Other Information at
WWW.MASSMEDBOARD.ORG Commonwealth of Massachusetts Physician Profiles Service
Deval L. Patrick Timothy P. Murray
Governor Lieutenant Governor Malpractice and Board Discipline
∗ Board Disciplinary Actions
Massachusetts was the first state to release malpractice payment information in this way. Consumers
should read the extensive disclaimer and explanations that accompany the information. Just because a
∗ Annual Reports and Publications physician made a malpractice payment, don’t assume that the physician is not a good doctor. Sometimes,
the insurer decides to settle a claim without ever discussing it with the doctor. The best way to understand
∗ Contact Information malpractice data is to talk to the doctor about it.
Here are some good questions:
∗ Directions to the Board
“Did this malpractice payment involve the same procedure I am having ?”
“Did you make any changes to your practice in response to the problem ?”
∗ Complaint Forms & Instructions
Different doctors will respond to questions in different ways. Someone who tells you it’s none of your
∗ Links to Massachusetts Hospitals business may not have the communication skills you want.
Another doctor may say something like this:
∗ Links to Major Health Plans
“I used to do this procedure in my office. I learned that I didn’t have enough backup when
there were complications and that’s why patients, like you, are now asked to have the
∗ Links to Other State Agencies procedure in the hospital.”
Massachusetts Board of Such an answer would show you that you are talking to a doctor who respects your question, learns
∗ Board Regulations Registration in Medicine from his/her experiences, and is willing to make changes to improve patient safety.
Malpractice payments are presented within the context of the physician’s specialty. Some medical
∗ Patient Safety Updates
Physician Profiles specialties are far more likely to have more numerous and more expensive payments. Comparing
A Consumer Guide physicians to others in the same specialty accounts for these specialty differences.
When the Board takes final disciplinary action against a physician, it is noted on the profile for ten years.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Additional information about the discipline can be found on the Board’s
Board of Registration in Medicine website in the “Disciplinary Action List” and the press release for the
200 Harvard Mill Square 781-876-8200
corresponding date. In April 2007, the Board of Medicine began posting
Suite 330 800-377-0550
copies of the actual Board disciplinary orders on the website.
Wakefield, MA 01880
Using Physician Profiles Honors & Awards
PHYSICIAN PROFILES What’s On a Profile ?
Publications & Research
∗ Education Physicians are not required to submit this infor-
Search for a physician in a specific city or town.
Massachusetts was the first state to mation, but patients find the information ex-
∗ Training Find a specialist in a town by entering both the
offer a comprehensive program to tremely helpful in choosing a new physician.
town and the specialty on the search page.
give patients access to information ∗ Medical Specialties For example, a patient with a significant family
history of diabetes may prefer a physician who
about the education, training, and ∗ Professional demographics, including busi-
experience of all licensed physi-
Insurance Plans Accepted has published research papers in this area.
ness address, insurance plan and hospital af-
cians. filiations, and available translation services. See if a physician accepts your insurance plan.
Please be aware that these contractual arrange- Criminal Convictions
The “Physician Profiles” program is ∗ Professional or community awards received ments change quickly and you should always con-
Any serious criminal matters reported to the
one tool patients can use to make ∗ Research or publications by the physician firm eligibility with your provider.
Board in the past ten years are listed in this
the right health care decisions. Pa- section. The criminal issue may or may not be
∗ Malpractice claims paid in the past ten years
tients are encouraged to use the Hospital Affiliation related to the practice of medicine.
physician profile information to fos- ∗ Hospital discipline in the past ten years
If there is a specific hospital that you prefer to use,
ter better communication with a ∗ find out if a physician has privileges at that facility.
Criminal convictions in the past ten years Hospital Discipline
physician. Some physicians have full admitting privileges
∗ Disciplinary actions of the Massachusetts Whenever a Massachusetts hospital suspends
while others have different levels of access to a
Who Should Use Board of Registration in Medicine in the past or revokes a physician’s privileges in the hospi-
hospital’s services. Ask the physician to explain
the Physician Pro- ten years
the type of privileges he/she has.
tal, the Board of Medicine is informed. Details
files ? on the cause for the action should be re-
Information about your
doctor is just a click
quested from the physician. Usually, the Board
Consumers use Physi- What’s NOT On a Profile ? Education & Training of Medicine will not have additional informa-
cian Profiles when trying to choose Information on where the doctor went to medical tion about the reason for the action available to
∗ The number of suits filed against a physician school and trained as a resident.
a physician from a list supplied by consumers.
their health insurer. Others have ∗ Complication rates for hospitals or physicians
found the information useful when ∗ Patient mortality rates Specialty & Board Certification
they have been referred to a spe- This section shows the area of medicine in which
∗ Malpractice dollar awards
cialist. Expectant mothers use the physician specializes. Board certification
Physician Profiles as one step in shows that the physician has additional training in
choosing an obstetrician. that medical specialty or has passed special ex-
ams to prove his/her competence in the specialty.
Many physicians use the system to Physician Profiles can be found
This certification is from a medical professional
help patients when making a refer- on the Board’s web site:
association, not the state medical board. Physi-
ral to a specialist.
cians are not required to be Board Certified, but
Or through the
many patients prefer to see physicians with these
Consumer Services Call Center