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Link of the Day – Checking Up On Your Doctor

The Dallas Morning News had a good article recently detailing different ways to get information about your medical providers. It’s much easier now, with the Internet, to find out if a particular doctor has had problems in the past with any of the governing medical bodies. Here are excerpts:

The Texas Medical Board announced in August that it had disciplined 88 physicians for problems ranging from failing to file paperwork to endangering patients’ lives. Twenty-one of the disciplined physicians are in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. The board also told two people who were practicing medicine in Texas without a license to stop.

While most of the state’s more than 44,000 physicians provide patient care without incident, it’s worth checking out your doctor. The TMB, which is responsible for licensing and disciplining physicians, physician assistants and some other medical professionals, provides information for consumers to background physicians on its Web site.

The TMB search allows you to look for a physician by name, license number, ZIP code, city and specialty.

The results page indicates which information TMB verified. The rest is reported by the physician.

The information verified by TMB includes license status and license history, the physician’s medical school, and any action or closed investigations the TMB has conducted.

Information reported by physicians, but not verified by TMB, includes board certification, malpractice claims, criminal records and basic information about their practices, such as office location and the hospitals where they work.

While TMB does not verify board certification, you can check yourself by checking individual certifying boards’ Web sites. You also can check the American Board of Medical Specialties’ Web site. The search is free but requires registration. You also can call the ABMS at 866-275-2267866-275-2267 to verify a certification.

TMB investigations are prompted by complaints, which come to the agency in a variety of ways. An investigation might begin as police report, a news story, an insurance complaint, or a complaint from a patient or colleague of the physician. While not all complaints lead to disciplinary actions, the board says it reviews all complaints filed.

The number of disciplinary actions taken by the board has nearly tripled since 2001. During the same time, complaints increased about 60 percent.

Most of those violations resulted in fines, additional training or monitoring by another physician. In some cases, the board temporarily suspended licenses.

Publicly available physician profiles were mandated by the Texas Legislature in 1999 and were put online in 2001, according to Ms. Wiggins.

A 2006 report by the advocacy group Public Citizen rated Texas 14th in its evaluation of the information medical boards provide on their Web sites. The study evaluated Web sites based on several criteria, including basic physician information, discipline reports from hospitals and medical boards, criminal information and how easy the Web site can be navigated. The study ranked New Jersey best with 84 points out of 100. North Dakota was rated lowest with only 12 points out of 100. Texas scored 62 points.

While Texas scored above average in most categories, it received zero points for disciplinary information from hospitals and from federal agencies such as Medicare, the Food and Drug Administration or the Drug Enforcement Agency. The TMB is not is not required to report that information.

To search physician license information in other states, go to the Federation of State Medical Boards’ Web site, which has a directory of state medical licensing boards and links to their Web sites. In some states, medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy are overseen by different boards, so you may need to check multiple sites.

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Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

If you find this type of information interesting or helpful, please visit my law firm's main website at You will find many more articles and links. Thank you for your time.

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