New York Leads Nation in Taking Licenses of Disciplined Doctors
Albany, April 27, 1999 – New York continues to get high marks nationally for its record of doctor discipline, Acting State Health Commissioner Dennis P. Whalen said today. Acting Commissioner Whalen pointed to a just–released report from the Federation of State Medical Boards which shows New York ranked first of all large states in taking away licenses of disciplined doctors during 1998.
The 1998 report, similar to the 1997 report, showed that New York took 258 actions that resulted in license revocation, suspension or surrender—up from 206 in 1997. The State also scored extremely well in the total number of disciplinary actions taken, the number of prejudicial actions taken, number and percentage of physicians disciplined and the number of license restrictions or limitations ordered.
"This report shows once again that New York is taking an aggressive approach to protecting patients from bad doctors and that our efforts are paying off," said the Acting Commissioner. "We will continue to act swiftly and surely against physicians who are incompetent or negligent or who abuse their patients' trust. The report from the Federation of State Medical Boards shows that not only are we protecting the public from bad doctors but that our efforts have been noteworthy."
Acting Commissioner Whalen said that action taken by Governor Pataki, such as the 1996 legislation he signed, has helped the State make significant strides in protecting the public and increasing the number of completed misconduct investigations.
Acting Commissioner Whalen said, "The 1996 legislation signed by Governor Pataki is paying high dividends. The Governor's leadership has enabled the Health Department and the Board for Professional Medical Conduct to set an impressive standard for the rest of the nation."
The 1996 legislation signed by the Governor included a fee increase for physician registration, with the additional funds helping to pay for misconduct investigations. It also permitted the State to immediately disclose disciplinary actions and impose penalties in the most serious cases, without waiting for the appeals process to be exhausted.
Acting Commissioner Whalen said New York took a total of 414 serious disciplinary actions against physicians last year, second in the nation. However, New York led the nation when disciplinary actions were compared to the total number of doctors licensed in comparable states.
"It should be clear that the Health Department actively investigates every complaint, and it should be equally clear that any doctor who is found committing misconduct will be disciplined to the full extent of the law," said the Acting Commissioner. "As the report shows, and as our track record shows, New York is setting a standard for physician discipline."
The Federation of State Medical Boards, a non–profit organization headquartered in Euless, Texas, uses a complex formula to gauge the annual level of physician discipline activity of each state. The Federation represents 68 medical licensing and disciplinary boards in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.