Checking your healthcare provider's complaint history and disciplinary action can help you choose a healthcare provider. If you need a complex medical examination or treatment, you should choose your healthcare provider wisely . You will need to do a little research on the healthcare facility to make sure its credentials , experience, and capabilities are adequate for your needs.
The information you are looking for may not be easy to find. While many provider rating sites or directory listings contain disciplinary information, it is rarely complete or up-to-date. In some cases, healthcare providers have to report their concerns themselves, and they are unlikely to report negligence.
The best source of information is the state board on health licensing, although you should check all the states in which the health professional has practiced. To find this, use the AMA document search engine operated by the American Medical Association.
How to perform a background search
Background searches of a healthcare provider's medical history take time, so don't be discouraged if you don't get answers right away. In some cases, you may need to speak to someone on the phone; in others, you can find what you need on the Internet. To perform a medical biography search:
- Go to the Federation of State Medical Council Healthcare Provider Data Center website to check basic healthcare provider information, including board certificates, education , listed states where a valid license is held, and any action against the healthcare provider.
- Check with the state health licensing board in your state and wherever the healthcare provider has practiced using AMA Doc Finder. If you discover that a healthcare provider's license has been suspended, it usually means that a crime has been committed.
- Do an online search . Put the name of the healthcare provider in quotation marks so that the phrase remains the same (for example, "Dr. John Smith"), followed by keywords such as "negligence", "lawsuit", "penalty", " complaint " or "deletion." 'Start by using only one keyword at a time. You can use more as your search broadens.
Remember that there can be more than one healthcare provider with the same name. Please cross-reference any information you have to make sure you are not wrong.
It is important that you contact all of the state medical licensing boards under which the healthcare provider operates, not just your own. Negligence claims and disciplinary actions are not always passed from one licensing board to another.
The sad truth is that a healthcare provider can build up a history of negligence in one state, get licensed in a new state, and start from scratch. So you need to do your homework to get as much evidence as possible.
Make a qualified judgment
Even when information of abuse or disciplinary action is found, clarification of terminology or circumstances may be required. Judging a healthcare provider simply on the basis of their malpractice history may not tell the whole story.
For example, some rating sites may indicate that the surgeon is "successful." They are not telling you that some surgeons, in order to maintain a high rating, do not accept certain high-risk patients. A record showing a higher bounce rate does not always mean that the provider is "less successful."
The same applies to the disclosure of a negligence claim. While this can lead you away from a lesser reputable healthcare provider, it can also lead to wrong assumptions.
While a negligence claim can be a red flag, this does not necessarily mean that you have been acquitted. It is not uncommon for claims for death or personal injury beyond the control of a healthcare provider. Be honest and talk to your doctor instead of making incorrect assumptions.
The main thing is to be objective and determined. The goal is not to expose the dirt; it's about finding the best healthcare provider, surgeon, or specialist for your needs and condition. To this end, don't hesitate to ask your healthcare provider about a negligence claim or other action you may face.
While you may not get the answers you want, you at least have the ability to make an informed judgment based on all the facts you do get.
Get the word of drug information
After completing a background search, don't be upset if you end up with little information. This may mean that the healthcare provider has a clear medical history or it may be that the violation has been legally corrected.
For example, if a claim was settled out of court, it can be withdrawn because the claim will be withdrawn. This does not mean that the healthcare provider was wrong (sometimes it is cheaper to settle a case than incur expensive legal fees) and it does not mean that the healthcare provider is right.
If you don't have any information on a medical facility, take the direct route and simply ask if you've ever been sued for negligence, civil action, or disciplinary action. You have the right to know. Be respectful and let your gut tell you what makes sense and what doesn't.
Frequently asked questions
Medical malpractice is a legal action brought against a healthcare professional that causes injury or death due to negligence or deviation from standard medical practice. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against an individual or institution (such as a hospital).
Generally speaking, a plaintiff must prove three things in a negligence claim:
- That the treatment used did not meet the standard of care.
- The match was injured as a result of deviations from the standard of care.
- That the injury has resulted in significant losses in the form of suffering, disability, loss of income, financial hardship, or other hardship.
Perhaps the best way to verify whether a healthcare provider has been prosecuted for negligence or disciplinary action is to contact your state medical board. The Federation of State Medical Commissions (FSMB) offers a list of contact information for state commissions.
All medical errors must be reported to the state medical board. The council will give you detailed information on what is required to file a complaint, which may vary from state to state.
After filing a malpractice complaint, the state medical council will contact the healthcare provider or hospital (and its associated insurance company). If there is evidence of a conflict of interest, the insurance company may contact you to resolve the dispute. However, submitting a report does not mean that you will receive a response, especially if the board determines that there was no evidence of negligence.
You will need to hire an anti-negligence attorney. Finding a reputable attorney can be difficult, but sometimes your insurance company, as well as your local or state bar association, can help. A malpractice attorney can also advise you in advance if a malpractice lawsuit is warranted and help you file a report with the state medical commission.