As of December 30, 2010, there were 30,581 actively licensed physicians in the State of Georgia including 1,781 new licenses issued, which represented an increase of 11.3% from the prior year. As of September 15, 2011, the number of licensed Georgia physicians had risen to 31,193 (Source).
The Georgia Composite Medical Board received 2,145 complaints against physicians and other health care providers in Georgia during fiscal year 2010 (an increase of 11.5% from the preceding fiscal year and an increase of 39.4% from fiscal year 2008). The complaints received each year have been rising steadily since 2006, when there were 1,469 complaints received. The most significant increase in complaints has been for prescribing-related cases (76 such cases were investigated during fiscal year 2004, increasing to 116 that were investigated during fiscal year 2010, representing a 52.6% increase). The next largest category of complaints that experienced an increase was for complaints regarding unlicensed practice, which increased by 45.1% from fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2010.
As noted in the fiscal year 2010 Annual Report of the Georgia Composite Medical Board, Georgia has a problem with “pill mills” because the states that are contiguous to Georgia (as well as most other southern states in the U.S.) have enacted prescription monitoring programs, which has resulted in many so-called patients traveling to Georgia to have their “prescriptions” for pain medications and other medications filled. Statistics regarding autopsies indicate that 80% or more of the deaths in Georgia that were due to drug overdoses were related to prescription drugs in 2008.
Of the investigations undertaken by the Board during 2010, 43% involved allegations regarding quality of care, 15% involved medical malpractice claims, 10% involved prescribing issues, 9% involved disciplinary actions taken in other states, 7% involved allegations of unprofessional conduct, 6% alleged unlicensed practice, 4% involved impairment, 3% alleged sexual misconduct, and 3% were classified as “other.”
The Georgia Composite Medical Board meets publically monthly; however, when the Board discusses investigative and disciplinary matters at its meetings, the Board goes into closed sessions that are not open to the public. Source
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