NY proposes tougher infection-control scrutiny for MDs

Facing widespread criticism over its oversight practices, particularly the handling of the case of a physician who may have exposed patients to infections, New York state health commissioner Dr. Richard Daines is proposing administrative changes that should beef up the state's methods of informing patients about such risks. Dr. Daines and his department have come under fire in the case of a Long Island anesthesiologist who may have exposed many patients to hepatitis C or HIV infections due to his poor infection-control practices. The state didn't notify patients of Dr. Harvey Finkelstein that they were at risk until three years after they learned of the problem.

Going forward, Dr. Daines is proposing that the state coordinate the work of officials who monitor professional conduct of doctors, medical malpractice suits and public health concerns. (The case of Dr. Finkelstein was being investigated by one part of his department, but the office which investigates and disciplines doctors wasn't aware of the problem until later.) Dr. Daines is also creating a task force which will give him monthly updates on open investigations into physicians' practices. Right now, the medical conduct office gets about 8,000 complaints a year and has about 400 active investigations at any one point.

To learn more about the state's plans:
- read this article from The New York Times

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