January 13, 2022
The California Medical Association (CMA) has joined with Assemblymembers Akilah Weber, M.D., (D-La Mesa) and Al Murasuchi (D-Torrance) and Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) to sponsor bill (AB 1636) that ensures physicians and surgeons who have committed sexual misconduct with a patient or client are prohibited from acquiring or reinstating their license.
“The heinous behavior of abusing patients goes against everything physicians stand for and should not be tolerated,” said Assemblymember Weber. “This bill will protect patients from criminal sexual misconduct and ensure that any physician who violates a patient’s trust cannot be licensed in California.”
In December 2021, the Los Angeles Times reported that at least 10 California physicians had regained their licenses after investigations of sexual misconduct with their patients. In all reported instances, the physicians either had their licenses revoked or surrendered their licenses. These physicians subsequently petitioned the Medical Board of California for license reinstatement. According to the published report, the medical board reinstated 10 of 17 (59%) of the petitioning physicians.
“As a former prosecutor for the medical board, I worked on cases involving sexual assault and met many victims,” said Assemblymember Muratsuchi. “Medical doctors are entrusted with the care and well-being of their patients. Those who violate this trust should lose their license to practice. I look forward to working with Dr. Weber on this important bill to protect all patients from sexual assault.”
Currently, a person can petition the medical board for reinstatement three years after having their license revoked or surrendered for unprofessional conduct. The medical board can also specify in a revocation order that a physician may file a petition for reinstatement after two years .
AB 1636 would remove the ability of physicians to petition for reinstatement, ultimately ensuring physicians who commit this egregious conduct are appropriately disciplined for the integrity of the medical profession.
“Nothing is more fundamental to the California Medical Association and the integrity of the medical profession than patient safety,” said CMA President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. “We appreciate Dr. Weber’s leadership in introducing this important measure that will ensure the Medical Board of California has the tools they need to protect patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship.”