Last week, we discussed how several doctors who have been disciplined in others states for misconduct have been allowed to continue practicing in Connecticut without any sanctions. This raises a concern that this trend could make Connecticut patients more vulnerable to medical malpractice. Today, we will discuss some of the possible causes of this leniency.
Some claim it is due to a deficiency in Connecticut law. Current law does not give the Connecticut Medical Examining Board the authority to recognize the findings of other state boards as fact when considering a disciplinary review. Thus, the board must perform a completely new review if they want to sanction a doctor for conduct committed in another state. This makes it much more difficult for Connecticut to perform reciprocal disciplinary actions.
If this is what is causing the leniency towards disciplined doctors, then there are some clear ways to address this problem. The main solution would be to get the legislature to pass a law which allows the Examining Board to use the findings of other state boards in their own disciplinary reviews. This would make it much easier to take reciprocal disciplinary actions against doctors. Such a solution is currently being pursued by the state health department.
However, it is also possible that the treatment of doctors disciplined in other states is just a reflection of a larger trend towards leniency by the Examining Board. Connecticut has one of the lower rates of disciplinary actions taken against doctors. If this is the problem, it will be much more difficult to address, as it is more systemic in nature.
As we discussed previously, this trend of leniency towards doctors disciplined in other states raises serious questions regarding patient care. Is the state doing everything it can to make sure that only quality doctors practice here? One hopes that state officials are looking closely into this matter and considering how to best ensure that Connecticut patients receive the best care possible.
Source: New Haven Independent, "Disciplined Docs Practice Freely In State," Lisa Chedekel, 6 Dec 2010