Lawmakers discuss the ethical obligation to report bad docs.
If a sleep-deprived, a or drunken doctor were about to operate on you, wouldn’t you want someone to speak up? Gene Musser with the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board says it’s a physician’s duty to report impaired, incompetent or unethical doctors, to help remove that dangerous doc from practice.
“The most important reason that the med board wishes to create this requirement is that in order to do our job it’s essential that we hear about what I would call problem physicians. The other physicians are among the best position to know about such problem physicians.”
Lawmakers heard testimony about legislation that would help the Medical Board to significantly identify and address problem physicians. Musser says the medical profession has been criticized for a “conspiracy of silence” about such problems.
“Physicians are in a good position to know who’s not competent and who isn’t acting appropriately and who’s acting beyond their ability. That’s hard for patients to know. It’s hard for families to know. There’s a lot of it around where … ‘well, everybody knew that so and so was such and such,’ you know, and this, I think, will help us to hear about those people.”
Musser recognizes that creating a legal duty to report will not be popular with all physicians. However he says the accused will have full rights to due process, and to appeal. He also realizes there could be reporting abuse by competitors, or jealous folks. The Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform heard testimony on Wednesday.
While it would be a duty to report, there is no penalty for not reporting. However, there is a potential for penalty.
Jackie Johnson report 1:39