By Michael Kelton and Jordan Fensterman
The New York State Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct ("OPMC"), intends to open investigations beginning on or about January 2014 relating to New York State licensed physicians who have failed to timely update their New York State Physician Profiles. The New York State Physician Profile was created after former Governor George Pataki signed the New York Patient Health Information and Quality Improvement Act of 2000 to make it possible for all citizens of New York to obtain information about physicians online. http://www.nydoctorprofile.com
The physician profile contains such information as the physician's education, hospital affiliations, insurance plans accepted, languages available, malpractice judgments, criminal convictions, professional misconduct findings and more. Certain required information must be updated by the physician within 30 days of any change, while other optional information must be updated within 365 days of the change. EVERY NEW YORK STATE LICENSED PHYSICIAN IS REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN AN ONLINE PHYSICIAN PROFILE. EVERY NEW YORK STATE LICENSED PHYSICIAN IS REQUIRED TO UPDATE HIS/HER PHYSICIAN PROFILE WITHIN SIX MONTHS PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION DATE OF HIS/HER BIENNIAL LICENSE REGISTRATION PERIOD. Even if the physician's information has not changed, it is incumbent upon the physician to submit (via online, fax, or hard copy) a "no changes" statement in order for the profile to display as having been timely updated.
On every New York physician biennial registration renewal application there is a checkbox which requires the physician to affirm that he/she has timely updated his/her physician profile. Checking off "yes" in that box when he/she has not actually updated his/her physician profile may be considered fraud and professional misconduct.
All physicians are strongly advised to update their New York State Physician Profiles immediately, at least annually thereafter, and sooner if required by any changes in their profile information. For questions or comments relating to this or any other topic involving physician professional misconduct contact Michael S. Kelton (MKelton@abramslaw.com) or Jordan S. Fensterman (JFensterman@abramslaw.com).