Doctor disciplinary actions up a hair in '08, but serious actions lower

Last year, state medical boards took slightly more disciplinary actions against doctors than they had in 2007, though the number of more-serious sanctions such license revocations, suspensions and forced retirements remain down from previous years.

Researchers concluded that the state boards took 5,379 actions last year, as opposed to 5,319 the year before. However, the number of license revocations, suspensions and other serious actions are still down from 2007, when 5,574 such actions were taken. It's a big drop from 2005, when 6,213 such actions were taken.

The numbers come from the Federation of State Medical Boards, which discourages comparing state-by-state totals. 

Virtually every year, however, this report is followed up by an aggressively-worded report from the Public Citizen Health Research Group, a private advocacy group that generally ranks states by the volume of disciplinary actions taken. (Lesser volumes of disciplinary proceedings do not bode well in this context.) If your state ranks low on disciplinary actions--especially serious ones--expect some political fallout!

To learn more about the research:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

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