Federal Data Reports 400% Increase in Disciplinary Actions Against Medical Professionals In Ohio
Since 1990, Ohio medical malpractice disciplinary cases are up 400% according to a recent federal report. Many individuals are unaware of the nationwide data collection effort implemented by Congress, and managed by the federal government. The National Practitioner Data Bank tracks and records certain disciplinary actions against medical professionals in an effort address and prevent state to state moves. Prior to this system, a physician in trouble in Pennsylvania could start over in Ohio with little or no problem. The biggest question I have as an attorney, and as a patient, is why are these records kept secret from the public eye? While the National Practitioner Data Bank may prevent a physician from jumping state lines and starting over, what if that individual hasn’t lost their license or has ‘only’ been reprimanded lesser offenses? This malpractice data should be made public.
The Secret Society
In Ohio and beyond, it may seem there is a covert society that flies under the radar and sweeps medical malpractice claims under the proverbial rug. Unfortunately, this unspoken behavior is pretty prolific. The Director of the Law Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University recently stated that medical malpractice is almost never the explanation provided when a victim or their family is harmed by a physician or medical facility.
With a multitude of automatic and manual systems in place to identify medical mistakes, including federally mandated reporting practices – why are these malpractice cover-ups so common place?
Restricted Access and Smoke Screens
In Ohio and across the country, the federal systems that are in place to monitor and prevent medical abuse may be seen as a way to appease the public, and do not necessarily accomplish the stated goals. It has been proven that cover-ups and creative record keeping can be traced back to state health departments and even the CDC (Center for Disease Control). The assumption is that if a medical facility is going to share information forthright with government entities collecting data, those entities must ‘forgive and forget’ and protect the information in order to continue receiving the data.
If this alarming information is gathered and categorized, why shouldn’t you and I have access to it? For example, in Ohio, there are countless records on physicians, nurses and other medical professionals that document medical malpractice claims, payouts and more. If you are researching a surgeon or physician – You should have access to this information!
Congress has recently been pushing for a release of certain reports and documents in Ohio and across the country, but this is only the first step in the right direction. A hospital’s fear of being sued is not an adequate reason to prevent you and I from accessing this pertinent information.