Bill Requiring Doctor Discipline Disclosure Fails - NBC Southern California
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Bill Requiring Doctor Discipline Disclosure Fails

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    More than 110,000 doctors are licensed in California. One California senator says about 600 are on probation, Los Angeles has the most with 164. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

    (Published Friday, Sept. 15, 2017)

    There are a handful of physicians in California who have been put on probation for serious offenses like drug abuse or sexual misconduct.

    More than 110,000 doctors are licensed in California. One California senator says about 600 are on probation, Los Angeles has the most with 164. But one legislator tried to make it a requirement for doctors to tell their patients if they have been in trouble, but that language in a bill up for a vote Friday was removed.

    Eric Andrist lost his sister Cali to what he says were medical errors. He says not enough is being done to discipline bad doctors. Andrist testified in front of the State Medical Board which includes several doctors.

    The board is in charge of disciplinary action and looking into complaints against physicians.

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    "We can't have doctors policing doctors," Andrist said. "The conflict of interest is just too great."

    Every four years the medical board must have their authority renewed by the legislature. It is an opportunity for lawmakers to evaluate whether the board is doing the job of protecting patients.

    California Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, tried to add language to legislation requiring doctors to tell patients if they are on probation or have been disciplined by the board.

    "At the end of the day they're there for consumer and patient protection," he said.

    He says the California Medical Association, which represents 43,000 doctors across the state, lobbied to have it removed.

    "It's absolutely ludicrous that this provision's been taken out of the bill," Andrist said.

    The group declined to be interviewed, but has repeatedly argued that forcing doctors to tell their patients about their probation status would unfairly put doctors out of business without giving them due process.

    Gov. Jerry Brown has the final say. He has until Oct. 15 to sign the legislation.

    To see if your doctor has been disciplined or is on probation, you have to look them up on the Medical Board's website.