The number of disciplinary proceedings against U.S. doctors by state medical boards grew about 4.6% to 4,875 in 2002 from 4,662 in 2001, according to an annual survey by the Federation of State Medical Boards. The majority of disciplinary proceedings -- 4,169 -- involved punitive actions, such as license revocations, suspensions and probation. The number of disciplinary actions has grown slightly every year since 1993, according to the federation, but continues to involve only a small fraction of the nation's estimated 727,000 registered practicing physicians. Consumer advocates have criticized the federation and its affiliated state medical boards for lax discipline of bad doctors. Public Citizen, among the fiercest critics, issues its own annual compilation of disciplinary actions, which shows even fewer sanctions. The advocacy group has not yet released 2002 data. The federation's report is available at www.fsmb.org. -- by Michael Romano
More actions against doctors in 2002: report
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