Doctor Rating Sites Sometimes Err on the Side of the Worst Possible Interpretation

Jeff Segal, MD, JD, FACS

These two vignettes involve real Medical Justice plan members; both talented physicians. Rating sites tarred these innocent bystanders, courtesy of their respective licensing Board of Medicines. Medical Justice helped set the record straight.

Doctor A. is an interventional neuroradiologist. Interventional neuroradiology is a relatively new field which emerged over the past twenty years. The field expanded to treat a host of medical conditions deemed too risky to be tackled by open neurosurgical techniques. The first practitioners were in high demand because so few had the training or skills. Doctor A would frequently be asked to fly to another state, do his magic with a catheter, then fly home. He often had little time to mull the invitation over. He had even less time to secure clearance by the other state licensing boards. To simplify the process, he asked for, and received, a limited medical license in other states. He knew he was just going in and getting out. He didn’t need extensive privileges.

One rating site misinterpreted the limited license as a licensing board smackdown. The site concluded a limited license must mean the doctor once had full unrestricted privileges before being smacked down. Hence the rating site red flag. With significant effort, Medical Justice was able to reconstruct the licensing document trail to allow the rating site to correct its faux pas. Which they did. The site had erroneously labeled one of the better practitioners as one of the worst.

This serves the public poorly. My interpretation: such an error is worse than no label at all.

To be continued .. here

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