If you’re a physician and your insurance company settles a medical malpractice case under your name, you are automatically reported to the National Practitioner Database, and also to the Department of Health of the State of New York. If you have several of these cases, you might well end up having your name publicized by the Department of Health on your Physician Profile, and it will show these medical malpractice settlements. They usually say more than two in ten years, they will start to post them.
The problem is, if they consider the one that you have to be serious enough, they can post that. That means it’s available for the public to see. The public cannot see the National Practitioner Data Bank, but if you have several lawsuits against you, and patients start to look you up on your Physician Profile, on your New York State Department of Health, they may decide to go to another doctor. You have to make a decision. Are you going to allow the insurer to settle the case? Some cases you have to, because they’re very serious, and you can’t defend them. On the other hand, if you think you can defend the case, do not allow them to settle it just because you think it’ll take time out of your practice. The long-term effects of numerous settlements can be very, very disadvantageous for any physician.