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Limiting Medical Practice Based on Training and Certification

February 6th, 2012

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports yesterday that The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice exhibits a serious failure to act on patient complaints against physicians. According to a Star Tribune investigation, “The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, responsible for protecting the public from physician errors or misconduct, often shies away from punishing doctors whose mistakes harm patients or who demonstrate a pattern of substandard care.”

Some of the reported problems are related to cosmetic surgery procedures being done by a dermatologist.  Medical regulation does not limit the scope of surgical practice today. In fact, physicians are allowed by law to practice all aspects of medicine and surgery independent of training or experience.  This antiquated policy, driven by a 19th century shortage of doctors, is no longer prudent.

Today’s specialty training provides an education that is generally limited to the scope within each specialty.   Cardiac surgeons are not trained to do breast enlargement and plastic surgeons are not trained to do bypass surgery.  This makes sense to me!

Is it time for The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice to begin limiting medical practice based on training and certification?

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