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Under new law, medical board reveals some doctor discipline, hides rest

Under new law, medical board reveals some doctor discipline, hides rest

Picture of William Heisel

The Medical Board of California is about to redecorate. And, depending on which room you wander into, you may find yourself really pleased or really ticked off.

Let me explain.

In 2003, the California Medical Association won a huge victory in the state by persuading legislators to force the medical board to remove public records from its online database after 10 years. So, if a doctor’s actions resulted in the death of a patient – or two, or three – and the medical board punished that doctor, 10 years later, it was as if those deaths had never happened, according to the database. The families would certainly remember the deaths. But the doctor would be free to pursue a medical career with that bit of unseemly business erased.

This resulted in the medical board removing public records from its online database at a pace of more than 30 records per month, according to Kathy Robertson at the Sacramento Business Journal.

Patient safety advocates didn’t like this. And they made various efforts over the years to reverse the law. None succeeded until this year when the medical board proposed a change in the rules. Assembly Bill 1886 was sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), passed and signed by the governor. The new rules will go into effect when the calendar turns to 2015.

But the changes will come with compromises.

To make the California Medical Association happy, the bill was modified to exclude a variety of records from the online database. Some records will stay on the website and others will now come off. The result is that a physician’s entire disciplinary history will not be fully disclosed indefinitely in many cases.

Here’s the breakdown:

These actions against a physician will be posted online indefinitely:

  • Any final revocations, suspensions, or surrenders -- or other equivalent actions taken by another state — including the related accusation.
  • Probation or other equivalent action ordered by the board or another state, including the related accusation.
  • Felony convictions.
  • Misdemeanor convictions resulting in a disciplinary action or accusation that is not subsequently withdrawn or dismissed.
  • Civil judgments issued in any amount, whether or not vacated by a settlement after entry of the judgment, that were not reversed on appeal “for a claim or action for damages for death or personal injury caused by the physician and surgeon’s negligence, error, or omission in practice, or by his or her rendering of unauthorized professional services.”
  • Arbitration awards issued in any amount, “for a claim or action for damages for death or personal injury caused by the physician and surgeon’s negligence, error, or omission in practice, or by his or her rendering of unauthorized professional services.”
  • Revocation or termination of hospital staff privileges for medical disciplinary cause or reason, as long as the revocation remains in effect.

These actions will be posted online for 10 years:

  • Public letters of reprimand issued by the board or another state, including the related accusation.
  • Hospital staff privileges that have been revoked or terminated but later restored.

These actions will be posted online for five years:

  • Malpractice settlements in the amount of $30,000 or more “of any claim or action for damages for death or personal injury caused by the physician and surgeon’s negligence, error, or omission in practice, or by his or her rendering of unauthorized professional services.” Note that these only will be posted if a physician who is considered to be in the “high risk” category has four or more settlements in five years, or if a physician in the “low risk” category has three or more settlements. That’s a very high bar, and I will write about that in future posts.

These actions will be posted online for three years:

  • Citations issued within the last three years that have been resolved by payment of the administrative fine or compliance with the order of abatement.
These actions will be posted online only during the time when, as the law states, “the licensee is actively subjected”:

  • Temporary restraining orders.
  • Interim suspension orders.
  • Revocations, suspensions, probations, or limitations on practice ordered by the board or the board of another state.
  • Current accusations filed by the attorney general.
  • Citations issued that have not been resolved or appealed within 30 days.

As you can see, even with these new rules, there is still a lot of information that will disappear from public view. The new rules undoubtedly will result in new attempts by physicians and their attorneys to negotiate with hospitals, plaintiffs, and the medical board in ways that will allow them to avoid disclosure. For example, the mere fact that hospital peer review actions have been subject to disclosure has discouraged hospitals from conducting peer review and reporting those actions to the board.

I’ll write more about some of the potential problems with the new law in my next post.

Photo by opensource.com via Flickr.

Next post:

New medical board rules will allow doctors’ misdeeds to go unnoticed


Comments

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There's a reason for this you may not have thought about and that is that this information is mined by health insurance companies and anything that is "scored" as a negative can result with the insurer holding it against them with reimbursements. We have big problem too with insurance contracts right now too as a patient doctor maybe be in network, but the hospital they practice at is not. I think this is what drives this right nere. Go bak and blame insurers on how they use data. The Secret Scoring of America's doctors...you might want to read this...in the OC many doctors are now getting paid at rates less than Medicare due to complex contracts and that does not make them happy.

http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-secret-scoring-of-americas.html

Pay particular attention to the amount of administrative ratio to the number of doctors too in the image. Insurers are driving themselves off the cliff anyway with so much non relevant data. It's all about the data and the money and don't forget government agencies can make money selling their data too.

http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/09/health-insurance-business-is-driv...

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http://www2.mbc.ca.gov/BreezePDL/document.aspx?path=%5cDIDOCS%5c20160906...

Check out this lawsuit against Dr. Thomas S Powers of Open Care Medical Clinic in Santa Ana. He is currently operating at 2112 East 4th St. Suite 100, Santa Ana CA 92705

Medical board is finally cracking down. Good for them!

This is an official petition to revoke license made by the executive director of the medical board of california and the attorney general of California.

This doctor is also on the FTB list of top 500 Tax delinquent accounts, check here: https://www.ftb.ca.gov/aboutFTB/Delinquent_Taxpayers.shtml

According to state law "The Medical Board of California is required to deny an application for licensure and to suspend the license/certificate/registration of any applicant or licensee who has outstanding tax obligations due to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) or the State Board of Equalization (BOE) and appears on either the FTB or BOE's certified lists of top 500 tax delinquencies over $100,000. (AB 1424, Perea, Chapter 455, Statutes of 2011)".

He has been delinquent since 2006 and is operating illegally according to state law.

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