Firm Grades States’ Doctors on Disciplinary Actions, Patient Satisfaction

November 18, 2005

Patients in Rhode Island, Vermont and Minnesota are the most satisfied with their doctors, and patients in Wyoming and Arizona have doctors with the highest rate of disciplinary actions in the country.

Vermont, North Carolina and Alaska have highest percentage of doctors who are board certified, while Arizona, New Mexico and have the fewest.

These comparisions are according to a state-by-state review of HealthGrades’ Physician Quality Reports on nearly 600,000 doctors. Available on, the reports for consumers contain quality information on most of the practicing doctors in the country and are designed to help individuals choose the best doctors and specialists.

“Among the most startling numbers are the differences we found between the top and bottom states in terms of patient satisfaction and the percent of doctors with a disciplinary action,” said Samantha Collier, MD, HealthGrades’ vice president of medical affairs.

Rhode Island came in first for patient satisfaction in the review, with 83.10 percent of patients saying that they would definitely or most likely recommend their doctor to family and friends. South Dakota came in last with 67.24 percent.

Wyoming, Arizona and Alaska had the highest percentage of physicians with disciplinary actions from state medical boards, with 3.95 percent, 3.54 percent and 3.13 percent, respectively. The states with the lowest percentage were Delaware (0.47 percent), Hawaii (0.48 percent) and Washington, D.C (0.73 percent).

A wide disparity was also found in the percentage of physicians who are board certified in their primary specialty, often seen as a barometer of physician quality. In Vermont, 97.11 percent of physicians are board certified, while in Arizona, 78.7 percent are. The complete state rankings are as follows:

For this review, 587,411 HealthGrades Physician Quality Reports were analyzed. For its reports, HealthGrades compiles disciplinary actions for nearly every practicing physician in the country from all 50 state medical boards. The patient-satisfaction ratings are based on more than 52,000 survey responses from visitors to

“In examining the list of disciplinary actions by state medical boards for each state, it is important to remember that some state boards are more aggressive than others in meting out sanctions,” continued Dr. Collier.

HealthGrades recently began adding two new sets of data to its reports: physician-satisfaction surveys from the more than 2.5 million people that visit its Web site monthly, and detailed practice information from physicians themselves, which includes practice philosophy, subspecialty information and published peer-reviewed articles. The reports already include information on doctors’ education, training, board-certification, disciplinary actions, quality ratings of hospitals in their practice area, contact information and more. Physician reports currently cost $7.95 for the first report, and $3.95 for subsequent reports. HealthGrades hospital-quality ratings will continue to be offered free of charge on the Web site.

HealthGrades provides ratings and profiles of hospitals, nursing homes and physicians to consumers, corporations, health plans and hospitals. More information on the company can be found at

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