NC doctors fight malpractice disclosure website

A group of North Carolina doctors have come together to fight the state medical board's plan to post doctors' malpractice information on its website. While the North Carolina Medical Board says the move would be a public service, the North Carolina Medical Society says the site would be misleading. The Medical Society hopes to see the proposal defeated at an upcoming hearing in late June of this year.

Under the terms of the proposal, the medical board would disclose any malpractice payments going back seven years, a move it's making in response to criticism that it's failed in the past to protect citizens from troubled doctors. It's estimating that about 4 percent of the state's doctors would be impacted by the site, or about 900 of its 22,000 practicing physicians, most of whom would only have made one payment.

As background, the site would explain at the outset that malpractice payments don't always suggest negligence, and that some specialties, such as OB/GYN and neurosurgery, tend to attract more lawsuits than other fields. The listings themselves would not include actual payment amounts or identify patients. Doctors would be allowed to add comments explaining what happened. In addition to these details, the site would also provide information on whether the state had also disciplined the doctor, helping to suggest whether the malpractice payment was for negligence.

To learn more about the proposal, and disputes over the enacting it:
- read this piece from The News & Observer

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