A law set to take effect on July 1, 2019, will have significant consequences for physicians and other health care workers in California. The Patient’s Right to Know Act, Senate Bill 1448, requires physicians and those who hold medical licenses to give notice to their patients if they are put on probation for specific reasons. Among the reasons requiring notice by doctors are drug abuse, sexual misconduct, inappropriate prescriptions, criminal convictions involving patient harm and alcohol abuse.

Prior to the law taking effect, doctors have been required to notify only insurance carriers when they are put on probation. Patients are generally unlikely to discover their doctor is on probation unless they search for the relevant license profile with the doctor’s board. After July 1, the Medical Board of California will require all doctors who are put on probation to get disclosures signed by patients. The disclosures must include the end date and length of probation, the probation status, any practice restrictions and direction to further information.

The law is set to apply to all people who hold healing arts licenses in California, including people who are licensed by the Medical Board of California, the Naturopathic Medicine Committee, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the Acupuncture Board. Those who are licensed by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California are also covered by the law.

Doctors and health care licensees who are impacted by the law might want to speak with a lawyer for advice regarding proper disclosure. The lawyers at Kevin Caluley, P.C. may be able to help medical licensees who face allegations or who are at risk of being put on probation. A lawyer might examine the facts of the case and look for evidence that negates or mitigates accusations by patients or others. Health care professionals may have legal options to avoid probation.