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Mass. Senate approves revamp of state medical board

The drive to revamp the discipline reporting system for doctors in Massachusetts continued this week on Beacon Hill, with the Senate approving a measure that would make that system more transparent.

As part of its health care cost reduction bill, the Senate approved an amendment Tuesday that would require the state Board of Registration in Medicine to provide a public database that would include any felony or serious misdemeanor convictions doctors may have, as well as any disciplinary measures taken against them by the board.

Senator Richard T. Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat, filed the amendment, which passed 37 to 0, according to the Legislature’s website. It was passed three weeks after the House approved a similar amendment.

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A final version of the measure will probably reach the governor’s desk either as part of the budget or the health care bill, both of which must be reconciled between the two legislative chambers.

The action followed a Globe report in March that showed how the board, once regarded as a national model, has routinely omitted and removed thousands of embarrassing records about physicians during the past two decades. The story and findings were produced by the Northeastern University Initiative for Investigative Reporting.

The Globe story found the Massachusetts board is one of only three in the country that take down physicians’ online profiles when doctors lose or fail to renew their licenses.


Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.