PHYSICIAN LICENSING: CMA Pressure Scuttles Proposed Fee Hike
Under political pressure from the California Medical Association, the state Legislature removed a provision from a bill to hike professional fees that would have raised annual physician licensing fees by $45 in order to improve funding for investigation of doctors. Physicians opposed the measure "because of concerns that the state attorney general's office" -- responsible for prosecuting all administrative malpractice charges -- "is billing the Medical Board of California too much" for the service. However, consumer advocates charged that "the CMA was just looking for an excuse to limit oversight of its members and keep fees down." Ronald Joseph, executive director of the medical board, said he was "troubled by a legislative process that essentially gives doctors control over his agency's budget," the Sacramento Bee reports. According to Michael Abbott of the Senate Business and Professions Committee, the doctors' license fee measure was removed by state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles), who said from the start he would "only push for a fee increase if there was agreement among all the parties" (Bernstein, 8/1).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.