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Advocates: Budget threatens website for consumers to check up on physicians

ALBANY - ALBANY —  A state website that requires accurate information about every physician’s resume and malpractice history would be eliminated under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget proposal, health care advocates said Thursday.

The state Health Department’s public website for 15 years has required physicians, under threat of criminal charge, to accurately report how often they were sued for malpractice and if a verdict was made against them or if they settled out of court. The “physician profile” site also provides academic background and professional accomplishments

“It’s an empowerment exercise,” said Ilene Corina of Wantagh, president of the patient advocacy group PULSE New York.

Patient advocates said commercial sites that have cropped up often omit information such as malpractice cases and physicians face no criminal penalty if they omit information or lie in the commercial websites.

Cuomo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Senate’s Republican majority and the Assembly’s Democratic majority have proposed restoring the website and the toll free telephone number for consumers. Negotiations are underway for a budget due by April 1.

The site attracted 35,000 visits in December alone, said Chuck Bell of Consumers Union in a news conference Thursday.

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