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A Gazette-Journal investigation has identified that the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners had an uncharacteristic reduction in providing disciplinary action against complaints made about medical doctors. Although the number of practicing physicians had increased across the state (from 3,600 in 2003 to 5,200 in 2004), an obvious decline in actions taken by the board was noted in an audit conducted by an independent group and the Washington, D.C., Public Citizen watchdog group. They found that although the number of complaints by patients in Nevada and the nation had increased over the years, the number of disciplinary actions taken by the board decreased in 2004. The Federation of State Medical Boards also supports concern from the nature of the findings. The concern was that Nevada would be seen as a refuge for malpractice. Criticism has also been targeted at the state board's lack of providing current and accessible information regarding its purpose, its position involving public access to information and the explanation of the function of the disciplinary process. A state board spokesperson and a spokesperson for the Nevada State Medical Association have sited that a backlog due to personnel changes had caused the reduction in disciplinary actions, with additional investigative committees being introduced. This follows the expectation that the number of actions in subsequent years should be higher with the implementation of more staff. This shake up in the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners has put into play the identification and demand for improved services, with greater access and awareness of the board's function and how to use the services provided.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Reno Gazette-Journal
About: Disciplinary action for doctors in Nevada still pending.
Date: 22 May 2005
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal
Author: Jason Hidalgo
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