HealthDay News — Physician misconduct is being underreported and most Americans do not know where to file a complaint, according to a report published by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB).

Adults aged 18 years and older were surveyed to examine the prevalence of physician misconduct and public awareness of the work of state medical boards.

According to the report, 27 percent of respondents reported knowing how to find out if a physician has ever received a disciplinary action against their license; younger adults were less likely to know how to find this information. Fifty-one percent reported not knowing that state medical boards are responsible for the licensing and regulating of physicians. Overall, 69 percent of respondents did not know that a state medical board is the best resource to contact in case of a complaint about a physician’s competence or conduct; older adults were more likely to know this information. Eighteen percent of Americans (409 respondents) had experienced an interaction with a physician they believed was acting unethically or unprofessionally or was providing substandard care; only one-third (128 respondents) reported the interaction or filed a complaint against the physician.

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“The FSMB believes it is essential to create a safe environment for reporting, so patients feel comfortable coming forward to boards, while also empowering every member of a health care team to exercise their duty to report misconduct as well,” Humayun Chaudhry, D.O., president and chief executive officer of the FSMB, said in a statement.

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