April is an Ideal Time to Focus on Health

The weather is warming up, making it an ideal time to get healthy by getting active outdoors and taking advantage of the in-season fruits and vegetables. As further inspiration, a slew of campaigns focusing on health management through exercise, diet, and regular health care are happening this month. Here are a few to get you started:

  • April is Defeat Diabetes Month, sponsored by the Defeat Diabetes Foundation. As part of the campaign, the Foundation is challenging participants to track how many activities and good habits they candevelop this month. The website www.defeatdiabetes.org has an activity calendar of daily suggestions to stay active and eat well; for example, plant your own garden, try papaya and asparagus, go hiking, visit your doctor for a check-up, and explore a wildlife refuge.
  • According to volunteer eye health and safety organization Prevent Blindness, more women than men have eye disease. In an effort to educate women about preserving their vision, Prevent Blindness has designated this month as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month. From using cosmetics safely and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses to making regular optometry visits and learning about your family history of possible eye disease, there are many ways to take care of your vision. Find out more about the event and women’s eye care by visiting the Prevent Blindness website at www.preventblindness.org.
  • What is occupational therapy? Find out during National Occupational Therapy Month, founded by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The event recognizes the important role occupational therapists play in helping people return to everyday activities after injuries, assisting children with disabilities participate in school and social situations, and enabling the elderly to stay as independent as possible. Learn more about occupational therapy and the month long celebration at the AOTA website, www.aota.org.

To verify the license of your healthcare providers, visit the appropriate board’s website: Medical Board of California at www.mbc.ca.gov, Board of Optometry at www.optometry.ca.gov, and the Board of Occupational Therapy at www.bot.ca.gov.

Be an Informed Patient:  Check up on Your Doctor’s License

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The Medical Board of California urges consumers to take a minute or two to check up on their doctor’s license. A license checkup is simple and helps consumers make informed choices when choosing a doctor.

To check a doctor’s license, go to the Medical Board’s website at www.mbc.ca.gov. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can call (800) 633-2322 and someone at the Medical Board will assist you in looking up the doctor.

To use the website to search for a license, click on “License Search” on the homepage. Then, under “Physician and Surgeon” click “Search by Name.”

Enter the doctor’s last name and first initial. If it is a common last name, enter the entire first name. Make sure the names are spelled correctly. Then click “Search.”

When a list of names comes up, click on his or her name. Review the license details and scroll down to determine whether any disciplinary or other public actions are listed at the bottom of the page.

A tutorial here takes consumers through the steps of the license search.

Recently, the Medical Board of California was rated best Medical Board in the nation by Consumer Reports for website access to information about physicians. According to the May 2016 issue, “Consumer Reports and the Informed Patient Institute, a nonprofit patient group, analyzed the websites of boards in all 50 states to see how complete the information was and how easy they were to use, and rated them on a 1-100 scale.”

The Medical Board of California topped the “Best Five” list, with a score of 84. Others in the best five included New York (79), Massachusetts (78), Illinois (76), and North Carolina (76).

“In these days of social media, consumers need to know they can get a significant amount of information about their doctors on the Medical Board’s website,” said Executive Director Kim Kirchmeyer. “The information will assist patients in making an informed decision about their doctor.”

Ms. Kirchmeyer noted that of the 132,370 physicians licensed by the Medical Board to practice in California, only a fraction has disciplinary action by the Medical Board.

“But to a consumer, it is important to know if your doctor is in that group,” she said.

She added that along with the Medical Board’s disciplinary action, the website also has information on certain misdemeanor convictions, malpractice information, hospital disciplinary actions, as well as felony convictions and action taken by another state or federal agency.

If you have any questions regarding your doctor’s profile, please contact the Medical Board at (800) 633-2322 or discuss them with your doctor.