State Senator Jerry Hill Announces Hearing to Examine Sexual Misconduct Reporting in the Medical Profession

May 22, 2018

For Immediate Release – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill – May 22, 2018

State Senator Jerry Hill Announces Hearing to Examine Sexual Misconduct Reporting in the Medical Profession

Alleged Professional Misconduct by a Second Prominent USC Doctor and Laggard Reporting to the California Medical Board Prompts Questions About Why Authorities Weren’t Told Sooner

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Jerry Hill announced today he will hold a hearing in June to examine sexual misconduct reporting in the medical profession and what happens when health care facilities receive complaints of sexual misconduct or other allegations of serious professional wrongdoing by doctors.

The hearing, “Sexual Misconduct Reporting in the Medical Profession: Missed Opportunities to Protect Patients,” will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, June 18, in Room 3191 in the State Capitol. Senator Hill is convening the hearing as chair of the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development in response to a news investigation that revealed the University of Southern California has allowed a second prominent doctor who had been the subject of misconduct complaints for years to quietly part ways with the university – without notifying the appropriate authorities.

The most recent case, uncovered by the Los Angeles Times, involves allegations of sexual misconduct by USC’s former gynecologist, who worked at the university for almost 30 years before resigning in 2017. The earlier case, also disclosed by the LA Times, involved alleged drug and alcohol abuse and other professional misconduct by the former dean of the university’s medical school during his tenure; he resigned in 2016. Neither case was reported to the Medical Board of California, which licenses doctors and physicians and enforces the business and profession laws pertaining to the field, when complaints about the doctors initially surfaced. The board was advised amid media scrutiny several months after the doctors, who have denied any wrongdoing, vacated their posts. The university said it contacted law enforcement about the former campus gynecologist earlier this month.

“The Medical Board cannot do its job as a regulator or fulfill its responsibilities for consumer protection if it is not alerted to these cases as they emerge,” said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “The USC president recently acknowledged in open letters to the campus community that ‘in hindsight’ the university should have notified the medical board earlier. He also asked: ‘How could this behavior have gone on for so long?’ ”

“The upcoming hearing,” Senator Hill said, “will examine what hospitals and other health care facilities are required to do – and what is actually done – when they receive complaints of alleged sexual misconduct and other serious wrongdoing by medical professionals. We will also explore what can be done to ensure that the appropriate authorities are alerted in a timely manner of these patient and public safety risks.”

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Media Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov