Most patients either call their doctor’s office or visit a website to make an appointment. We think about what health complaints we want to share, write down any questions we may have, and just hope that we don’t have to sit in the waiting room too long.

Is Your Doctor on Probation? Most Patients Don’t Know
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However, have you ever consider if your doctor ever had to undergo disciplinary action for sexual misconduct or for improperly prescribing a drug? After all, if they committed a crime like this and caught, wouldn’t their medical license be taken away? Not necessarily. Is your doctor on probation for misconduct?

The New California Law

It’s horrible that so many women have been assaulted, but a plethora of good has come from the female Olympic athletes who spoke out against their team doctor and the women who voiced their stories in the #MeToo movement.

One example of progress can be found in the new California law enacted in September 2018 called the Patient Right to Know Act. This law states that physicians are required to inform patients when they were put on probation for harming those under their care. There is already a public directory in place that shares this information, but most patients are unaware of its existence (if your doctor is in California, you can look for your doctor’s name here. For other states, conduct a Google search that says, “how can I find out if my doctor is on probation in {your state here}?” The website for your medical board should appear.)

With this new law in place, physicians on probation after July 1, 2019, are required to alert clients about their status before an appointment.

Doctors may be put on probation for the following reasons:

  • Sexual misconduct against a patient
  • Drug abuse that can be harmful to patients
  • A criminal conviction which resulted in harm to patients
  • Inappropriate prescribing resulting in patient harm

“It’s never made sense that doctors have had to tell their insurance companies, hospitals and clinics when they are put on probation, but not the people who are most at risk — their patients,” stated Lee Harris, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California.

According to the LA Times, surgeons, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists are also bound by the new law.

The relationship between you and your doctor is important and you need to feel safe, heard, and cared for to receive the optimum care that you deserve. If you don’t feel this way about your doctor, it may be time to search for a new one. Furthermore, this only affects California. We think other states should follow their lead.

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Sources
“California doctors must tell patients if put on probation for sexual misconduct under new law”. LA Times. Accessed October 31, 2018. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-doctor-probation-law-20180920-story.html
“New Law Requires Doctors on Probation to Disclose Discipline to Patients”. NBC San Diego. Accessed October 31, 2018. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/New-Law-Requires-Doctors-to-Disclose-Past-Discipline-to-Patients-493909811.html