The California Board of Medicine makes Accusations against physicians available to the public. Check Doctor License status here. The Medical Board’s search system has been touted as one of the best in the country [Dahlberg, Sacramento Bee 7/12/10]. Patients seeking to learn more about their doctors/potential doctors can easily view discipline Accusations lodged against physicians, which can lead to a more informed decision.
However, medical professionals, healthcare practitioner advocacy groups and defense attorneys protest the disclosure of Accusations prior to any final action being taken against a physician. The exposure of Accusations, prior to any final action being taken, creates a situation where a doctor can be judged on the basis of unproven complaints or allegations.
The ultimate goal is to protect the public, and allow patients to access a practitioners’ history, while simultaneously protecting physician privacy and due process rights under the law. The disclosure of unsubstantiated Accusations has the potential to mis-inform patients and ruin reputations of healthcare professionals, but also allows patients to make more informed decisions based on the nature of the allegations. It is a “Catch 22” for everyone involved, but the physicians bear the brunt of the detriment to their careers and profession if patients make judgements based on untruthful accusations.