Title 26: Professions and Occupations
Chapter 23: MEDICINE
26 V.S.A. § 1368. Data repository; licensee profiles
§ 1368. Data repository; licensee profiles
(a) A data repository is created within the department of health which will be responsible for the compilation of all data required under this section and any other law or rule which requires the reporting of such information. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, licensees shall promptly report and the department shall collect the following information to create individual profiles on all health care professionals licensed, certified, or registered by the department, pursuant to the provisions of this title, in a format created that shall be available for dissemination to the public:
(1) A description of any criminal convictions for felonies and serious misdemeanors, as determined by the commissioner of health, within the most recent 10 years. For the purposes of this subdivision, a person shall be deemed to be convicted of a crime if he or she pleaded guilty or was found or adjudged guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) A description of any charges to which a health care professional pleads nolo contendere or where sufficient facts of guilt were found and the matter was continued without a finding by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(3) A description of any formal charges served, findings, conclusions, and orders of the licensing authority, and final disposition of matters by the courts within the most recent 10 years.
(4) A description of any formal charges served by licensing authorities, findings, conclusions, and orders of such licensing authorities, and final disposition of matters by the courts in other states within the most recent 10 years.
(5) A description of revocation or involuntary restriction of hospital privileges for reasons related to competence or character that has been issued by the hospital's governing body or any other official of the hospital after procedural due process has been afforded, or the resignation from, or nonrenewal of, medical staff membership or the restriction of privileges at a hospital taken in lieu of, or in settlement of, a pending disciplinary case related to competence or character in that hospital. Only cases which have occurred within the most recent 10 years shall be disclosed by the board to the public.
(6)(A) All medical malpractice court judgments and all medical malpractice arbitration awards in which a payment is awarded to a complaining party during the last 10 years, and all settlements of medical malpractice claims in which a payment is made to a complaining party within the last 10 years. Dispositions of paid claims shall be reported in a minimum of three graduated categories, indicating the level of significance of the award or settlement, if valid comparison data are available for the profession or specialty. Information concerning paid medical malpractice claims shall be put in context by comparing an individual health care professional's medical malpractice judgment awards and settlements to the experience of other health care professionals within the same specialty within the New England region or nationally. The commissioner may, in consultation with the Vermont medical society, report comparisons of individual health care professionals covered under this sectio
n to all similar health care professionals within the New England region or nationally.
(B) Comparisons of malpractice payment data shall be accompanied by:
(i) an explanation of the fact that professionals treating certain patients and performing certain procedures are more likely to be the subject of litigation than others;
(ii) a statement that the report reflects data for the last 10 years, and the recipient should take into account the number of years the professional has been in practice when considering the data;
(iii) an explanation that an incident giving rise to a malpractice claim may have occurred years before any payment was made, due to the time lawsuits take to move through the legal system;
(iv) an explanation of the possible effect of treating high-risk patients on a professional's malpractice history; and
(v) an explanation that malpractice cases may be settled for reasons other than liability.
(C) Information concerning all settlements shall be accompanied by the following statement: "Settlement of a claim may occur for a variety of reasons which do not necessarily reflect negatively on the professional competence or conduct of the health care professional. A payment in settlement of a medical malpractice action or claim should not be construed as creating a presumption that medical malpractice has occurred." Nothing herein shall be construed to limit or prevent the licensing authority from providing further explanatory information regarding the significance of categories in which settlements are reported. Pending malpractice claims and actual amounts paid by or on behalf of a professional in connection with a malpractice judgment, award, or settlement shall not be disclosed by the commissioner of health or by the licensing authority to the public. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the licensing authority from investigating and disciplining a health
care professional on the basis of medical malpractice claims that are pending.
(7) The names of medical professional schools and dates of graduation.
(8) Graduate medical education.
(9) Specialty board certification.
(10) The number of years in practice.
(11) The names of the hospitals where the health care professional has privileges.
(12) Appointments to medical school or professional school faculties, and indication as to whether the health care professional has had a responsibility for teaching graduate medical education within the last 10 years.
(13) Information regarding publications in peer-reviewed medical literature within the last 10 years.
(14) Information regarding professional or community service activities and awards.
(15) The location of the health care professional's primary practice setting.
(16) The identification of any translating services that may be available at the health care professional's primary practice location.
(17) An indication of whether the health care professional participates in the Medicaid program, and is currently accepting new patients.
(b) The department shall provide individual health care professionals with a copy of their profiles prior to the initial release to the public and each time a physician's profile is modified or amended. A health care professional shall be provided a reasonable time to correct factual inaccuracies that appear in such profile, and may elect to have his or her profile omit the information required under subdivisions (a)(12) through (14) of this section. In collecting information for such profiles and in disseminating the same, the department shall inform health care professionals that they may choose not to provide such information required under subdivisions (a)(12) through (14).
(c) The profile shall include the following conspicuous statement: "This profile contains information which may be used as a starting point in evaluating the professional. This profile should not, however, be your sole basis for selecting a professional." (Added 2001, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. June 13, 2002; amended 2011, No. 61, § 2, eff. June 2, 2011.)