October 13, 2011

The New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct (“Board”) was created in 1976 to administer New York’s physician discipline program. The Board’s stated mission is to protect the public from medical negligence, incompetence and other kinds of professional misconduct.

The most recent Annual Report from the Board is for 2010. The 2010 Annual Report notes that the Board had received 8,501 complaints, which was 24% higher than five years prior. The Board imposed 307 final actions, which was the highest since 2006, and 182 (59%) involved the loss, suspension, or restriction of the physician’s medical license. New York’s Board holds the distinction of imposing more actions against physicians resulting in loss of medical licenses than any other state in the U.S.  For the period from 2008 to 2010, New York ranked 24th in the U.S. for the number of serious disciplinary actions taken (3.03 actions per 1,000 physicians).

New York state insurance law requires that any medical malpractice claim filed against a physician be reported to the Commissioner of Health and the Superintendent of Insurance. New York had the highest number of medical malpractice claims reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank for the decade ending in 2009, which may also explain why New York physicians pay among the highest medical malpractice insurance premiums in the U.S. (source).

The Board is required to review medical malpractice claims filed against New York physicians for the purpose of identifying potential misconduct. The Board’s criteria for opening an investigation is based of whether there have been six or more payouts over the past five years, if there has been a cancellation or non-renewal of the physician’s malpractice policy by the insurer due to a concern about quality of care, if there has been an addition of a surcharge of 75% or more for a physician’s policy, or if  there has been a single payout amount higher than a specialty- and geography-specific 75th percentile dollar amount. Using these criteria, the Board completed 360 investigations based on medical malpractice in 2010, 9% of which resulted in Board action or an administrative warning.

If you or a loved one were injured or suffered losses as a result of the medical negligence of a physician in New York or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly consult with a medical malpractice attorney to learn about your rights and about the process for bringing a medical malpractice claim. Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to investigate your claim and assist you with filing a medical malpractice claim, if appropriate. Or call us toll free 800-295-3959.

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