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FSMB: Maryland Bill Limits Patient Rights

Senate Bill 372 reduces transparency; requires physicians’ disciplinary records to be expunged after three years

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 6, 2019) –The Federation of State Medical Boards’ (FSMB) President and CEO, Humayun Chaudhry, DO, released the following statement in strong opposition to Maryland Senate Bill 372 (SB 372), which would require the Maryland State Board of Physicians to expunge records of physicians with a public reprimand or probation three years after the final disposition of the case.

“Maryland Senate Bill 372 proposes putting a three-year time limit on what patients in Maryland are allowed to know about the disciplinary history of their physician. Instituting a mandatory time-limit to expunge a physician’s disciplinary history is unprecedented. If passed, Maryland will become the first state in the nation to allow physicians to wipe their disciplinary records clean after a certain period of time, regardless of the severity of the offense or the danger to the public. This legislation will decrease transparency in the licensing process, potentially putting the health and safety of Marylanders at risk. It also would create a dangerous precedent that will have a national impact on patient safety.

The mission of state medical boards is to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare through the proper licensing, disciplining and regulation of physicians. A full and complete disciplinary history of licensed physicians is essential for all state boards of medicine as they fulfill their statutory duties in furtherance of public safety. SB 372 will severely limit the availability of this valuable information to state medical boards, as well as deny the public its right to know the full disciplinary history of the physician treating them and their families. Not only would this bill hide this information from the residents of Maryland, but it would make it easier for previously disciplined doctors to leave the state and begin practicing in another jurisdiction undetected.

Every physician has the right to due process before their medical board, just as every patient has the right to know about their physician’s disciplinary history. However, SB 372 tips that power to the detriment of public safety. The FSMB strongly opposes this legislation and encourages members of the Maryland Senate to reject this bill. It is bad for patients and will erode trust in those whose duty it is to protect the public from the harmful practice of medicine.”

About the Federation of State Medical Boards

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national non-profit organization representing all 70 medical boards within the United States and its territories that license and discipline allopathic and osteopathic physicians and, in some jurisdictions, other health care professionals. The FSMB serves as the voice for state medical boards, supporting them through education, assessment, research and advocacy while providing services and initiatives that promote patient safety, quality health care and regulatory best practices. To learn more about FSMB, visit www.fsmb.org. You can also follow FSMB on Twitter (@theFSMB).

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