Bills Responding to Doctor Misconduct Scandals and Berkeley Balcony Collapse Face Major Hearings Wednesday in State Capitol

August 07, 2018

Media Advisory – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill – August 8, 2018
Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov

Bills Responding to Doctor Misconduct Scandals and Berkeley Balcony Collapse Face Major Hearings Wednesday in State Capitol

Hearings Mark Final Chance for Survivors of Sex Abuse by Doctors and Mother of Berkeley Balcony Victim to Press Lawmakers for Change

SACRAMENTO – Three bills by state Senator Jerry Hill to improve patient and public safety face key hearings Wednesday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will determine whether the legislation advances for floor votes – or stalls indefinitely.

What: The Assembly Appropriations Committee conducts hearings on Senate Bill 1448, The Patient’s Right to Know Act of 2018, and SB 1465 and SB 721, which would improve oversight of construction contractors and the balconies they build at apartments. The hearings mark the final opportunity for lawmakers to hear testimony from survivors of sexual abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar and alleged sexual misconduct by a former USC gynecologist, and from Jackie Donohoe, whose daughter, Ashley, and niece, Olivia Burke, were among the six people who died in the 2015 Berkeley balcony tragedy.

When: The Assembly Appropriations Committee convenes at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 8, 2018. The hearings for Senator Hill’s bills will likely be held during the first 90 minutes.

How to Watch: The hearings will be held in the State Capitol, Room 4202. View the live stream at http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast/

Other Witnesses Expected to Testify Include:

  • Audry Nafziger, a sex crimes prosecutor for the Ventura County District Attorney’s office who was a law student in the 90s when she was seen by a USC gynecologist now under investigation for reports of alleged sexual abuse spanning more than two decades. It will be the first time for Ms. Nafziger to testify on SB 1448.
  • Lucy Chi, a USC graduate who also was a former patient of the USC gynecologist.
  • Tiffany Thomas Lopez, a former MSU softball player, and former Team USA gymnast Jeanette Antolin. Their testimony against Dr. Larry Nassar helped bring the sexual predator to justice.

Background:

SB 1448, the Patient’s Right to Know Act of 2018

SB 1448 would make California the first state to require that doctors on probation in connection with sexual misconduct and other serious professional misconduct notify their patients of that status and disclose basic details of their terms of probation and any conditions placed on their practice.

Under SB 1448, doctors would be required to notify patients if placed on probation for sexual abuse or misconduct involving patients; drug or alcohol abuse that results in harm to patients or impairs the ability to practice safely; a criminal conviction involving harm to a patient’s safety or health; or inappropriate prescribing that resulted in harm to patients and a probationary period of five years or more. The requirement would apply to physicians, surgeons, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists who are placed on administrative probation by regulators on or after July 1, 2019.

Doctors are already required to report their probationary status to their insurers and to hospitals and clinics they work with. Patients are not informed. They can find out if they take the initiative to periodically check on their doctor’s license status online or download an app recently created by the Medical Board of California, which licenses physicians. But that requires the patient to have a computer and internet access and, if using the app, an iOS device.

Assemblymember Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, co-authored SB 1448 with Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

Legislation Increasing Oversight of Construction Contractors

Senator Hill introduced SB 1465 and SB 721 in response to the Berkeley balcony tragedy.

Crafted with help from the Contractors State License Board, SB 1465 would require contractors who settle construction defect lawsuits for a million dollars or more involving load-bearing portions of multifamily rental residential structures to report those deals to the CSLB. The reports would be confidential unless the licensing board pursues related disciplinary measures.

SB 721 sets requirements for inspection of balconies and other elevated exterior elements, such as stairs and walkways, at apartment buildings and complexes.

Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, co-authored SB 1465 and SB 721.

###