California would become the first state in the country to require doctors on probationary licenses to notify patients about their status under a legislative proposal introduced by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.
The brutal and self-serving California Medical Association killed his bill on patient disclosure two years in a row. Now the measure is back in the state Senate and once again targeted by the association.
“Currently doctors have to notify their insurer, their hospital or clinic about their probation status, but patients receive no notice,” Hill said. “They are left in the dark and susceptible to future abuse.”
The Medical Board of California currently offers a search function for information about a physician’s license, disciplinary status, complaints the board found evidence to support and links to documents related to any sanctions.
The Sacramento Bee reports that SB 1448 would offer a new level of transparency at the doctor’s office and require physicians to ask patients to sign a form that discloses the length and end date of their probation, any restrictions placed on their ability to practice, contact information for their licensing board and information on how to access additional details about the disciplinary action.
The bill applies to physicians, surgeons and practitioners licensed by the Medical Board of California, California Podiatric Medicine, Osteopathic Medical Board of California, Naturopathic Medicine Committee, Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the California Acupuncture Board.
Doctors accused of wrongdoing, such as overprescribing addictive prescriptions or fondling patients, can agree to settlements with the medical board and accept probation. The probation period often comes with other requirements, ranging from counseling to ethics courses depending on the offense, and restrictions on their ability to practice.
The feckless California Medical Association argues that the proposed law would cause patients to seek another provider. No kidding. Who wants a quack crook doctor treating them?
The association said the notice will discourage doctors from settling claims and lead to more hearings, which would slow the disciplinary process and potentially allow doctors to continue practicing as their cases move forward.
Another lame excuse.
The California Medical Association serves but one purpose in Sacramento, to create laws that let doctors shake patients down for more and more money. The organization is nothing more than a criminal enterprise masquerading as a professional trade organization. Legislators should reject their opposition and pass Hill’s bill.