Part I of this article briefly explores the licensing and disciplinary processes. Because each state board has broad discretion in reaching its decisions, an illness might be ignored in one state, trigger only periodic monitoring in another, and be grounds for sanction in a third. As the duty of every state board is the same - to protect patients from incompetent doctors - this disparate treatment is absurd. The implicit notion that the impact of a physician's illness on his ability to practice changes depending on a state line is not credible. Although statutes and cases may use different language to define incompetence, there is fundamental agreement that doctors in every state should practice with skill and safety. Part II exposes fundamental defects in the current reporting to national data banks. The goal of preventing incompetent physicians from injuring a series of uninformed patients in several states is commendable. Implementation is not.
Phyllis Coleman & Ronald A. Shellow, Restricting Medical Licenses Based on Illness is Wrong - Reporting Makes It Worse, 9 J.L. & Health 273 (1994-1995)