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Why aren’t doctors required to renew their medical license more often?

Written by Ankin Law Office

A recent study published in the Journal of Patient Safety states that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year in U.S. hospitals due to preventable forms of medical harm. Chicago medical malpractice attorney should be aware that this makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the nation, behind only heart disease and cancer.

While this number includes errors made by all healthcare professionals within hospitals, it fails to include harm that did not cause the death of patients, or the medical errors that occur outside of hospitals in regular doctors’ offices and clinics.

Questions on certification

The staggering number of medical mistakes occurring in the nation leave many wondering why doctors are not required to renew their medical license more often. A Chicago medical malpractice attorney understands that those in other less life-and-death professions are often required to undergo yearly or biannual license renewals to prove that they are meeting the standards set by their state’s licensing organizations. The Illinois State Medical Society requires that doctors renew their licenses once every three years.

Within the physician license renewal period, doctors must earn 150 hours of Continuing Medical Education credits to ensure that they are maintaining their knowledge. However, only 40 percent of these hours must be spent in formal educational programs. With 50 hours of CME credits required each year, only 20 of these hours, or a little over two working days a year, are deemed necessary to ensure that doctors both maintain and expand their knowledge on relevant topics. Considering the vast discoveries and advancements in medical science that occur each year, this requirement may be seen as little more than a token gesture.

Troublesome lack of testing requirements

The discussion may go even further to question why physicians are not required to undergo regular testing to ensure that they are keeping abreast of changes in the medical field, such as new treatments, additional testing and changes in public policy. According to the Huffington Post, doctors must pass exams to get their state license and then they are no longer required to do anything other than annual CME. In order to prove their specialties, however, many physicians join boards that have slightly more rigorous standards: maintaining certification may require doctors to pass a knowledge exam once every 10 years while demonstrating a continual improvement in their knowledge of providing care to patients. While this is an obvious improvement over no testing requirements, the rates of medical error-related deaths in the U.S. should have patients and their family members calling for more testing and more accountability.

Those who have been injured by medical mistakes should contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney for assistance immediately. With their help, patients may be able to better face their opposition and regain the chance at creating a new life for themselves following such a devastating occurrence.

Categories: Medical Malpractice