As consumers we make informed decisions on home, car, furniture and appliance purchases. Shouldn't consumers be allowed to make informed decisions on selecting a health care provider?
In a major victory for Illinois patients and advocates for patients' rights, the Illinois Patients' Right to Know Act has was signed by Governor Pat Quinn. The Patients' Right to Know Act will allow patients to access information on your physician. It is an online database on all physicians licensed to practice medicine in Illinois. The information that can be obtained is to check whether a doctor has been convicted of a crime, terminated, or made a payment due to medical malpractice (whether due to a judgment or a settlement) in the past five years.
There are all types of consumer portals to find information on just about every service that you someone can provide you. Why not on physicians? Yes, we are consumers, when it comes to health care. Why does the general public not consider themselves a consumer, when we are selecting a health care provider? After all, we are paying them for their services. The very persons that can make life or death decisions regarding our health care. We as consumers of healthcare should be allowed to make educated decisions regarding the health care provider we choose. It's been a long time coming . State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) has been working on passing this act for over 10 years. The Illinois Patient Right to Know Act, will allow consumers can find out if their doctor has been fired, convicted of a crime or has made a medical malpractice payment during the past five years. Currently, the only information a consumer can access on a physician is whether the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has disciplined a physician. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a revised bill into law this month. When the bill becomes law, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will integrate the information into a database. It will be posted on the Department's website, idfpr.com.
Consumers will have online access to doctor profiles. The profiles will share a plethora of information. The most vital piece of information, that is critical to the decision of selecting a physician or healthcare provider, is whether the provider has committed medical malpractice, judgments or settlements involving the doctor during the past five years. The other information is non-vital statics such as the medical school attended, specialty board certifications, years of practice, and office locations.
According to Chicago medical malpractice and injury attorney David Nemeroff, a consumer should be empowered to make an informed decision regarding their health care provider. They should be able to view a physician's record of proven competence and professional achievement. It is estimated that over 90,000 Americans die every year due to medical mistakes of healthcare providers.
To make an informed decision, a patient needs to be able to easily find key information about his doctor. The Physicians Profile will be loaded with data within two months and posted again at www.idfpr.com
Source: Welcome back, Malpractice data base, Southtown Suntimes, September 2, 2011 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/opinions/7408790-474/welcome-back-malpractice-database.html