Legislative Committee to Draft Legislation to Reform State Medical Board
The Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee yesterday voted 4-1 to draft a bill that would require the Medical Board of California to report more information about doctors who have settled malpractice claims, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The bill (SB 1950), sponsored by Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), also would:
- Add two members to the 19-member medical board to represent patients;
- Appoint an individual to ensure that the board adequately disciplines "bad doctors";
- Establish penalties for health insurers and hospitals that do not report lawsuits and other problems with doctors; and
- Require lawyers to send copies of malpractice lawsuits filed against doctors to the medical board (Wallack, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2).
The committee also ordered the medical board to post "consumer-friendly" information online about patient complaints and malpractice settlements against doctors. In addition, the committee will require the board to send quarterly reports to the Department of Consumer Affairs about the board's investigation of patient complaints against doctors (Quach/Heisel, Orange County Register, 5/2). The medical board supports the reforms, but the California Medical Association said that the proposed disclosure requirements would "tarnish doctors' reputations" and "do little" to help patients. Health insurers also raised concerns that the proposed reforms would "discourage doctors from settling" malpractice claims, which they said would increase premiums (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2). 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.