The Pennsylvania State Medical Board has made a controversial decision – it has waived license fees for doctors and other medical professionals for 2013 and 2014. The two year hiatus from fees will save licensees $360 a year. The medical board decided to waive the fees because they didn’t need the money. Unlike most other government agencies, the medical board has a $30 million surplus. The board collects fees to fund investigations, enforcement and prosecution of cases involving doctors and other medical professionals.
While many doctors are enjoying the benefit of the board’s decisions, others question the board’s priorities. According to the State Board of Medicine’s Mission Statement, its job is to regulate “medical doctors; physician assistants; radiology technicians…. The Board also has authority to take disciplinary or corrective action against individuals it regulates.” Some argue the surplus should be used to better police doctors to avoid serious medical errors, not give doctors a holiday from their fees.
Critics contend that Pennsylvania has a history of not taking forceful action to discipline or stop doctors who have a history of malpractice. According to a spokesperson for Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, Pennsylvania’s medical board is “not a very good board.” The Public Citizen’s Health Research Group ranks state medical boards based on the number of disciplinary actions taken. In 2011, Pennsylvania’s board was ranked 29th in the country.
Critics of the board’s decision argue that the money should have been spent on doing more investigations. More investigations may have prevented the regulatory failure that allowed Philadelphia doctor, Kermit Gosnell, to run an illegal abortion clinic that aborted third trimester fetuses, killed and injured many mothers, and murdered babies who had survived the abortion procedure. If the state board had properly investigated Dr. Gosnell’s clinic, many unfortunate tragedies could have been avoided.
Increasing the investigation and review of doctors against whom charges of negligence have been made could helps keep tragedies like those caused by the rogue Dr. Kermit Gosnell from continuing. Policing the medical profession provides a public benefit, while eliminating two years’ worth of annual fees only benefits the doctors, not the public at large.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured because of a doctor, hospital or other medical professional’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in medical errors. When health care professionals fail to perform according to the required standard of care, you may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering. Contact a lawyer today to learn about your rights.