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CMA bill to reduce mental health stigma for physicians advances out of Senate Committee

July 03, 2024
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy 


Dayna Isaacs, M.D., (left) testifies in support of Assembly Bill 2164
Dayna Isaacs, M.D., (left) testifies in support of Assembly Bill 2164.

A bill sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) to improve mental health support for physicians advanced out of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on Monday.

Currently, the Medical Board of California licensure application for physicians and surgeons, including postgraduate training licensees, may inadvertently discourage physicians from seeking mental health services. Assembly Bill 2164, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, would reduce stigma for physicians seeking mental health care and help address burnout and depression within the medical community by eliminating the obligation for physicians to unnecessarily disclose their mental health conditions.

Dayna Isaacs, M.D., a Sacramento-based hematology/oncology fellow physician, represented CMA to testify in support of AB 2164 at the July 1, 2024, hearing of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

“Mental health is a complex and nuanced issue, and a blanket disclosure requirement fails to account for individual circumstances and needs,” said Dr. Isaacs. “Instead, it creates a culture of stigma and discrimination, further discouraging us from seeking help and perpetuating mental health disparities within the medical profession.”

“We care deeply for you and your families on the front lines, so I urge you to please do your part in taking care of us as well,” Dr. Isaacs added. “By promoting a culture of understanding and support to better address mental health challenges within the medical community, this bill will ensure the well-being of both physicians and patients.”

AB 2164 is part of CMA’s priority bill package for the 2024 legislative session. The bill recently received the support of the Medical Board of California. It will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

For an up-to-date look at the status of CMA’s sponsored and supported legislative package and other legislation impacting California patients, the profession and public health, check out CMA’s Legislative Hot List.

 

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