With the proliferation of websites and online tools that Americans have, there is rarely an instance where important information is not readily available for free or for a small fee. Parents considering hiring a nanny can get a full criminal background check for a few dollars, and prospective employers can get an employee’s credit history with the click of a button. Despite the ease of getting important information in other areas, a recent survey shows that New Mexico ranks among the lowest states in the nation in terms of being able to research the medical malpractice history of physicians in their state.
The Consumer Reports study ranked every state based on how easy it is to access information concerning a licensed physician. They found that though New Mexico has a central database of licensed physicians, information on several key factors was found in completely different areas or even simply not available. As a result, many patients in New Mexico are left uninformed of important data, or they have to endure a lengthy search process on their own. Most importantly, patients may not even know exactly the right questions to ask in order to find pertinent data.
In other states, consumers are able to find all the information on a physician in one location. A Consumer Reports spokesperson says that, ideally, patients should be able to pull up data such as medical malpractice claims and payouts, state medical board disciplinary actions and board certification information on one website. An easy way for this to happen would be for the National Practitioner Data Bank to be open to the public, which would allow patients to see this information on physicians for New Mexico and for any other state in which the physician practiced.
Due to the difficulty patients face in accessing medical malpractice data in New Mexico, they may benefit from engaging an attorney if they are subject to negligence from a physician who has a track record of malpractice suits and/or large payouts. They may be able to receive financial restitution to assist in medical bills and with pain and suffering. An attorney familiar with medical malpractice laws in New Mexico would be able to assist a patient in pursuing the best legal options.