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Medical board seeks to cut disciplinary backlog

The state Board of Medicine has a backlog of disciplinary complaints that has reached 2,000 cases.

To whittle it down, the board will streamline its disciplinary procedures, reports The Associated Press.

Many of the cases in the glut do not involve a substantial risk to patients, such as advertising complaints. The disciplinary staff has been given the authority to dismiss those cases when there is not adequate evidence to go forward. Since 2004, violations of the appropriate rules were found in only 15 percent of these lower-level complaints, according to the board.

The Board of Medicine, which oversees physicians, chiropractors and other health professionals, is one of 14 regulatory boards under the Department of Health Professions. Gov. Tim Kaine, in his “Virginia Performs” initiative, has asked all boards to resolve 90 percent of complaints about patient care within 250 days. So far in 2007, the boards have met that goal about 40 percent of the time.

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