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Fewer doctors are being disciplined, but malpractice continues

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

The year 2020 saw its fair share of major medical events, and 2021 may continue these unprecedented events. Even people in Olean who earn a good income and have good health insurance may find that they received substandard medical care. Interestingly enough, according to a CNBC report, while disciplinary actions against negligent physicians dropped in 2020, this does not mean malpractice itself is down.

The statistics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that from January through September of 2020, there were 4,393 reported incidents of adverse action recorded against doctors. This included 641 physicians who had their clinical privileges limited or suspended entirely. In comparison, in the same time period in 2019, there were 5,225 reported incidents of adverse action recorded against doctors. This is a downswing of almost 16%. In addition 2019 saw 704 incidents of physicians having their clinical privileges limited or suspended.

Why the plunge in disciplinary action?

According to some experts, the plunge in disciplinary is not due to an increase in the quality of medical care. Instead, the dip may simply reflect the fact that 2020 saw a significant decrease in the number of healthcare workers. In addition, in 2020 over 28 million elective surgeries were either moved to a later date or were cancelled altogether. Fewer procedures means fewer chances for disciplinary actions.

Physician malpractice incidents are slipping through the cracks

Despite the downswing in disciplinary actions, the fact of the matter is that regulatory safeguards are not enough to stop negligence on the part of medical professionals. Part of this is because while hospitals are required to report acts of malpractice on the part of employees, many physicians now work as independent contractors for whom there is no reporting requirement. Moreover, hospitals may not want to report acts that could destroy a physician’s career.

Learn more about medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is a serious issue in the U.S. and it is disheartening to hear that the system allows negligent physicians to keep practicing. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may want to learn more information about your rights and options. Our firm’s website on medical malpractice may be a good resource for those in Olean who are interested in this topic.