Landmark Bill Requiring Doctors on Probation to Notify Patients Awaits Final Vote by California State Senate

August 31, 2018

For Immediate Release – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill – Friday, August 31, 2018

Landmark Bill Requiring Doctors on Probation to Notify Patients Awaits Final Vote by California State Senate

Assembly Approves SB 1448, the Patient’s Right to Know Act, by Senator Jerry Hill

SACRAMENTO – The state Assembly today passed Senate Bill 1448, the Patient’s Right to Know Act, advancing the legislation that would make California the first state to require doctors to notify patients if placed on probation for serious professional misconduct involving patient harm – or behavior that could lead to patient harm.

SB 1448 by Senator Jerry Hill faces a final legislative hurdle – a vote by the Senate on amendments – in order for the bill to reach the governor’s desk. The Legislature has until midnight tonight to pass bills for the governor’s consideration.

“I am indebted to all the brave survivors who have testified about their traumatic and deeply personal experiences,” said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “Grandmothers, former students, star athletes, a prosecutor and other professionals who endured the depredations of predators shared their stories with lawmakers to prevent other patients from suffering abuse. Again and again, they asked us to lift the veil of secrecy that has protected bad actors.”

“This legislation could not have come so far without their courage and commitment and without the bipartisan support of so many of my colleagues in both houses of the Legislature,” Senator Hill said.

The Patient’s Right to Know Act, coauthored by Assemblymember Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, would require physicians who are disciplined by their regulatory board for the following four categories of misconduct to notify their patients prior to their visit:

  • Sexual misconduct with a patient
  • Drug abuse that can harm patients
  • Criminal conviction involving harm to patients
  • Inappropriate prescribing resulting in patient harm

In addition to physicians, SB 1448 would apply to surgeons, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists who are placed on administrative probation by regulators on or after July 1, 2019.

Currently, doctors are legally obligated to notify their insurer and their hospital or clinic about their probation status, but patients receive no notice. SB 1448 would ensure that consumers are fully informed if their doctors on probation for cases of serious professional misconduct that involved patient harm or potential patient harm. This year’s bill marks Senator Hill’s third effort to make the requirement law. Measures in 2016 and 2017 did not survive the legislative process.

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SB 1448 Fact Sheet:
http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd13.senate.ca.gov/files/pdf/sb1448_factsheet_v3update.pdf

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