Unmasking the truth: Digging into your doctor's track record

Newschannel 3 reveals how patients can get a look at their doctors' performance records. (WWMT graphics){ }

Before you head in for a health check-up, you might want to check out your doctor’s medical license. A Newschannel 3 I-Team investigation finds that seven doctors and 31 nurses from Southwest Michigan have been disciplined since January 2017.

“A majority of our doctors and prescribers are trying to do the right thing and are doing the right thing,” said Kim Gaedeke, deputy director at Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Agency, also known as LARA.

But some don't, and that’s why the agency exists: To keep health professionals in check by investigating complaints, issuing penalties and publishing monthly disciplinary reports.

“Our goal is to really go after the bad actors,” Gaedeke said.

Those bad actors include 31 nurses and seven doctors from Southwest Michigan who've been disciplined by LARA this year.

“It’s a broad range from incompetence to lack of good moral character,” Gaedeke said.

In some cases, it's overbilling Medicaid, which was the complaint against dentist Curtis Woodfield in Gobles. He's now on probation.

In Portage, physician William Hanavan was reprimanded after prescribing pain medication to a jail inmate who wasn't his patient.

“I think the more you know about that provider in regards to their license, the better decisions you'll be able to make,” Gaedeke said.

That’s because sometimes doctors don't always make the best decisions, such as surgeon Daniel Roberston. A complaint from LARA states that Robertson was intoxicated when he tried to operate on a 2-year-old at a Grand Rapids hospital. Robertson was removed by hospital security after breaking equipment while blood was splattered all over the operating room.

“The key is, the more you know about the provider you're going to be seeing, to treat you and care for you in terms of your health, the better off you will be as a consumer. And verifying a license is just a great way, another check and balance,” Gaedeke said.

Newschannel 3 reached out to the doctors mentioned in this story. Hanavan has since retired and moved out of state; he declined to comment. Robertson is no longer working in Grand Rapids and also declined to comment. Our calls to Woodfield in Gobles were not returned.

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