Have Questions About Your Doctor? State Website Has Answers

Oct 21, 2016

How much do you know really about your doctor?

Maybe you’ve seen a framed diploma in her office, but do you know if she has a criminal record or was the subject of a major malpractice settlement?

The state launched flhealthsource.gov this year, giving consumers a searchable database with information about every doctor in the state.

Doctors’ licenses have always been public, but consumers used to need to visit multiple places to find the same information, says Todd Gardner, who works in the state’s quality assurance division.

“Making it more intuitive and user friendly reduces the need for somebody to call our office to gain the information that they can now have readily available to them online,” Gardner said.

Along with arrest and malpractice information, users can see where their doctors have hospital privileges, if they have academic appointment, or if they've been disciplined by medical boards in Florida or other states in the past decade.

When doctors first apply to practice, state employees upload their license and education information. But it's up to the doctors to report any changes or discipline they face.

Those who don't update the information are investigated and could face discipline, said Gwen Bailey, a manager in the state's licensure department.

“We actually do a background check after each renewal so it's done every two years,” Bailey said. “In the event they have not provided the information, we make contact with them and require them to do it and if they don't then there is a process that happens with our complaints and enforcement.”

The Division of Medical Quality Assurance licenses and regulates more than 200 license types in more than 40 health care professions.  The agency issued initial licenses and registration to more than 4,100 doctors and nearly 1,500 medical residents between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, according to its annual report. That was a 29 percent increase over the previous four years.