Doctors Have a Right to Confront Their Accusers, Says Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

TUCSON, Ariz., April 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The following statement was issued by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which testified in favor of Texas bill SB 1193. This bill would give doctors the right to a copy of confidential complaints filed against them with the Texas Medical Board.

"S.B. 1193 gives doctors the same legal protections as lawyers, dentists, and politicians when defending against a complaint to the licensure board. The right to know one's accuser and the exact charges is a basic due process right.

"The Texas Medical Board withholds complaints from physicians, and stalkers have exploited this secret complaint process to harass their targets, as one witness explained to the Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee on April 9. The process can also facilitate racial discrimination.

"SB 1193 also requires the Board to supply the targeted physician with reports that it compiles in investigating his case, including credentials of experts.

"The Texas Medical Association (TMA) opposes the bill. It calls it a 'medical bullying' bill, and claims it will 'weaken' the Board and imperil tort reform passed more than a decade ago. These arguments are without merit.

"In fact, it is targeted physicians who are the victims of bullying and intimidation by persons who can file malicious complaints with impunity. A completely baseless complaint can subject a physician to enormous stress and expense, and even destroy his livelihood. The current secret process can make it impossible for the doctor to defend himself appropriately.

"Simple justice requires the Board to operate with transparency. It is unfair for doctors to be subjected to a Star Chamber process that is not tolerated for other professionals, or even for defendants in malpractice cases or accused criminals."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which was founded in 1943, is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties.

CONTACT: Jane M. Orient, M.D. (520) 323-3110 janeorientmd@gmail.comSource:Association of American Physicians & Surgeons