The state Senate this week rejected legislation that would have required doctors and other medical to notify their patients if they were on probation for serious infractions.
The bill would have applied to a tiny pool of practitioners – those disciplined for serious offenses such as gross negligence, sexual misconduct, substance abuse or a felony conviction related to patient care. It would have required such physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists to notify their patients in a one-page, “easy to read” notice that explained why they had been put on probation.
The bill’s supporters said consumers were ill-served by the Senate’s decision.
“Today’s vote means that most Californians will remain in the dark when their doctor is on probation for offenses that could jeopardize their health,” said Lisa McGiffert, manager of the Safe Patient Project at Consumers Union.
Opponents of the bill, including the California Medical Association, had argued that, as written, it would undermine physicians’ rights to due process and amount to a de facto suspension by severely restricting their ability to practice. They also noted that information about doctors’ offenses is already available on the internet.