An overview of state medical discipline

JAMA. 1987 Feb 13;257(6):820-4.


The Office of Inspector General's responsibility for financially penalizing and excluding health care professionals from Medicare and Medicaid participation led to an interest in examining the state medical boards' licensure and discipline processes. This article discusses the results of the subsequent study and focuses only on medical discipline issues. We found that the rate of disciplinary actions taken by boards has been increasing. However, revocations and suspensions, the most serious category of actions, have remained relatively constant. Additionally, consumers and law enforcement agencies are the most active sources of possible violations. Individual health care professionals, hospitals, peer review organizations, and medical societies provide strikingly few reports. To rectify these problems, we encourage states to increase physician license renewal fees to fund expansion and improvement of boards' enforcement activities and to consider ways to limit the legal liability of those making good-faith referrals.

MeSH terms

  • Foreign Medical Graduates
  • Licensure, Medical*
  • Malpractice
  • Public Opinion
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States
  • United States Dept. of Health and Human Services