LICENSING FEES: Legislative Battle Between CMA, CMB Resumes
Today's San Diego Union-Tribune reports that California doctors and their oversight agency have renewed last year's legislative struggle over raising physicians' licensing fees to subsidize the investigation of allegedly incompetent doctors. The California Medical Board is sponsoring Assemblywoman Susan Davis' (D-San Diego) AB 265, which would mandate a $45 annual fee increase for doctors' licenses. CMB Executive Director Ron Joseph said the revenue generated by that increase "would allow him to hire 15 more investigators," and reduce the average time it takes to investigate a case from 280 days to 180 days. But the California Medical Association supports a rival bill -- state Sen. Kevin Murray's (D-Los Angeles) SB 1045 -- which would amend the state's laws concerning physician discipline in exchange for a fee increase. CMA lobbyist Bob McElderry said, "We're agreeing to a fee increase. The CMA feels it should have a voice over what happens to the money and which bad doctors should be taken off the streets." SB 1045 sets no specific fee increase, but McElderry said the CMA's entire membership will vote next month on how large it should be. The association wants to curtail the regulatory power of the agency, which McElderry calls "overzealous" (Ainsworth, 3/22).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.