Medical malpractice, disciplinary information available by phone
MASSACHUSETTS–A bill that allows people in Massachusetts to receive previously withheld information about physicians became effective in early November.
Patients who want information such as malpractice judgments and settlements, disciplinary actions or criminal records of doctors are now able to call a toll-free telephone number and gain access to records of up to 10 physicians per call.
The law is the first of its kind in the United States, and is being closely watched by several other states that are considering similar measures, according to The Washington Post.
Profiles available through the Board of Registration in Medicine’s toll-free number also contain information about a doctor’s schooling, publications, or any awards received.
A provision to make these records accessible on the World Wide Web will not be implemented before May 1, and only then if results of a study of the impact Internet access is favorable. Several physicians’ groups had expressed concern that the availability of this type of information on the Internet could jeopardize the personal safety of physicians and their families. (H.B. 5662)