ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing new rules for licensing, investigating and disciplining doctors and medical professionals in New York.
The proposal includes changes to laws controlling how state regulators handle probes of doctors accused of misconduct. It also would eliminate the lifetime licenses currently issued to doctors and some medical workers, instead requiring a periodic renewal process.
“The first responsibility of any medical professional is do no harm, and when someone violates that oath they must be held appropriately accountable," Cuomo said in a statement.
Other aspects of the plan, which is part of Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State agenda, would make new details about doctors’ medical practices available to the public.
"These sweeping proposals will help ensure patients have access to critical information they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare and give state health regulators more tools to investigate and penalize providers for dangerous, unethical or illegal behavior," Cuomo added.
Much of Cuomo’s plan involves changes to the Department of Health's Office of Professional Medical Conduct, which oversees doctors, physician assistants and specialist assistants.
One aspect would allow the Health Commissioner to confirm the presence or absence of an investigation into a medical worker, which is currently prohibited by law, Cuomo’s office said.
Non-disciplinary warnings for minor technical violations committed by a doctor would also become public under the plan.
Cuomo also called for allowing the health commissioner to summarily suspend a doctor’s license at the start of an investigation based on a public-risk assessment. He noted investigations currently last hundreds of days while potentially bad actors continue to practice medicine.
The medical society has supported prior efforts to pursue a similar form of license suspension during investigations to limit public safety threats, Fougner said.
Cuomo’s plan would also make changes to the Physician Profile, a state-run website that allows patients to search for details about doctors’ medical education, translation services and information about legal actions taken against the doctor.
He proposed requiring that the website now require doctors to disclose other details, such as insurance network participation, practice location, hours of operation and whether the office is currently accepting new patients.
Cuomo is soon expected to release further details about potential legislation related to the proposal. The state legislative session began last week.