By Claudia Buck
Complaints against physicians for misconduct have dogged the Medical Board of California for years. Some say the system is broken, with patients unable to easily figure out if their doctor has been disciplined.
With complaints rising – more than 8,000 lodged annually over the past three years – the issue was revived this week as lawmakers, patients and a consumer group demanded answers on why the number of medical complaints keeps growing and how the medical board is informing patients.
Carmen Balber, executive director of the group Consumer Watchdog, said little has changed since the board was last up for review four years ago, when it was reprimanded for not doing enough to inform patients of doctors’ disciplinary history.
“The medical board continues to fail in its primary mission, which is patient protection, not doctor protection,” Balber said. “This is about patients who didn’t know about dangerous doctors and face the results.”