Medical Board Roundtable Summary, 4/13/15 


Medical Board Website Review Update: The review of over 60 medical board websites is proceeding and we now know why Public Citizen said this was a difficult project! There are many nuances to the review.  As we've used the criteria, the team has had to change them (for example counting the number of clicks). We are close to finalizing what will most likely be 65 criteria.  Daphne Kannepoulos (our Sarah Lawrence intern) and Suzanne Henry at CU are in the midst of reviewing.  David Kosterlitz (another volunteer) is combing through medical board sites to get the names of sanctioned doctors that we can use to test the websites. The next steps are to develop the scoring methodology using outside experts, reconcile the two reviews into one that goes to the state for verification and develop the final report.  We are hoping to complete the preliminary review of the websites by the end of April/early May.  Daphne will then be away for two weeks, returning mid-May and will complete her internship by the end of May. 


Roundtable participants talked about getting the best e-mail list for Medical Board Executive Directors for the verification process.  Dave Swankin will send us a list from last fall and Jean will check on other lists when she attends the FSMB meeting next week. The idea of sending to both the Executive Director and one other medical board contact was recommended. 


There was also discussion about the visibility of the project in Consumer Reports (CR) (vs. through the policy-oriented Consumers Union where the Safe Patient Project resides). Lisa mentioned that she has tried for some time to get the attention of the ratings staff at Consumer Reports to talk about this. Hopefully a meeting is scheduled this week.  A possible upcoming CR focus on “finding a doctor” might be a good hook to our work. 


Getting Outside Speakers: The idea of periodically inviting outside speakers was raised with the group and was supported as a way to educate ourselves, surface issues for potential action and have dialogue with others working on medical boards.  A first topic might be the role of “maintenance of certification” in the medical board licensure process – and maybe broadening the issue to discussing  physician competence in general.  Participants liked the idea of inviting Tom Granatir from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and Rosemary Gibson who recently wrote about maintenance of certification.  Providing background about the issue – including state-by-state information about what states are doing – would be helpful.  


It was noted that we need to be mindful of the controversy around these issues given some recent Newsweek articles about the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Dave Swankin said that FSMB had developed model legislation in this area some years ago, though it is a slow process for states to consider. 


Other ideas for speakers might include someone from AIM (the association of state medical board directors). It was noted that they used to hold an annual meeting every year where they specifically discussed websites and online physician profiles.  Al Levine will follow-up to learn more about this and what else is happening at AIM.  Other ideas included someone from FSMB (Lisa Robin – DC staffer), researchers in this field, reporters, National Practitioner Data Bank staff, or people working on state issues such as National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Al reminded us that Public Citizen is trying to get NCSL staff to focus on medical boards possibly through a conference session or contact with DC staff. He'll keep us posted on that.


We'll pursue getting speakers (Tom Granatir and Rosemary Gibson) for the June meeting. 


Sharing About Medical Boards: 


Citizen Advocacy Center will be holding an all day meeting on June 23, 2015 do discuss the implications of the Supreme Court case (NC Dental Board vs. FTC).  Dave Swankin will provide additional information when available.


Al Levine mentioned that the Louisiana Medical Board had contacted Pubic Citizen about proposed legislation from the Lousiana Medical Association that would eviscerate the LA State Medical Board.  The Board was trying to get the Medical Association to withdraw the legislation and Al hadn't heard back from them so they may have been successful in getting them to withdraw.  There was a similar effort in the Texas legislature, but that bill was also withdrawn.


Lisa mentioned that advocates in California are proposing in an upcoming medical board forum that doctors who are on probation must inform their patients of that status.  She's not aware of any other states that require this. 


Carol mentioned information that came from Yanling about a FOIA request to the WA Medical Board from ProPublica and USA Today requesting 10 years of disciplinary information. Noone was familiar with this work, but speculated that it might be part of a Marshall Allen long-term project looking at surgical safety and complications.  Carol has e-mailed Marshall for more information and will keep the group posted.


Yanling noted that she had worked with CU to get remediation legislation amended in the Washington state house, so that the remediation plans would be posted on the state provider search website.  The House passed the amended bill, but the Senate Health Care Committee did not get the bill out by the cutoff date.  


The next meeting of the group is Monday, May 11that 4:00PM EST.