Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Letting the World Know About Me

I just completed the mandatory online physician database required by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Haven't heard about this? Well here's a few of their recent frequently asked questions and answers:
1. Who is required to complete a Profile?
Amendments to the Illinois Medical Practice Act require all physicians and chiropractors licensed in Illinois to complete a Profile as part of a public information database maintained by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
2. What if I don’t complete the Profile?
Your participation is mandatory and therefore failure to review, verify and complete your profile could result in fines or other disciplinary action being taken against your license. Additionally, licensees will not be allowed to renew their license in until he/she has completed the profile.
3. Who will able to see the Profile data I enter?
Beginning in 2008, all Profiles may be viewed and printed by the public using a Profile Search link which will be accessible from the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.
4. What profile information is required?
Primary office location(s), Hospital Affiliations (if you have any), Medicare acceptance, Medicaid acceptance, Illinois AllKids participation, current Board Certifications, Medical School and Post Graduate Education. All other required profile information, such as full name, license origination date, license status and disciplinary data are retrieved from the DFPR Licensing system and cannot be modified in the Profile.
Now I'm happy to provide the information for licensure to our state, but the general public? Lord knows there have been several instances of physician imposters described in the press, and armed with enough information for the public, one wonders if other instances will arise. And armed with this information, what assurances for my personal and financial security will the state of Illinois supply in return? Will they pay for an Equifax acount to protect my credit report to solicitous attempts at stealing my identity?

Scary times are ahead in 2008 as government intervenes more and more on the practice of medicine.



Dr. A said...

It's the government, they can't guarantee anything. I mean, they can't even run medicaid or medicare. And we're trusting them with personal information? Somebody stop me before this rant really gets out of control....

DrWes said...

Dr. A-

Part of my concern is that the government interests in our state (and I suspect many others soon to come) have now decided that the public's right to know exceeds my right to some modicum of privacy.

Each of us is keenly aware of the move to empower patients in the health care debate. I think this is a good thing. Patients can already log onto our state's website and see that I am licensed to practice and have no legal issues against me at this time.

So why the need to disclose my life history?

Certainly, government has an interest to assure publically-provided funds are used frugally and judiciously since doctors certainly receive their share of Medicare dollars. But other high-risk public occupations that involve the public (airplane pilots, police officers, semi-truck operators, etc.) are not subjected to the same requirements and potential for privacy breeches. But there is money in information, and it won't surprize me if access to this database is tacitly sold to interested third parties. What's to stop 'em?