There's a state website where things you need to know to avoid bad doctors can be found, such as whether they've been disciplined, convicted of a crime or sued for malpractice. But don't delay. The website -- nydoctorprofile.com -- may soon be laid to rest.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed $142.6-billion budget would eliminate the $1.2-million funding for the physician profile site, calling it duplicative and a waste of money. It's neither.
Cuomo argues there are other websites where consumers can find some information about doctors; for instance, there's the state's Office of Professional Medical Conduct, where you can find out if a doctor has been disciplined, and the American Board of Medical Specialties, where a doctor's certification in a specialty, such as pediatrics or internal medicine, can be verified. But the endangered state site provides something those others don't: one-stop shopping.
And while there are private sites, such as Healthgrades, that provide some information on doctors, the state Department of Health has the power to require all doctors in the state to provide details for its website. That makes it the most complete and authoritative source. Eliminating it would be a retrograde move that ignores technology that makes it easy to give consumers information they need.
In fact, officials should find ways to make the website even more useful. Senate Health Committee chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) suggests requiring doctors to list the insurance plans they accept.
Combing through all the things government does in search of wasteful spending is just what the governor and the legislature should do when fashioning a budget. But $1.2 million is a small price to pay for better-informed patients.