September 22, 2022
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Medical Board of California
SACRAMENTO, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1636 today, sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) and authored by Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D., to preserve the integrity of the medical profession by ensuring physicians convicted of sexual assault with a patient lose their license with no ability for it to be reinstated.
“Nothing is more fundamental to the California Medical Association and the integrity of the medical profession than protecting patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship,” said CMA President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. “We thank the Governor for signing AB 1636 to ensure the Medical Board of California has the tools they need to protect patients and keep any physician who violates a patient’s trust from practicing medicine.”
“AB 1636 will preserve confidence in the medical profession by ensuring physicians convicted of sexual misconduct would automatically have their license revoked and cannot acquire or have it reinstated,” said Assemblymember Weber. “The heinous behavior of abusing patients goes against everything physicians stand for and should not be tolerated. This legislation is essential to protect patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship.”
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.
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.
This bill removes the discretion from a medical board to give or reinstate a physician or surgeon who lost their license due to sexual misconduct with a patient. This bill would also deny a physician’s and surgeon’s certificate to an applicant who has been or is required to register as a sex offender.