State May Be Double-Charging Some Health Care Professionals for Licensure

The state over-collects license fees on some health care professionals to the tune of an extra $1 million a year, according to Assembly member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) who introduced a bill this week to change the way those fees are collected.

AB 483, by Patterson and co-authored by Assembly member Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), is designed to end a practice of charging full initial license fees and duplicative renewal fees on birthdays. According to Patterson, some health care professionals pay all of their license fees upon graduation from school, and then are hit with renewal fees when their birthday comes around — even if that birthday is just weeks after paying the initial license fee, Patterson said.

“If someone gets licensed and pays in January, and if their birthday is in March, then they have to pay again for renewal [right away],” Patterson said. “These people are penalized almost a million dollars a year. That’s a significant over-collection.”

Patterson, a longtime member of the Assembly Committee on Health, raised this issue during the last session when he authored AB 1758, a similar bill that passed an Assembly floor vote but stalled in the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“We are resubmitting this one,” Patterson said. “The basic case was that the administration said they needed the million dollars. They were acting as if it’s their money, but it’s not theirs.”

This time around, Patterson said the bill will have a different outcome, in part because he has lined up support among a number of Democrats. “It’s a bipartisan bill,” he said of Gordon’s co-authorship. “We may not always have everything in common, but this one is so obviously a no-brainer.”

The long list of licenses affected includes acupuncturists, dental hygienists, dentists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physicians, surgeons, psychologists, veterinarians and veterinary technicians, Patterson said.

Patterson’s plan is to prorate the initial fee charges people pefore their birthdays.

First stop for the bill will be the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions.

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