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05/23/2024 11:21 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20230&cosponId=39991
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 28, 2023 12:18 PM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Disclosure of Disingenuous Physician Complaints
 
When physician complaints are made, the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, initiates an investigation through its Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI). While physicians are notified that a complaint has been filed against them, they are prohibited from receiving any information about the complaint, which is kept on file indefinitely.   

When complaints are filed, BEI initially determines if the complaint, at face value, could possibly reflect a violation if it were to be proven true. For these cases, BEI will initiate an investigation. However, when BEI determines that a particular complaint lacks merit, the case is closed, and the physician receives a letter informing them accordingly, with the caveat that BEI retains the option to re-open the case, should further information be obtained.

Unfortunately, when complaints against physicians are found by BEI to be either frivolous or meritless, physicians must continue to disclose them when asked if their license has ever been subject to an investigation or complaint. Because the details of BEI investigations are confidential, a physician lacks the ability to explain the nature of the “closed complaint” thereby tarnishing their reputation in perpetuity. 
My legislation would no longer require physicians to acknowledge the existence of a complaint filed against their medical license if the case were closed without any formal action by BEI and no board action was taken.

Please join me in cosponsoring both bills. The first bill amends the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act of 1978 and the second bill amends the Medical Practice Act of 1985. 



Document #1

Introduced as SB674

Description: Amends the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act of 1978 so that a physician shall not be required to disclose a complaint filed against the physician with the board to any person or entity if the board determines that no disciplinary or correction action is necessary or if the complaint file is closed without any disciplinary or corrective action is taken. 
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB677

Description: Amends the Medical Practice Act of 1985 so that a physician shall not be required to disclose a complaint filed against the physician with the board to any person or entity if the board determines that no disciplinary or correction action is necessary or if the complaint file is closed without any disciplinary or corrective action is taken.