Davis Administration Announces Support for Legislative Review of State Medical Board
Members of Gov. Gray Davis' (D) administration yesterday announced support for a "sweeping review" of the Medical Board of California, the Orange County Register reports. Dr. Bernard Alpert, president of the medical board and a Davis appointee, told four Senate and Assembly members yesterday in a joint legislative hearing that they should order a review of the board to determine whether members issued "sufficiently severe and timely" disciplinary actions against doctors. In addition, he said that lawmakers should determine whether the board should provide the public with more information on legal settlements between patients and physicians. "I would urge you to do a comprehensive review of the whole system," Alpert said. Kathleen Hamilton, head of the Office of Consumer Affairs, also recommended that lawmakers order quarterly reports on the medical board to determine the "adequateness of its response" to patient complaints. According to the Register, the recommendations offer the "strongest indication yet" that Davis supports "major changes" to the medical board (Howard, Orange County Register, 4/11). Lawmakers yesterday also discussed overhauling the medical board, including establishing a new office to address patient complaints and requiring additional disclosure of allegations against physicians. Lawmakers also may decide to dismantle the 19-member medical board and shift the board's authority to the Consumer Affairs Department. Lawmakers raised concerns about the medical board after a Register investigation found that the board only investigates about 20% of the 10,600 complaints received from patients each year and does not inform the public about most complaints (California Healthline, 4/10).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.