If you wanted to hire a driver to drive you on a long trip, would you want access to an easily searchable website where his and other licensed professional drivers’ traffic convictions and accidents were posted?
If your answer is yes, then safety is important to you. And I assume that, if you were going to have major surgery, you would also like an easily searchable website that gives you details about your surgeon’s medical malpractice records, hospital affiliations, and other background information.
Right now, New York State has such a website. It was mandated by a year 2000 Statute, which was passed in response to several high profile medical malpractice failures by doctors with bad – but not easily discoverable – track records.
Now, however, that website is in jeopardy. A two-sentence item buried deep in Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget would eliminate the New York State Physician Profile. The budget savings? $1.2 million annually — chump change in the context of New York State’s annual budget of about $140 billion.
The site — operated by the New York State Health Department — is a big hit with patients. Last December alone 35,000 clicked onto the site.
Cuomo justifies nixing the site by claiming that the same information is available elsewhere on the web. That’s mostly true, but finding it requires sleuth-like skills and patience that many medical consumers don’t have. If you are lucky or persistent enough you might find all the same information on other sites. But why not have one-stop easy “doc shopping” at such a low cost?
The author of the 2000 law creating the State website, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, summarized the problem: “As we move towards more transparency and public access to healthcare information, this proposal takes us in the opposite direction.”
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.