August 26, 2011
New state law allows consumers to learn more about their physicians
Also gives state regulators more tools against dangerous doctors
Jefferson City, Mo. - Under a new state law, Missouri consumers can now learn more about the educational history of their doctors. House Bill 265, signed by Gov. Jay Nixon, took effect yesterday and allows the State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts to release extensive information about licensed doctors for the first time. The board's website now allows consumers to learn about medical and professional schools attended by physicians, as well as any specialties or board certifications.
In addition, more information will soon be available to the public: Under the law, any future information submitted to the board may be released if it pertains to discipline by another government agency or court-ordered limitations on a doctor's practice.
"This law is a significant step toward better transparency for patients in Missouri," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. "We always encourage consumers to learn as much as they can about the professionals they're doing business with, and that's especially important in a doctor-patient relationship."
House Bill 265 also gives more authority to the board to discipline doctors who violate the law. The board can now:
- More effectively seek an immediate suspension of a physician's license when the board believes the doctor is a danger to patients;
- Streamline the process for discipline of doctors;
- Move cases more quickly through the state Administrative Hearing Commission, which conducts hearings related to the discipline of doctors; and
- Discipline doctors for alcohol dependency, being on a sex offender registry or failing to cooperate with board investigations.