A state report that identifies bad doctors will be released next month despite a plea by the 18,000-member Florida Medical Association, the state's chief healthcare regulator said last week.
The report will list doctors who have been disciplined or who paid multiple medical malpractice claims.
That information can be "dangerous-if it's misinterpreted, untimely, inaccurate, incomplete or misleading," the medical group's president, Richard J. Bagby, M.D., said at a news conference.
Bagby said the medical profession has not had time to review the plans for quarterly reports by the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Doug Cook, director of the AHCA, said he plans to start the reports early next month.
In November, Massachusetts became the first state to release information about malpractice payouts, disciplinary actions and physicians' criminal records.
Overall, 92% of the 27,000 doctors licensed in Massachusetts had no marks on their records for the past 10 years, according to that state's medical regulatory board.
Florida's report will list "a tiny, tiny percentage" of the 43,000 licensed doctors of medicine and osteopathy in the state, Cook said.
The state has more than 550,000 licensed healthcare providers, including chiropractors and other practitioners, but the report includes only physicians and osteopaths, AHCA spokeswoman Colleen David said.
Bagby, a Winter Park radiologist, said it was the public's interpretation of the data that worried physicians.
"Without appropriate explanations of the material that does appear, the AHCA database threatens to do more harm than good," he said.
For example, a low number of liability lawsuit settlements may not mean a physician is better than one with a higher number.
"It may or may not," Bagby said. "Because, in this state, over 80% of all obstetricians have been sued-and many of them more than once. A high number of lawsuits and closed settlements may simply reflect an excellent physician's willingness to practice in a critical but high-risk area," he said.
The AHCA will include such advisories in its report, although Bagby said physicians fear patients who turn straight to their own doctor's listing will overlook them.
"This is going to be a very detailed, very informative, highly analytical discussion," Cook said. "What we've got in there is a discussion of malpractice rates by specialty group and national averages, so people will be able to compare them with national indices."