Ouch! Docs must learn about spinal compressions after they make list of top five misdiagnoses

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The move would mandate physicians learn more about spinal compressions before renewing their licenses.

Florida physicians are going to have to brush up on back pain under a proposed continuing education requirement rule proposed Thursday by the Florida Board of Medicine.

The physician regulatory board is proposing to add spinal compressions to the list of top five misdiagnosed conditions by Florida doctors, a move that would mandate physicians learn more about spinal compressions before renewing their licenses with the state.

Every two years the Board of Medicine is required to review the five most common misdiagnoses made by Florida physicians who have appeared before the board for disciplinary proceedings. The review establishes the list of medical conditions that physicians must learn more about.

Spinal cord compressions will take the place of OB/GYN related conditions on the top five misdiagnoses list, according to the proposed rule. The list will otherwise remain the same.

According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, spinal cord compressions can occur anywhere on the spine from the neck to the lower back. Depending on the cause of the compression, symptoms can come on suddenly or develop gradually.

Wrong site surgery topped the list of quality-of-care complaints filed against Florida physicians who appeared before the board, according to the proposed rule. But wrong site surgeries aren’t “conditions,” they are mistakes.

To that end, the board has a separate rule meant to reduce the number of wrong site, wrong patient and wrong procedure surgeries. The rule includes a mandatory “pause” or time out before the start of a surgical procedure.

Florida physicians renew their licenses biennially. Between licensure cycles, physicians are required to have 40 hours of continuing education requirements. Two of those hours must focus on the prevention of medical errors, and one of the two hours must include information on the top five misdiagnosed conditions. The top five misdiagnosed conditions in the proposed Board of Medicine rule are: cancer-related conditions; gastroenterology-related conditions; cardiology-related conditions; neurological conditions; and missed spinal cord compressions.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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