High number of NY doctors on medical board watch list

According to the latest data from the Federation of State Medical Boards, New York's state medical board seems to be taking a pretty active stance. More than 2 percent of all doctors practicing in the state (about 1,400 of the more than 65,000 practicing physicians) ended up on the medical board's watch list last year, for problems that included substance abuse, lapses in professional conduct or mental health issues. That's twice the national average and seventh highest among all states. Sixty percent of the doctors were on the watch list due to concerns with professional conduct, including medical mistakes or patient complaints. The rest were in New York's physicians impairment program.

However, these numbers don't suggest that New York's doctors are somehow worse than in other states. It's worth noting that New York's board has a lower burden of proof for substantiating complaints and taking action against doctors than some other states. Also, New York hospitals are required to report disciplinary actions against doctors to the state board. Now, some officials and public figures would like to see the board disclose all the names of doctors on the list, something that already happens in North Carolina. Right now, cases involving drug or alcohol abuse are kept confidential.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this New York Times article

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