Assembly Should Pass Bill to Require State Medical Board to Disclose MD Information, Union-Tribune Says
A Senate-passed bill (SB 1950) that would require the Medical Board of California to disclose more information to the public about doctors who have settled malpractice claims "hardly seems unreasonable," and the Assembly should approve the legislation, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/24). The bill, sponsored by Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), would require the disclosure of misdemeanor criminal convictions that could affect medical care, malpractice settlements against a physician that courts have upheld on appeal, training and specialty certifications and investigations referred to the state attorney general for prosecution (California Healthline, 6/19). Under current law, hospitals, medical groups and medical malpractice insurers have access to the information and "insist upon it as a prerequisite of doing business" with doctors, but "the patient -- the only stakeholder who could die -- is kept in the dark," the editorial says. Although the (California Medical Association, which opposes the legislation, has said that the bill could "create a false impression in the minds of patients" about doctors who have settled malpractice claims, the editorial points out that the legislation would require the medical board to list the average number and amount of settlements for doctors in each medical specialty to address the concern. The editorial concludes, "California patients ought to be entitled to the information they need to make informed decisions when it comes to their medical care," and the medical board "ought to provide consumers as much information on doctors as pertinent" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.