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Who Checks Up On Doctors?

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People trust doctors more than anyone else. Polling indicates they trust doctors more than policemen, pastors and, yes, not very surprisingly, lawyers.

But who actually makes sure doctors are doing their job right?

There is such a thing as malpractice, but what are the actual statistics?

A Very Small Percent of Doctors Experience Discipline

In the last five years, a very small fraction of doctors have been disciplined. In Minnesota, for example, less than one percent of physicians have been disciplined by the state Board of Medical Practice.

These boards are run by other doctors. They work to protect civilians from a number of possible harmful practices from doctors, which doesn’t simply include malpractice.

Predatory billing practices, for example, or substance abuse by the doctors–as well as any sexual relations with clients.

Gray Lines in Treatment?

Doctors can also be caught out for improper prescription practices–essentially, when a doctor overprescribes highly classified drugs such as opioids.

Colloquially, these doctors often become known as “pill dispensers.” Though, at least one case in North Dakota indicates this issue might not be as simple as it seems.

According to Dr. Charles Christianson, one doctor who was reprimanded for not monitoring early refills of OxyContin he prescribed, the situation was different in the 90s and early 2000s.

Before, the standard in treatment was to aggressively treat chronic pain conditions. It’s only in retrospect, when the degree of opioid abuse became apparent, that this practice was seen as faulty.

Good Doctor, Bad Doctor

Cases like this show that it is not always easy to determine when a doctor has crossed an ethical line.

This is, of course, why we have medical boards made up of experienced specialists, and some civilians, to make these case by case judgments.

A good, healthy relationship with your physician always starts with trust. To schedule an appointment with a trustworthy physician, call Capital Medical Associates today.

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