Calif. Groups Call for Malpractice Coverage for Volunteer Doctors
The California Medical Association and the Medical Board of California are pushing for new state regulations that would expand malpractice insurance coverage for medical workers providing volunteer services, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Currently, California physicians providing volunteer services are not protected against medical malpractice claims unless they purchase an expanded coverage policy.
California is among seven states that do not have regulations protecting volunteer health care providers.
CMA is backing a new bill (SB 1031) by Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) that would change state law to offer medical malpractice insurance to physicians and surgeons who provide volunteer services.
CMA also has identified three possible models for expanding malpractice insurance to volunteer medical workers:
- The "state actor" plan, or "sovereign immunity," would consider physicians to be working as state employees when they provide volunteer care;
- The "statutory immunity" model would ensure that medical workers are immune from liability unless they commit gross negligence or willful misconduct; and
- The "state-run professional liability" plan calls for the state to purchase professional liability insurance for volunteer physicians or reimburse them for malpractice insurance premiums (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 4/1).