Illinois is starting to post doctor’s profiles and convictions online for patients to peruse. It is a move that made a lot of patients happy.
It was not that long ago that Illinois decided to post doctor disciplinary records online, and let the public know about their profiles and convictions. The public loves it, and it has had more than 750,000 visitors since it went live in October 2011. However, there is a word of caution necessary here, and that is that some profiles are missing important information.
Close to 85 percent of the medical health professionals on the site, including chiropractors and doctors, have their information up there for the world to see and read. This information includes if they paid on a medical malpractice claim within the last five years, if they were convicted of a felony or Class A misdemeanor, or were fired. The state wants to eventually increase the time period to 10 years to provide a broader picture of the medical practitioner’s history.
While this sounds like good information to know, particularly if you want to see a certain doctor, you should be aware that all the profiles are not complete. An example is one chiropractor that did not have the information on his profile about his 2007 conviction for battery of a patient. In other words, if the system is self-reporting and on a doctor’s honor, it appears there may be some holes the size of a truck in it. On the other hand, should the system be mandatory, that may well change how things are reported.
Health care institutions and insurance companies are bound to report actions taken against doctors or payments they made for medical malpractice. However, criminal convictions are another can of worms. Not many choose to report those on a voluntary basis, even though it is required by law, and trying to search the hundreds of county courts for conviction records is a mind-numbing task.
The good news is that too has changed, as Illinois has once again taken a side on the issue and passed a new state law that all health professionals convicted of battery of patients, forcible felonies or sex crimes, should have their licenses revoked permanently. This hard-nosed attitude has prosecutors and state regulators talking to one another on a more regular basis.
New Hampshire could surely use something similar, don’t you think? A registry like this would be extremely beneficial for a Manchester medical malpractice lawyer building a case for a client. It would save time and man hours tracking it down.
Even though patients would make use of such a tool, its potential for a Manchester medical malpractice lawyer is significant. If a lawyer can help his client by using information that is readily available, he saves the client money, and the case may move forward even faster. What is discovered online might not be admissible at trial, but it is helpful to know who you are dealing with, and ultimately, the information may be used as leverage in negotiating a settlement.
Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.