SACRAMENTO (AP) — California doctors will soon have to tell patients if they are on probation for sexual misconduct or other wrongdoing under a new law.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced he signed the first-in-the-nation legislation Wednesday.
Patients can already find information online about which doctors are on probation if they know where to look. But the new law will force doctors to tell patients their probation status and basic details of the terms of their probation.
It will apply to doctors placed on probation after July 1, 2019, for wrongdoing causing patient harm, including sexual misconduct, drug abuse, criminal convictions and inappropriate prescribing.
“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,” Consumer Attorneys of California President Lee Harris said in a statement. “Californians have a right to know if their doctor is on probation for serious misconduct.”
Olympians including gymnast Jordyn Wieber campaigned for the bill in the wake of the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar has admitted to sexually abusing women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. The former sports doctor — who worked for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, the organization responsible for training Olympians — has been sentenced to decades in prison.
Previous versions of the bill failed in the Legislature the past two years. The measure’s author, Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo, credited the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment with helping his bill gain traction this year. Hill and other supporters say the law will help protect women from being abused by doctors.
Some doctors groups opposed the bill, arguing it would be unfair and overly burdensome on doctors’ time.