New York Gov. David Paterson has proposed legislation that would strengthen the state's physician disciplinary system, increase the state Health Departments authority in epidemiological investigations and give consumers access to more information about physicians charged with misconduct even before a final judgment is made.
State health officials said in a news release that the bill will strengthen patient safety and help to prevent infection control violations. The bill proposes to enhance the existing system of professional discipline by among other things identifying potential misconduct by requiring the Professional Medical Conduct Office within the Health Department to continuously review information about medical malpractice claims and payouts. It also requires doctors to more regularly update their physician profiles by making them a condition of re-registration.
The bill also addresses public health issues concerning communicable diseases and infection control by increasing the states ability to disseminate information, authorizing the Health Department to disclose information to the public as needed regarding public health threats that come to light in the course of an investigation. It is critical that our system of disciplining physicians be as strong as possible to ensure that cases of misconduct are uncovered, reported and acted uponeven as we remain mindful that persons charged with misconduct have a due process right to challenge such charges, Paterson said in the release. -- by Cinda Becker