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Weighing the pros and cons of a bill that would require CA doctors to disclose probation status




Dr. Jason Greenspan (L) and emergency room nurse Junizar Manansala care for a patient in the ER of Mission Community Hospital on January 28, 2009 in Panorama City, California.
Dr. Jason Greenspan (L) and emergency room nurse Junizar Manansala care for a patient in the ER of Mission Community Hospital on January 28, 2009 in Panorama City, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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If your doctor was on probation for an incident, say, involving medical malpractice, you’d probably want to know about it and maybe even want to change doctors, right?

But what about if your doctor was on probation for billing negligence? Would you feel the same way?

These are questions at the heart of proposed legislation that would require doctors to tell a patient at his or her first visit if they are on probation. SB 1448 would require doctors to give patients a form to sign that shows how long the probation period is and when it ends.

San Mateo Democrat Jerry Hill is the bill’s sponsor, and he says his bill will increase transparency between doctors and patients, as physicians are currently only required by law to notify their insurer and their hospital or clinic about probationary status.

Physicians and physician groups have already come out in opposition of the bill, saying that it would cause patients to go find another doctor before doing any research on the specific reasons for the probation. They add it may also put doctors in a position where they would rather fight allegations than settle in court and take probation, which could create a backlog in the probation system.

We debate the bill.

Guests:

Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog

Kavita Patel, M.D., nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; she’s also a practicing primary care physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine; she tweets @kavitapmd