking position — were among the twenty highest ranked states.” Yet “In 2022 the licensing boards of 29 states had no physicians enrolled in the Data Bank’s continuous query service. Six of those 29 state boards made no single name queries to the Data Bank. Seven state boards only had between one and fifty physicians enrolled.” Those numbers are pathetic.