Californian physicians were brought into the spotlight of the state Senate this year. A new house bill was proposed to renew the physician and nursing licensing board for another four years. While this is unanimously agreed upon, an addition to the bill has been contested. Under the proposed Senate Bill 798, a number of doctors on probation would be forced to disclose their status directly to patients.
Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, spearheaded this bill. In an effort to get the bill passed, he proposed the disclosure requirements should only affect doctors facing a select number of probationary issues.
Taking matters of disclosure case by case
Legal issues leading to probation are best mitigated through fast-acting measures with an attorney. Unfortunately, even proactive physicians can be left with a mark on their record for minor mistakes. Currently, patients have access to this information by searching for doctors on the California Medical Board’s website. The California Medical Association and unions representing nurses have stepped forward to say that this is enough. Direct disclosure to patients would negatively impact physicians and their private practices.
The bill initially passed the Senate, but Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell (who chairs for the Business and Professionals Committee) fought for the right of the state medical board to leave discretion of disclosure on a case by case basis. The bill ended up moving forward in the Senate with several amendments. The outlook for the bill will not require physicians to disclose their probationary status to patients.
Physicians facing probation can retain their discretion, but the issue is still on the Senate’s radar. Physicians facing disciplinary issues or civil litigation should take quick measures with a lawyer to minimize personal liability.