DOCTOR’S DISCLOSURE ON PROBATION
On September 19, 2018, our former California Governor Brown approved Senate Bill No. 1448 into law. It is effective July 1, 2019.
Under the current laws, the Medical Board of California issues licenses to, as well as regulates and imposes discipline upon physicians and surgeons. Similarly, there is the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Naturopathic Medicine Committee, Acupuncture Board, and the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners that also perform the same functions for their respective applicants and licensees.
Beginning July 1, 2019, and pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 2228.1 et sec., each of the above professional licensees are required to disclose to each patient, their guardian or health care surrogate, before their first visit if they have been placed on probation on or after July 1, 2019, involving four(4) categories of misconduct, as follows: criminal conviction involving harm to patients; sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient; drug or alcohol abuse causing harm to a patient or when such use impairs the ability to practice safely; and inappropriate prescribing that results in patient harm and having been placed on probation for five or more years
The disclosure must set forth the following: (1) the licensee’s probation status; (2) the length of time of the probation; (3) the end date of the probation; (4) all of the practice restrictions or limitations placed on the licensee by the State Agency; (5) the Agency’s telephone number; and, set forth (6) how the patient can find further information regarding the probation on the Internet Web site
In addition, the respective licensees must obtain from each of their patients, or the patient’s guardian or health care surrogate, a separate and signed copy of the disclosure.
There are some exceptions, such as a situation in which a patient was not known to the doctor until immediately prior to the start of the visit, their guardian or health care surrogate, is unavailable, unconscious or unable to comprehend and sign the disclosure; the visit is unscheduled; occurs in an emergency room; an urgent care facility; and includes consultations in inpatient facilities.
This landmark new law commonly referred to the “Patient’s Right to Know Act” is the first in the nation to require doctors to tell their patients if they are on probation. It provides an additional means by which a patient can learn of their physician’s disciplinary record, if any.