Monday, March 17, 2008

Tennessee Web site lets patients track doctors' dealings

By CLAUDIA PINTO • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • March 17, 2008 Doctors are brought before the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners for abuses, such as showing up drunk on the job or botching a surgery. But there's an easy way to check up on your physician. By going to the Tennessee Department of Health's Web site, people can find out if the board has taken action against a doctor, why and what the outcome was. They also can find other practical information to help them choose a doctor, such as where they attended school, which hospitals they can practice in and whether they have a criminal record. "It gives the consumer a way to make informed decisions," said Rosemarie Otto, the executive director of the Board of Medical Examiners. Here's how to access the information: Go to click on licensing and then on licensing verification and type in the name of a physician. Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman for the state's department of health, said the link got 6.8 million hits in 2007 — making it one of the most popular in all of state government. "People are concerned about who is delivering their health care," Otto said. Of some relief: Otto said fewer than 1 percent of Tennessee doctors ever come before the board. In addition to doctors, the site has information on health professionals in nearly 70 fields, including psychologists, veterinarians, dentists and message therapists. "If people have questions about their physician, they are entitled to get as much information as they can," Otto said.

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