DIFP: 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.
Consumers who would like to learn more about their physicians can use the licensee search feature on the board's website at pr.mo.gov, or they can contact the board by phone at 573-751-0098.
About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.
August 29, 2011