Nevada Ranks Low in Physician Discipline - 8 News NOW

Travell Eiland, Reporter

Nevada Ranks Low in Physician Discipline

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On Monday, an overflowing room of concerned patients sounded off about the lack of state inspections on medical facilities. On Monday, an overflowing room of concerned patients sounded off about the lack of state inspections on medical facilities.
The report suggests that the state medical board is taking it easy on doctors who violate the Medical Practice Act. The report suggests that the state medical board is taking it easy on doctors who violate the Medical Practice Act.

Nevada's State Medical Board is one of the worst in the country for disciplining doctors. In fact, one nonprofit group puts Nevada at 46th in the nation for holding doctors accountable. The state board even admits some accused doctors were never prosecuted.

The report was done by Public Citizens, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington D.C. They calculated threes years of disciplinary actions taken against doctors and Nevada ranks among the worst when it comes to holding doctors accountable for mistakes.

Sound off about poor state oversite

That lax reputation has some people wondering if the doctors that caused the massive hepatitis scare could have been caught sooner.

On Monday, an overflowing room of concerned patients sounded off about the lack of state inspections on medical facilities.

"The sole responsibility for upgrading our local physicians lies squarely on the shoulders of the Nevada State Examiner's Board," said one victim.

The report suggests that the state medical board is taking it easy on doctors who violate the Medical Practice Act.

From 2004 to 2006, Nevada ranked 46th out of all 50 states, when it comes to disciplining doctors. The president of the Nevada State Medical Association, Dr. Ed Kingsley, says that's unacceptable.

"I have been aware for sometime that we've always ranked toward the bottom. My own assessment is that it's just a low priority for this state," he said.

The State Board of Medical Examiners says Nevada's ranking dropped because of one bad year.

"We just didn't have as many prosecutions in 2004 and thus not as many disciplined," said Tony Clark.

He says changes at the top of the board and council meant not all allegations against doctors were followed up on. Kingsley says if more disciplinary actions would have been taken, thousands may not be living in fear of hepatitis. He says accountability starts at the top.

"I think those in regulatory positions need to have their feet held to the fire," said Kingsley.

State officials say the low ranking doesn't mean they're failing their duty to the public. Some doctors may only need minor corrective actions. But corrective actions aren't good enough for some of the victims of the hepatitis scare.

"I feel that all personnel who participated in these procedures should be criminally prosecuted," said one victim.

Clark says that Nevada isn't attracting enough doctors to keep up with the growing population, so retraining and rehabilitating doctors who don't commit serious malpractice may be a better choice than taking their license and losing a doctor all together.

Email your comments to Reporter Travell Eiland

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