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Enough is Enough

Last month, at an emotional in hearing in Sacramento and in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, we called for the state agency that oversees doctors to become a stronger regulator or to go out of business.  The Legislature has to renew the doctor-run medical board every ten years, and that’s this year. Sacramento apparently agrees with us.

After an emotional outpouring from families who lost their love ones to dangerous doctors, and thousands of emails from Californians, the chairmen of the Senate and Assembly Business and Professions Committees sent a message.  The Los Angeles Times is reporting that chairs Curren Price and Richard Gordon have written the medical board to state that they will not reauthorize the board unless it commits to major changes.

This is a big and important step toward strong patient protections in this state. The California Medical Association has for too long stymied real change for patients in the Capitol, and now Gordon and Price have upped the ante by acknowledging the depth of the problem for patients.

Three important areas need to be reformed, as Carmen Balber and I outlined in the San Francisco Chronicle op-ed:

A true overhaul of physician discipline would move complaint investigators into the attorney general's office to work hand in hand with prosecutors and would create a public-member majority on the medical board.

Real reform should also include mandatory random drug testing of high-risk surgeons and physicians - as is mandated now for bus drivers, college athletes and pilots.

Finally, the state's 38-year-old limits on the rights of injured patients need to be revisited, too. It's time for the public to take the power back for itself.

The movement is afoot, and we have taken another step toward greater patient safety. Stay tuned. Momentum is building but we still have a long march ahead.
Posted by Jamie Court, author of The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell and President of Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for taxpayers and consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The most obvious problem (0+ / 0-)

       Is that many state's take away a license to practice and the MD simply relocates and not all State licensing boards perform due diligence or actually release information about these physicians.
         I live in TX and our State Board rarely cares, unless the applicant is from a foreign country.   There was a case of a physician who had been kicked out of a couple of States and landed here and was eagerly approved - until he failed to save lives.

          I certainly don't have a complete Answer, but when a group fail to perform serious Due Diligence and other States can't or won't release information - then the physician should perhaps at best be given temporary license and cases reviewed / approved by other physicians before getting a clean bill of health.

          I don't know how State Medical Boards are established, paid or whatever...but there has to be a better way than just a "rubber stamp".

  •  HR for misrepresentation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Two of the articles linked in the diary are behind the LA Times paywall and the other was written by the author of this diary.  To understand what this is really about go to the previous two diaries from the same source on this subject, here and here. What is behind this is an effort to make it even more difficult for patients to obtain pain meds. They want to hunt down and harrass doctors who prescribe a lot of pain meds:

    All because the California Medical Association and the state medical board it controls won't agree to a $9 increase in physician license fees -- the cost of two cappuccinos -- for workers to find overprescribing doctors in a state database.
    never mind if the doctor in question is a pain specialist. They want all doctors to undergo mandatory random drug testing. Here's the author quoting herself like she's an authority:
    “Pilots must undergo mandatory random drug testing because they hold the lives of so many passengers in their hands. Physicians who operate on patients and are in a position to overprescribe or use narcotics themselves should undergo similar mandatory random drug tests,”
    The author is attempting to create and cash in on drug hysteria.  It's already hard enough for patients in chronic pain.

    I am more than willing to lay my TU status on the line and would HR this misleading dairy 100 times if I could.  

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