Missouri is just one of many states working hard to correct problems associated with allowing bad medical doctors to continue "practicing" medicine. (See Post Dispatch Article: Missouri Law Targets Incompetent Doctors) Governor Jay Nixon signed House Bill 265, which allows the healing arts board the ability to act more quickly in response to medical malpractice and other complaints against physicians believed to be "a threat to public health". It also provides better transparency between doctors and patients.
This new law will allow open access to doctor's background information such as: complaints filed, suspensions, education, specialty certifications, and all disciplinary records. The law will also afford swifter action against Missouri doctors suspected of substance abuse and mental illness. Prior procedures dictated that any complaint of this kind would first be heard by the state administrative hearing commission - a process that could take up to several years before happening - then another hearing would be held by the healing arts board. If the board decided it was a plausible complaint, the incompetent doctor would be ordered to complete competency and drug testing before being disciplined. The new law passes over the administrative hearing and gives more power to the healing arts board to take quick action.
"Transparency" seems to be the new political ambition at all levels of government, lets see if the law actually has teeth when applied to the real world. In dealing with doctor transparency, they may be right - though, the better terminology would be accountability. The ultimate form of accountability is the patient's right under the 7th Amendment - right to a jury trial; which is being eroded away in this country under the guise of "tort reform", a topic for an entirely new and very long conversation.
The new law goes into affect August 28, 2011.