An opinion piece that appeared in the Virginia Pilot on March 13 continues their investigation of the Virginia medical malpractice system and the issues that Virginia officials face in pinpointing the dangerous doctors in the state and revoking or suspending their licenses.
The piece puts forth that the Virginia Board of Medicine has not been thoroughly examined in ten years and that negligent and dangerous doctors are slipping through the cracks for months and years before being found and disciplined. Although two different investigations have found problems with the state’s ability to discover and punish medical malpractice doctors, appropriate reforms have not taken place.
The first review came in 1999, when the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) found that the Virginia Board of Medicine was not protecting patients from bad doctors in a timely or efficient manner. In 2003, the Virginia General Assembly pass reforms to help fix the bad system, but problems not only didn’t disappear – they got worse. In the last five years since the changes were made, fewer dangerous doctors were stopped from practicing, not more.
This year, a review by consumer watchdog Public Citizen ranked Virginia 39th in the nation when it came to disciplining medical malpractice doctors.
One example involves Dr. Julian McKenny Junior, who was put on probation until further notice after his inappropriate and unmonitored painkiller prescriptions resulted in the alleged overdoses of two of his patients.
In another case, Dr. Mohammad Soori was caught prescribing painkillers to five patients without medical reasons and having unprofessional relationships with two other patients. His license was suspended in January.
The Virginia Pilot suggests making peer reviews by doctors a requirement, as well as making pharmacists report suspicious prescription activity by doctors to medical board officials. The paper also suggests a simple self-examination within JLARC concerning why their disciplinary rates are so much lower than the majority of other states.
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