Lawmakers have passed a bill that will enable the N.C. Medical Board to post medical malpractice awards to the public on its Web page.
The bill requires malpractice payments of $75,000 or more to be published.
Initially, the medical board, which licenses and disciplines the state's doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioiners, sought to post awards of $25,000 or more.
But that effort was opposed by the state's largest physician lobby, the N.C. Medical Society, which sought to keep payments under $150,000 secret.
Legislators compromised with the $75,000 thresshold.
Jean Fisher-Brinkley, spokeswoman for the medical board, said the organization will begin publishing the new information in December, giving consumers an additional insight into their doctors. The board's Web page is www.ncmedboard.org.
Already, the board makes public the disciplinary actions it has taken when a doctor has breached ethical or care standards.
Fisher-Brinkley said the malpractice information will likely affect less than 5 percent of doctors. At the same time, the board plans to expand other consumer information it posts about practitioners, including what insurance they accept, any awards they've received, and whether they speak any additional languages.
"We're adding categories that will make the Web pages more useful," Fisher-Brinkley said. "Part of it is the negative stuff, but the bigger piece is the broader consumer information."