By Erik Goldman, Editor
As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh faced off in the Senate, the state of California quietly passed a major piece of legislation on sexual misconduct, one that could provide patients with far greater protection against predatory physicians.
The Patient's Right to Know Act will require any California physician placed on probation for sexual wrongdoings to disclose this fact to any and all patients before an appointment.
Prior to this new rule, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in late September, physician probations--for whatever reason--were already public information: the Medical Board of California posts all such disciplinary actions in an online registry.
But it was up to a patient to: a) find out about the registry; and b) take action to look up her physician prior to any medical consultation. The reality is that few patients even knew this database existed, and those who did seek the information had to contend with an online system that was far from user-friendly.
Under the new law, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, any physician placed on probation after that date must proactively inform patients of the disciplinary action prior to booking an appointment. The rule emphasizes sexual misconduct, but also applies to probation for drug abuse, inappropriate prescribing, or any criminal activity that could potentially harm patients.