Public Citizen Releases Searchable Online Database Containing Names of 371 “Questionable” Minnesota
Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, released new information regarding 371 physicians who have been disciplined by the Minnesota state medical board for incompetence, misprescription of drugs, sexual misconduct, criminal convictions, substandard care, ethical lapses, and other offenses. The majority of these doctors were not required to suspend their practices for any length of time.
The Questionable Doctors database has been published by Public Citizen in book form for over a decade. The data about Minnesota is now available online for the first time at www.questionabledoctors.org (the books are no longer in print). The online database also includes information regarding 18,000 doctors who have been disciplined in 40 other states and the District of Columbia. Consumers may search the list of disciplined doctors at no cost, and for $10 may view and print disciplinary records on up to 10 individual doctors in any state listed over a one-year period.
Questionable Doctors includes cross-references that allow consumers to find out if doctors have been disciplined in other states, a service that is unavailable on state medical board Web sites. For instance, a patient in Minnesota can see actions taken against a doctor in any state, while the Minnesota medical board site will only indicate disciplinary action in the state of Minnesota. Questionable Doctors also lists doctors who have been disciplined by federal agencies, such as the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
Some of the doctors listed on the Minnesota database have been disciplined for serious offenses, including substance abuse, misprescription or overprescription of drugs, or sexual abuse/misconduct with a patient, yet in only six cases over a ten year period were the doctors’ licenses revoked, suspended, or surrendered.
“For a number of the offenses committed by Minnesota doctors, the disciplinary actions have been quite lenient,” said Sidney Wolfe, MD, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “Most Minnesota doctors who committed one or more of the five most serious offenses weren’t required to stop practicing, even temporarily. Therefore, it is likely that they are still practicing and that their patients are not aware of their offenses.”
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