California Medical Board Investigating More Fake Health Care Providers
The Medical Board of California is investigating an increasing number of people posing as physicians and offering risky treatments, according to a report on medical board operations over recent years, California Watch reports.
Operation Safe Medicine -- the medical board unit that investigates lay people posing as health care providers -- was established in 2000 and was disbanded three years later because of budget problems.
According to the report, it was reactivated in 2009 following calls for public hearings about unlicensed providers offering laser and cosmetic procedures.
Since its reactivation, OSM investigations have led to six felony convictions and 18 misdemeanor convictions. During hearings next year, lawmakers likely will consider expanding OSM.
According to the report, OSM sent 61 cases to prosecutors for review during the fiscal year ending in June. The unit sent 31 cases to prosecutors in the previous fiscal year.
The report recommended that the medical board hire more staff to launch an OSM unit in Northern California and expand an existing OSM unit in Southern California.Jennifer Simoes -- chief of legislation for the medical board -- said, "The board believes that the OSM unit is imperative in order to protect the public from the actions of unlicensed practitioners," adding, "OSM staff has the specialized training and expertise necessary to address the continued proliferation of unlicensed cases" (Jewett, California Watch, 11/7). 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.