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TAP’s investigation sparks change at Connecticut’s health department

Medical Caduceus Symbol as Scales with backlight over Wall in dark room. 3d Rendering
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Medical Caduceus Symbol as Scales with backlight over Wall in dark room. 3d Rendering

Officials at Connecticut’s health department say they hope to update doctor disciplinary records across the state by the end of the year. A TAP investigation earlier this year found that out-of-state disciplinary information was missing from some doctor’s profiles on DPH’s site. Now, members of the Medical Examining Board are crediting The Accountability Project’s investigationfor sparking the change.

“The investigative report was helpful in that it brought a problem to light that is now being fixed. So that's good,” said board chairperson Kathryn Emmett. “It’s unfortunate it existed, but I'm glad it's in the process of being fixed.”

After being contacted earlier this year by Connecticut Public, DPH acknowledged it had failed to update some physician profiles. It said the task of automatically forwarding all out-of-state discipline reports to the unit that updates those records was “inadvertently lost in the mix of reassigning tasks following a series of staffing changes.”

“That was kind of a damning story, and very well documented in June,” board member Michele Jacklin said, referring to the investigation. “And I think that certainly should be a concern of ours about what's being done now to update the files and make sure that Connecticut residents can have faith that when they look up … the records of Connecticut physicians, that they are up to date.”

This is a prime example of why Connecticut Public launched The Accountability Project. If we had not started asking the tough questions, who knows when the missing information would have been updated. Our job is to hold the powerful accountable and to spark change and that’s exactly what happened here. While the acknowledgment from board members is nice, it’s really the change that keeps us digging for more stories.

Walter Smith Randolph is Connecticut Public’s Investigative Editor. In 2021, Walter launched The Accountability Project, CT Public’s investigative reporting initiative. Since then, the team’s reporting has led to policy changes across the state. Additionally, The Accountability Project’s work has been honored with a National Edward R. Murrow award from RTDNA, two regional Murrow awards, a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists, three regional EMMY nominations and a dozen CT SPJ awards.

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