Report Finds Medical Board Fails to Protect Georgia Patients From Problem Doctors

Posted: 06.27.23

CATEGORY: In our Community

Despite previous evidence and calls to action, the Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB) has continued to leave patients vulnerable to potentially dangerous doctors.

Back in 2020, it was found that the GCMB, which oversees licensing and disciplinary measures for doctors, was allowing nearly unimaginable circumstances to persist, which could result in serious harm to patients. The 2020 report found that doctors who had been credibly accused of causing harm to patients had not been disciplined or had their licenses revoked, and had been allowed to continue practicing medicine. Unfortunately, it seems not much has changed since then.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the GCMB still does not mandate background checks for new doctors, which makes it easy for doctors with a history of patient harm in other locations to hide such incidents. Other basic safety measures one would think should be in place to protect patients are also nearly non-existent. For example, the board has no specific timeline for how soon action should be taken against a doctor accused of causing harm to a patient, nor does it have any kind of policy against conflicts of interest, which means doctors serving on the GCMB can have a deciding voice in choosing to discipline their peers… or not.

Despite research showing that governing boards which include a strong mix of both doctors and consumer members are more effective at bringing attention to problem doctors, Georgia’s medical board does not require such diversity. Instead, only two of the 15 voting members of the GCMB can be consumers. And, right now, both of those consumer members are representatives of the healthcare industry.

While the new report from the AJC did acknowledge that the GCMB has made some progress, it called for further change to effectively protect Georgia’s patients.

Currently, Georgia has about 25,000 working doctors. And, while there are certainly plenty of good and ethical doctors practicing, there are likely a few who aren’t so reputable. The trouble is the general public has no way of knowing who those potentially dangerous doctors are if the GCMB fails to investigate and discipline those doctors for their abuse, misconduct, or incompetence.

At The Champion Firm, we’ve handled our fair share of medical malpractice cases. And, while we’re always passionate to step up and help our clients get justice for injuries caused to them by a medical professional, the fact remains that more should be done to protect patients from potential harm.

If you or someone you know has experienced an injury as a result of negligent medical practice, contact The Champion Firm today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer near you. To push for reform as to how the GCMB handles complaints against doctors, contact your state representatives to encourage additional funding for the GCMB, which the organization cited as a blocker to enacting more change.