The Maryland Board of Physicians has a website that contains a variety of information about physicians and other healthcare professionals who require licensure in the state. In addition to providing the dates that Maryland physicians were licensed in their area of specialty, the site provides disciplinary alerts for doctors who have been sanctioned by the Board for various types of misconduct. The site also contains useful information including the procedure for filing a complaint and monthly sanctions lists, which are current through the end of 2013.
It is interesting to note that one of the most prevalent violations where sanctions such as fines or suspensions are imposed is against those holding themselves out as physicians assistants without a license in violation of the Maryland Practice Act, MD Code Annotated, Health Occupation Section 15-401.
As physician assistants are becoming a regular part of many physicians’ practices, patients should be particularly mindful of the requirement that PAs must be licensed in the State. Be certain to get the first and last name of any PA you encounter for treatment and care and check the Maryland Board of Physicians website to ensure their licensure is in full compliance with the law.
One thing those searching the Board of Physicians website should know, however. Although the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office – where malpractice claims must first be filed before going to Circuit Court – forwards all lawsuits to the Maryland Board of Physicians, those claims are not listed on the site. Nor are many of the judgments and settlements against physicians listed. Many cases are settled with confidentiality clauses contained in the release signed by the plaintiff when money is paid. Judgments, however, usually arise from jury verdicts reached when a case does not settle. Why many claims and judgments are not listed as they should be on the Board’s site is inexplicable. Patients and prospective patients interested in understanding more about a physician’s litigation record with malpractice claims are better off searching the Maryland Judiciary Case Search Information Page, where all criminal and civil actions are listed.
You should check your practitioner’s profile before making a decision to see the practitioner, and even in circumstances where you are already under the practitioner’s care but are interested to learn more about him or her.
The medical malpractice group at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz has many years of experience with negligence claims. If you need help, please contact us at (410) 234-0100.