Lawmakers Defend Sex-Abusing, Drug-Addicted, Criminal Doctors

A shameless act of pandering to a well-heeled special interest by members of a state Assembly committee on Tuesday will end up protecting sex abusing, drug addicted and criminally convicted doctors.

Who's the powerful interest that's lobbying to protect criminal and dangerous doctors? It's the California Medical Association, and at their bidding Chairman Evan Low and his Assembly Business & Professions committee forced hostile amendments that stopped a bill that would have informed patients if their doctors are on probation for the most egregious offenses.  Low has taken at least $14,500 in campaign contributions from the CMA according to Update: CMA and other physician groups have contributed $38,400 to Low over the last two election cycles, as reported by the Bay Area News Group.

Even the California Medical Board, the oversight agency for doctors, has agreed that patients deserve to know if their doctor is on probation in those cases involving sexual misconduct, criminal conviction involving the practice of medicine, drug or alcohol abuse during practice, repeat offenders, and violations where the board believes notification is appropriate.

The author of the bill, Senator Jerry Hill, refused to sell out patients and rejected the hostile amendments, and Assemblymembers refused to pass the bill containing the consumer protection provisions.

That action means the Medical Board is closer than it has ever been to closing its doors. SB 798 is the “sunset” legislation required to renew the Medical Board’s charter for another four years. Requiring the Board’s charter to be renewed periodically is a requirement set to ensure the Legislature keep an eye on the Board’s operations and whether it is fulfilling its consumer protection mission. If the sunset legislation does not pass, the Board’s charter is not renewed and it will shut down at the end of this year.

The proposal, SB 798, would require only about one-third of the average 124 doctors who are placed on probation each year to notify their patients.

Take, for example, the case of Tina Minasian, who was left permanently mutilated and in pain after her doctor botched her surgery. Tina learned only after the fact that her doctor had been on probation for a substance abuse problem, including a DUI arrest as he was on his way to work at the hospital. The doctor’s license was ultimately revoked, but only after he harmed many more patients who had no idea of his dangerous history.

Then there is Dr. Anthony Riley, currently on probation for stealing his patients' drugs while on duty. Or Dr. Everett Allan, on probation for using cocaine on the job. Doctors shouldn't be able to hide this from their patients.

The CMA is peddling a line that doctors’ due process rights will be violated if they have to inform patients about their probation. That's just garbage they dreamed up to give members some kind of cover for siding with criminals. Every single disciplinary action that results in a doctor's probation requires either an adjudication of the case, or a doctors’ consent to not contest the charges. Any doctor can plead their case instead of agreeing to probation. The bill preserves those due process rights for doctors.

This week, Assemblymember Low and his committee stood up for the worst of the worst. Patients deserve better.

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