Make sure you find the most qualified physician for you

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You want quality care for your family. That’s why choosing a  well qualified doctor is so important.  The Internet has many websites that can help you find out the information you need, prior to going to the doctor. 
 
© AlexRathsYou need to know the following:
1. Is the doctor licensed?
2. Where did the doctor attend medical school?
3. Is the doctor Board Certified by an American Medical Association program for the procedure?
4. Does the doctor have hospital staff privileges?
5. Has the doctor been sanctioned?
6. Does the doctor have medical malpractice insurance?
7. Has the doctor been disciplined?
8. Has the doctor been subject to a public complaint?
 
Most of this information can be found through the Florida Department of Health’s website.   Through this website, you will find out if the doctor is licensed, where he/she attended medical school, whether or not he/she is board certified, where he/she has staff privileges, whether he has been disciplined or subject to a public complaint.  There is a caveat – the information is provided by the physicians themselves and the site warns you that none of the information is verified by the State of Florida, except the criminal background check.  If you want to take your investigation one step further – you can request final disciplinary reports at the Florida Department of Health’s Public Records page.    
 
Next, you can look up a Florida doctor’s history of previously paid malpractice claims at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation webpage.   This site, which is maintained by the Florida Department of Financial Services (f/k/a Dept. of Insurance), offers information on the claims paid by malpractice insurance companies for doctors, hospitals, and even lawyers in Florida. Very few states offer this type of information to the public. You should do your search in the category of “all” counties because doctors do move around within the state, and watch out for variations of both physician and hospital names. Hospitals seem to change their names frequently, and we have seen physician data sometimes listed using the physician’s middle name, and sometimes not.  You can search using the last name.   Unfortunately, this website does not give you any information regarding any pending or open claims. 

For open/pending claims these claims, you can go to the county clerk of court’s website and research your particular physician there.  If your physician practices in the Jacksonville area – you can use CORE at DuvalClerk.com to find out what you need to know.  You would click on “general public” to be directed to the proper website. 

One last thing – always back up your research by googling your physician.  You never know what you might find.  Researching your physicians is one way to prevent medical malpractice. On top of all this research you should also ask friends, family or other patients how they like the doctor, how they were treated by the staff, etc. Personal experiences should also be evaluated before being treated by a physician.

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