Ariz. - ) The Arizona Medical Board‘s June agenda shows a tremendous effort to reduce the number of open investigations, according to Executive Director Timothy C. Miller. At its unusual three-day meeting underway this week, the Board is considering 85 cases involving 89 physicians.
Miller had identified the number of open investigations as 1140 in his April Summary Report to the Board. “That number now stands at 933, a decrease of 207 cases,” he stated in his June Report to the Board today.
While medical board staff have worked overtime to reduce the backlog, Miller noted, “The number of cases that exceed the agency‘s 180-day goal for complaint resolution has continued to grow and now stands at 545, an increase of 116 cases.”
Miller blamed that rise on the quality of investigations before he arrived in December of last year. “We have found the investigation (in these cases) does not meet the Board‘s current standards, and significant deficiencies existed with regard to notice issues, identification of the standard of care, and thoroughness,” Miller said. He added, “These investigations must be completed properly before the cases are ready for the Board‘s consideration.”
Besides streamlining the investigative process, Miller believes additional staff is needed to meet the 180-day timeline. “By the end of June, we will have 11 investigators, up from only 3 in December,” Miller said.