Hospitals

Does Minnesota symbolize the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde of healthcare delivery?

Two recent reports, one, an impressive investigative series undertaken by the Star Tribune about Minnesota’s medical board, and the other, a national ranking of top cities for hospital care appear, at first, to reveal the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of the state’s healthcare delivery. In the Star Tribune report, the authors look deeper […]

Two recent reports, one, an impressive investigative series undertaken by the Star Tribune about Minnesota’s medical board, and the other, a national ranking of top cities for hospital care appear, at first, to reveal the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of the state’s healthcare delivery.

In the Star Tribune report, the authors look deeper at a national statistic that would make any proud Minnesotan blush: the state’s medical board ranked last in the nation in terms of disciplining doctors in 2010. The Star Tribune specifically found that:

 Since 2000, at least 46 Minnesota doctors escaped board discipline after authorities in other states took action against their licenses for such missteps as committing crimes, patient care errors or having sexual or inappropriate relationships with patients, records show.

In addition, more than half of the 74 doctors who lost their privileges to work in Minnesota hospitals and clinics over the past decade were never disciplined by the Minnesota board, according to a federal database used by the health care industry to track actions against physicians. At least 13 of the 47 doctors who avoided discipline were flagged for incompetence, substandard care or inadequate skills.

Minnesota’s board also has consistently declined to keep the public informed about problem practitioners by not publicizing malpractice awards and other adverse actions that are routinely disclosed in states from California to North Carolina.

Sponsored Post

Physician Targeting Using Real-time Data: How PurpleLab’s Alerts Can Help

By leveraging real-time data that offers unprecedented insights into physician behavior and patient outcomes, companies can gain a competitive advantage with prescribers. PurpleLab®, a healthcare analytics platform with one of the largest medical and pharmaceutical claims databases in the United States, recently announced the launch of Alerts which translates complex information into actionable insights, empowering companies to identify the right physicians to target, determine the most effective marketing strategies and ultimately improve patient care.

Ouch.

However, the state medical board’s executive director seems to believe that remedial action is better than punitive measures to correct problems with doctors. Here’s what he told the Star Tribune:

“I’m satisfied the public is protected in Minnesota — very satisfied,” said Robert Leach, the board’s executive director. “And remember that part of public protection is ensuring an adequate supply of health care practitioners to the public. You can’t take everybody out of practice just because they had a problem. That’s why we’re not in the business of removing credentials unless absolutely necessary. We want to be remedial.”

While the Star Tribune report is disturbing, some of these 20,000 physicians that the medical board oversees are likely also responsible for a positive report about the state’s hospitals. HealthGrades evaluated each of the nation’s 5,000 nonfederal hospitals in 26 procedures and diagnoses and came up a with a list of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence.

Minnesota has seven Distinguished Hospitals –  Abbott Northwestern, Fairview Southdale, Mayo Clinic St. Marys Hospital, North Memorial, Regions, Saint Lukes and Unity Hospital.

In fact of the 10 states that ranked the worst in terms of disciplining doctors including Minnesota, only two states – Rhode Island and Utah – did not have at least one Distinguished Hospital in the HealthGrades report.

Which makes those states and Minnesota likely a case of a few rotten appless . In other words, the probability that people would find good healthcare in Minnesota, compared to other states, is still pretty high.

 

Topics