Doctors Still Don't Have to Tell You About Their Misconduct

August 03, 2017

Southern California Public Radio/KPCC
By Jenny Lower

For the second year in a row, a bill that would have required doctors placed on probation for certain offenses to notify their patients has died in the state legislature.

SB 798 had passed the Senate, but its sponsor, State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), says he pulled the bill from consideration in the Assembly rather than accept amendments that would have watered it down. Hill sponsored a similar unsuccessful measure last year.

The legislation would have affected doctors placed on probation by the Medical Board of California for sexual misconduct, drug or alcohol abuse while treating patients and criminal convictions involving the practice of medicine, as well as those previously ordered on probation. The measure would have required those doctors to begin disclosing their probationary status and any practice restrictions to new patients starting July 1, 2018.

Physicians on probation are already required to notify the hospital where they practice and their malpractice insurer.

"They're not required to notify the most important person in the health care continuum, which is the patient. And that's ridiculous," says Hill.