SAN BERNARDINO: Doctors Decry County Disclosure Proposal
Doctors in San Bernardino are opposing a measure that would require "physicians who have contracts with San Bernardino County to disclose their finances." The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that the proposal, which would impact "more than 90 physicians," was part of a "revision in the county's conflict of interest code" passed in November. County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger said, "These doctors are public employees who do their work by contract, and they have other contractual relationships." He called the reporting of physician finances "good business and good government." Attorneys for the doctors, however, argue that their clients should not be held to the same disclosure standards as "elected officials and other county officials." Attorney Frank Delaney said, "A lot of these doctors are not involved in the political decision-making process." Attorneys for the county doctors recommended a "transactional disclosure" approach under which the doctors "will be entrusted ... to voluntarily reveal conflicts or face revocation of their contracts." County Medical Center Director Chuck Jervis called this alternative "a good compromise to avoid a possible contentious battle."
Going To The Capital
County physicians' "concerns about privacy" prompted County Counsel Alan Marks to take the issue to Sacramento, the Daily Bulletin reports. County officials are now "awaiting an answer from the Fair Political Practices Commission" as to whether physicians holding county contracts will be required to disclose their financial records (Hughes, 3/15).