NJ Board of Medical Examiners receives low scores in reducing Med Malpractice

The state of New Jersey’s Board of Medical Examiners was recently ranked as one of the least aggressive in the country when it comes to disciplining doctors for misconduct. According to Public Citizen, a Washington-based group, New Jersey ranked 43rd out of 50 states for uncovering and disciplining doctors.

Statistics show that New Jersey only disciplined 78 doctors from 2009 to 2011 with serious board action, which is the fewest number of discipline reports since the group began tracking board action. Of the 34,000 practicing doctors in the state, only 2.26 actions were taken per 1,000, compared to the 6.79 actions per 1,000 doctors in Wyoming.

The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners is charged with reviewing patient complaints to ensure doctors are providing safe and adequate care. Doctors who are found to have engaged in misconduct face discipline by the Board. They can be disciplined for conduct that constitutes medical malpractice, as well as substance abuse and fraud. Serious board action is defined as revoking, suspending or negotiating the surrender of a physician’s license to practice medicine.

Typically, these boards include medical doctors, a state board member and a non-professional. In New Jersey, the governor selects board members.

The failure of New Jersey’s Board of Medical Examiners to take action on behalf of patients may be placing patients in New Jersey at risk. With little to no regulatory action taken by the Board, it is difficult to ensure that patients are receiving safe medical care while in the care of hospitals and clinics.

Doctors, like many professionals, are responsible for the care they provide their patients. When a doctor makes a mistake that causes injury or harm to a patient they can be held financially responsible for their actions. Patients who have been injured while under the care of a doctor have a legal right to be compensated for their injuries through a personal injury suit that is independent of of any board action. Boards like the one in New Jersey were set up to ensure that the conduct and actions of doctors is reviewed to safeguard patient safety.

Source: NJ.com, “N.J. medical board ranks 43rd in nation in exposing, disciplining doctors,” Susan K. Livio, May 18, 2012