The new proposed budget for the state of New York would get rid of a free website available to consumers that provides information on every licensed doctor of medicine and doctor of osteopathy in the state, including information about their medical malpractice histories.
The state was first created by the New York Patient Health Infromation and Quality Improvement Act of 2000. "The legislation was proposed in response to highly-publicized cases where New York physicians with poor track records caused serious injuries," according to medicalmalpracticelawyers.com.
The proposed budget is $142 billion. The site costs $1.2 million a year for the state to operate.
Visitors to the site have access to a variety of information about doctors in their profiles. Some information is required to be available, while other information the doctors may or may not provide.
- Information about the doctor’s medical education
- Information about translation services at the doctor’s office
- Information about legal actions taken against the doctor
- The practice name, address and phone number of all offices
- The names of other doctors in a practice group
- A list of the articles or research papers the doctor has published
- A list of professional and community service activities or awards
- A list of the health plans the doctor works with
- A personal statement about any information in the doctor’s profile
Unfortunately for consumers, there is a stipulation with regard to the availability of medical malpractice information. When the bill was being written, the Medical Society of the State of New York used its influence to ensure that some medical malpractice information would not be available to consumers. This means that they can only see information about medical malpractice if a physician has made three or more medical malpractice payments within the last 10 years. Not only that, but the amounts of the payments are not given, only a ranking of above average, average, or below average, "when compared to medical malpractice payments made by doctors in the same specialty."
Despite this restriction on medical malpractice information, this website still serves as an important resource for consumers. The argument has been made that this information is available elsewhere, but the fact that the site received more than 35,000 visitors in December 2014 speaks to its usefulness as a resource to help consumers make informed decisions regarding their healthcare.