Several states recently passed or are considering legislation that would require state medical boards to post more physician disciplinary information on their websites, American Medical News reports.
Humayun Chaundhry -- president of the Federation of State Medical Boards -- said most medical licensing boards require doctors to report certain information, such as criminal convictions and liability settlements. However, each board generally decides what data to post on its website, he said.
According to a 2007 FSMB report, 65 medical boards provide doctor profiles on their websites and 56 post data on board-related disciplinary histories.
Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia provide information about felony convictions, actions of other state medical boards and some liability claims.
Last month, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) signed a law requiring the state's medical licensing board to respond quicker to consumer complaints against physicians. Meanwhile, Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill (SB 41) that would establish deadlines for agencies to respond to public records requests, including requests for physician information.
In addition, legislators in Missouri and Texas are considering measures that would require state medical boards to post more information on their websites.
Supporters of such measures say that promoting transparency in physician disciplinary records can help patients identify the small percentage of doctors who could pose safety risks.
However, opponents say that such laws could interfere with a physician's right to due process (Krupa, American Medical News, 5/9).