In our last post, we began looking at the issue of racial profiling in the physician discipline process as it is making news out in California. As we noted, a group of African American doctors is calling attention to the disproportionate discipline of such doctors, and the negative impact this has on medical care in predominantly African American communities.
In California, the percentage of African American physicians is low, sitting at about three percent of the total population of doctors. Here in Minnesota, the percentage of African American physicians is even lower, falling at two percent back in 2014. The greatest concentration of persons of color statewide is, not surprisingly, in the Twin Cities metro area, where they make up about 21 percent of the total population. Interestingly, only 14 percent of the total share of physicians in the metro area are people of color.
It isn’t known whether medical racial profiling is an issue here in Minnesota. Alleging racial profiling in physician discipline is a serious allegation, of course, and one which would need to be backed up by solid evidence. State medical boards are supposed to approach physician discipline in a very fact-based manner, as a legal investigation would be approached. What matters is the evidence that is available demonstrating a physician’s compliance with standards of professional conduct.
Physicians who feel they have been targeted for investigation or disciplinary action by the state medical board on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin should work with an experienced advocate in the disciplinary process to ensure their rights are protected and that they aren’t disciplined for improper purposes.