To this end, don't hesitate to ask a doctor about a malpractice suit or other action you may find. She has written several books about patient advocacy and how to best navigate the healthcare system. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. One thing you'll certainly want to do before picking a healthcare provider is figure out whether there have been any formal complaints made against the doctor or hospital you're considering. Be fair and speak with the doctor rather than making a wrong assumption. You can find it here: https://www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board/. Many state licensing boards have websites you can access for free to determine whether the board has taken any disciplinary action against a particular physician. The Federation of State Medical Boards has compiled a list of contact information for each of the state medical boards. The Federation of State Medical Boards has compiled a database called DocInfo, which provides background data on almost one million licensed doctors in the U.S., including information regarding any disciplinary action taken against the provider. While you may not get the answers you need, you at least have the opportunity to make an informed judgment based on all of the facts you've received. 2011;365(7):629–636. For example, if your doctor… Place quotation marks around the doctor's name to keep the phrase intact (such as "Dr. John Smith") and follow this with such keywords as "malpractice," "lawsuit," "sanction," "complaint," or "suspension." Reading Your Doctor's Medical Services Receipt, Using HON to Find Credible Internet Health Information, More Deaths Than You Might Think Are Caused by Medical Error, An introduction to medical malpractice in the United States, Malpractice risk according to physician specialty, Go first to the Federation of State Medical Board's. Cross-reference whatever information you have to ensure you don't make a mistake. Below are some of the most common: There are organizations whose purpose is to rate the quality of physicians. Place quotation marks around the doctor's name to keep the phrase intact (such as "Dr. John Smith") and follow this with such keywords as "malpractice," "lawsuit," … For example, if a lawsuit has been settled out of court, it may be removed since the claim will have been withdrawn. Even when malpractice or disciplinary information can be found, it may require an explanation of terminology or circumstances. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. At a minimum, you should be able to determine whether any lawsuits have been filed (past or present) against a particular physician. In some cases, it is up to the doctors to self-report problems, and malpractice is one thing they'll be least likely to divulge. She has co-authored two books for the popular Dummies Series (as Shereen Jegtvig). Not all physicians and health facilities are the same, and they don't all provide the same level of care. 1. Judging a doctor simply on that doctor's malpractice track record may not provide the whole story. As much as a malpractice suit may be a red flag, it doesn't necessarily mean that it was justified. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. Choosing a doctor or hospital is an important decision, so it's wise to arm yourself with as much information as possible. There are a number of potential complaints you may find against a doctor or hospital. If NCQA has evaluated the physician you are considering, you should be able to find a “grade” for that physician. In turn, each state's board of medical licensure handles disciplinary matters. What you can find: A doctor or dentist by name, specialty, and condition to see what other patients have said about them. For example, some of rankings websites may indicate that a surgeon is "successful." Read our, Medically reviewed by Ana Maria Kausel, MD, How to Use a Doctor Ranking Site Effectively, How You Can Check a Doctor's Background and Credentials, How to Check and Verify a Doctor's Board Certification, An Overview of CPT Codes in Medical Billing, Things to Consider When Finding the Right Doctor for You, Find out What You Can Learn From Doctors Rating Websites, Difference Between Obstetrics and Gynecology, Importance for a Doctor to Be Medical Board Certified, Learn How to Write the Best Online Review of Your Doctor, When You Need to File a Complaint About a Doctor, Defensive Medicine and How It Affects Healthcare Costs. While it can steer you well away from a less-than-reputable doctor, it can also lead to wrong assumptions. If your state does not have a searchable website, you can contact the state licensing board directly. If you don't find any relevant information, leverage the information you have with an online search. When Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence? It only takes a few minutes to tell the Healthgrades community about your experience with a doctor. Upon completing a background search, don't be disappointed if you end up with scant information. In addition to granting licenses, governmental licensing agencies often collect data on malpractice lawsuits and other complaints against doctors. Some health insurance plans also provide information about physicians, such as their education, specialty, and work history. This information may be available on your insurance company’s website, or over the phone. When you need difficult medical testing or treatment, you must choose your doctor wisely. The best source of information is the state medical licensing board, although you will need to check each state where the doctor had practiced. Malpractice risk according to physician specialty. It may mean that the doctor has a clean record, or it may be that an infraction has been legally removed. Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Next, check the state's medical licensing board for your state and anywhere the doctor has practiced using the AMA Doc Finder. Why Would Your Doctor Fire or Dismiss You as Their Patient? To research a doctor, you'll need to start with his or her name and location. In some cases, you may need to speak with someone on the phone; in others, you may find what you need online. Choosing a doctor, or a hospital where you will have a procedure performed, is a big decision. Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker. To find that, use the AMA Doc Finder managed by the American Medical Association. It is not unusual for a suit to be filed for a death or injury beyond a doctor's control. Trisha Torrey is a patient empowerment and advocacy consultant. N Engl J Med. What they don't tell you is that some surgeons, in order to keep their ratings high, will not accept certain high-risk patients. You'll want to do some research about the doctor to be sure his credentials, experience, and abilities to meet your needs. License: Each state licenses doctors. Remember that there may be more than one doctor with the same name. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Use caution when searching court records. This can include suspension of the physician’s license to practice medicine, or permanent revocation of the physician’s license. It doesn't mean that the doctor was in the wrong (sometimes it's cheaper to settle than to incur expensive legal fees) and doesn't mean that the doctor is right. They use this information to grade the physician. For more detailed information violations on doctors, search their name or license … If someone has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor in your state, there will be a record of it in the court where the case was filed. Can find it here: https: //www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board/ to medical malpractice indicate that a doctor in the United.! For medical malpractice to speak of Sell My Personal information, rarely it. State does not have a searchable website, or through offline channels revocation the... Information ( from the Federation of state medical Boards. health insurance plans also provide information about physicians, as. Can find it here: https: //www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board/ each state 's board,! 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