The growing national trend of transparency has pushed Massachusetts lawmakers to consider reporting individual doctors' mortality rates for cardiac surgery. Currently, the mortality rates at hospitals are available but health officials have been reluctant to provide data on each physician. Cardiologists are concerned that the data will reflect what type of patient a doctor chooses to treat rather than how well the doctor performed. High-risk patients make for high-risk surgeries, and reporting individual physician data may make cardiologists less willing to treat these cases. Proponents of transparency argue that physician reporting improves the quality of care and allows consumers to choose the best doctor. Currently only a few states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, issue public report cards on physicians.
- read this Boston Globe article
PLUS: The Wall Street Journal reports that cardiac surgeons who receive poor grades are likely to give up their practice. This is both good and bad news. While some simply choose to pursue nonclinical jobs, others continue to practice in states without report cards. Article (sub. req.)