Lawmakers are currently considering drastic changes to the oversight of
California’s doctors and medical facilities. They contend that the
Medical Board of California has been ineffective in protecting patients
by failing to discipline physician misconduct and neglecting oversight
of outpatient surgical centers.
The Medical Board of California was created in 1975 to provide tougher
physician oversight and discipline and counteract the Medical Injury Compensation
Reform Act’s limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits. Comprised
of both physicians and public members, the board is tasked with protecting
patients from dangerous doctors. However, it has largely failed to live
up to expectations.
Los Angeles Times reports, Public Citizen found that the board failed to discipline more
than 700 doctors who lost their privileges at California healthcare facilities,
including 102 who had been found to pose an “immediate threat”
to patients. As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury
Blog, the board has specifically been criticized for failing to crack
down on doctors who recklessly overprescribe painkillers.
“I’ve heard repeated stories of difficulty in sanctioning physicians.
It’s cumbersome and takes a long period of time,” said Sen.
Curren Price (D-Los Angeles), who co-authored the proposal with Assemblyman
Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park). “I don’t want anybody else
Given the board’s poor track record, legislators are considering
dissolving the board under the state’s sunset laws and starting
fresh on January 1 of next year. Under another proposal, the Medical Board
of California’s investigatory authority would be reassigned to the
attorney general’s office.