UNDATED -- An investigation by our partners at USA TODAY opened our eyes to the way the medical field disciplines doctors. USA TODAY found 6,000 doctors, nationwide, who had clinical privileges at hospitals and clinics restricted or taken away. But more than half never faced a fine, or had their license suspended, much less had it revoked! Basically, they got what amounts to a "talking-to" , but their license stays clean!
Tanya Rivera asked Peter Eisler, the USA Today reporter who led the investigation, how can this happen? He said, "Doctors are regulated by the states, there's not much of a federal role in terms of licensing and sanctioning doctors who have problems. It's really a state by state process. Some states have stepped up. They've given their medical boards more authority, they've given their medical boards more resources to do their work, they've diversified the membership of their medical boards to include more lay people who may not be related to the medical field, which can be a very good thing. And then other states have not done very good with that. So it really is a matter of each state stepping up individually."
2 Wants to Know decided to look into the membership of the North Carolina Medical Board. Our board is made up of 12 people appointed by the governor. They can only serve two consecutive three year terms. Of the 12, nine are doctors. They have varied backgrounds, everything from a nurse practitioner, to surgeons to family medicine. And they come from all over the state, including one doctor from High Point. There are also three public members. They're not doctors. They have professional backgrounds. One is a retired college instructor, one is a retired attorney, and the last is the senior advisor for the secretary of state.
We also checked to see what kinds of actions the board has taken since the first of the year. From January first through August 20th, the board has issued 17 suspensions, accepted 10 voluntary license surrenders, issued 18 reprimands, and issued 36 letters of concern.
If the board has taken action against your doctor, it is posted on the state medical board's website, under Look Up A Licensee. Just look up their name, and click on the "actions - adverse and administrative" tab.
WFMY News 2