NY State Budget Threat to Vital Public Patient Safety Resource
Wantagh, NY, February 20, 2015 (Newswire.com) - Governor Cuomo’s proposed next New York state budget may eliminate a vital source of public information about physician’s backgrounds. For the last 14 years, this information has been kept in an easily accessible online web database, "www.nydoctorprofile.com" (see link below) that is an indispensible resource for anyone selecting or evaluating a doctor. It contains not only information about the doctor’s specialties and insurance network affiliations, but also about any malpractice suits or other legal actions. The proposal to de-fund this website sets back an important public safeguard by more than a decade.
Long Island-based patient safety advocacy group PULSE of NY is one of many organizations leading the fight against this budget proposal; in fact the lack of such a resource prompted the founding of the group.
PULSE of NY was formed in the late 1990’s because there was no law requiring physicians to report information about their schooling, board certifications, insurance or malpractice history. Ilene Corina, President and founder of PULSE of NY, would ask people throughout New York State what they know about their doctors. When they said they didn’t know much, she told them about pending legislation that would give them information that could help them make informed decisions.
She stood next to Governor George Pataki as he signed into law the NY State Health Patient Health Information and Quality Improvement Act of 2000, giving NY State a patient safety center and a website with doctors’ background information. Following the death of her first son from a tonsillectomy, Corina felt helpless when it came to searching for other doctors for herself or her children. “Choosing someone because they were nice just didn’t work anymore,” she said. “It’s not about good or bad, it’s about my right to choose what is important in a physician who will be part of my team.”
“Supplying information to the NY State website is the law,” Corina explains. “All the information is easily accessible and can even be used while you are hospitalized, when a doctor you don’t know comes in and introduces himself.”
In 2014 Corina was involved in the production of a play, “Lady from Limerick” written by Claude Solnik, based on the true story of a woman who came to New York from Ireland for plastic surgery. Kathleen Kelly Cregan used a physician who had settled over 30 medical malpractice complaints against him, and she died following the surgery. “This production was a reminder of what can happen,” says Corina. The doctor has since surrendered his license.
The mission of PULSE of NY to educate patients and their families through seminars and workshops so they can make informed decisions by asking appropriate questions, having knowledge about policy and standards in the healthcare setting, and using reliable websites.
To learn more about this website go to www.nydoctorprofile.com
How can members of the public send a message to government on the issue of NYDoctorprofile.com? “It’s simple,” says Corina. “Phone Governor Cuomo at 518-474-1041, ext. 3. Tell the person answering the phone, “I want Physician Profiles left in the NY State budget.” You’ll be asked only for your zip code, no other personal information.”
To learn about PULSE of NY go to www.pulseofny.org