How Can You Check Physician Safety Records?

I am considering several practices in my area that contain both board certified OB/GYNs and CNMs. How can I check the safety records on these professionals and our local hospitals?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

As you can imagine, each state differs somewhat in their approach. Due to privacy statutes, it may be impossible to find out if there are malpractice or disciplinary actions pending; however, it is possible to find out if action has been taken. Your county court house can provide specific information on where to go to find results of malpractice suits against any care provider.

For disciplinary action such as suspension or revocation of license, you may contact the State Board of Medical Practice for physicians or the State Board of Nursing for Nurse-Midwives or Nurse Practitioners. Revocation or suspension is a rare event and often performed for illegal activities such as drug offenses, felony convictions or failure to renew licenses.

Perhaps a better way to find out about a potential care provider would be to contact past clients or talk frankly to the nurses who work in the office or at the hospital. If you would like to find out if a complaint has been filed against a hospital, you should contact your state department of health and ask for the specific department that handles complaints against health care facilities.

The Joint Commission on Accredited Health accredits every hospital Care Organizations (JCAHO), which is based in Chicago. The JCAHO accredits nearly 18,000 health care organizations and programs. Accreditation from the Joint Commission means an organization is committed to meeting state-of-the-art performance expectations. If you want to investigate the performance of your local health care facility, whether it is a hospital, a surgery center, a nursing home or another type of health care organization, select the Quality Check icon at the JCAHO homepage, located at http://www.jcaho.org. You can retrieve details about an organization's accreditation and how it rated on its most recent evaluation. If you want to know more, you can also research how the organization performed in areas such as patient rights, infection control and other areas of interest through the organization's performance reports.

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