September 11, 2013
In a victory for the California Medical Association (CMA), SB 670 yesterday failed passage on the Assembly Floor. CMA opposed a provision in the bill that would have given the Medical Board of California the authority to limit a physician’s ability to prescribe Schedule II, III and IV drugs when there was an allegation of inappropriate prescribing in violation of the Medical Practice Act and when there was risk of imminent public harm. The medical board would have been able to limit a physician’s prescribing authority based simply on "probable cause" that a violation occurred, a precedent-setting lowering of the standard of evidence for discipline against a physician.
After the bill failed to get off the Assembly Floor, the author agreed to delete the provisions of the bill that established the new disciplinary authority. With this major deletion, the bill now gives the board a path to access medical records in cases where a patient has died and the next of kin cannot be found. It would also change the definition of unprofessional conduct for the repeated failure to meet with the medical board during an investigation.
With the amendments, CMA now supports SB 670. The amended bill is now awaiting a vote on the Assembly Floor.
Thank you to all of you who contacted legislators and urged them to vote down the previous language.