Doctor discipline rate drops, complaints rise; Sharp decline questioned in light of tougher new powers granted state investigators

Albany Times-Union
Friday, June 11, 2010

ALBANY -- The number of doctors sanctioned by the state board of discipline has dropped to the lowest point in 15 years despite a growing number of complaints filed against doctors.

In 2009, Office of Professional Medical Conduct and Physician Discipline sanctioned 292 out of New York's 65,000 practicing physicians -- 25 percent less than in 2005. The number of complaints filed against doctors rose to 9,000, up 18 percent from 2005.

"We are disappointed," said Blair Horner, legislative director for New York Public Interest Research Group.

Horner discussed an analysis on doctor discipline Thursday at a news conference at Legislative Office Building. The report titled "System Failure" was compiled by NYPIRG, the Center for Justice & Democracy, the Center for Medical Consumers and Consumers Union.

The declining number of disciplinary actions was surprising in light of 2008 legislation that gave the state office more power to investigate doctors based on medical malpractice claims, Horner said.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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