Governor signs CMA bill to protect patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship


SACRAMENTO, APPROX – Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed Assembly Bill 1636, sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) and authored by Assembly Member Akilah Weber, MD, to uphold the integrity of the medical profession by ensuring that physicians who convicted of sexually assaulting a patient lose their license with no ability to recover.

“Nothing is more fundamental to the California Medical Association and the integrity of the medical profession than patient protection and the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship,” said CMA President Robert E. Wailes, MD. “We thank the Governor for signing AB 1636 Ensure the Medical Board of California has the tools necessary to protect patients and discourage any physician who violates a patient’s trust from practicing medicine.”

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“AB 1636 will maintain confidence in the medical profession by ensuring that physicians convicted of sexual misconduct automatically have their license revoked and cannot acquire or regain it,” Assembly Member Weber said. “The despicable behavior of abusing patients goes against everything doctors stand for and should not be tolerated. This legislation is essential to protect patients and the sacredness of the doctor-patient relationship.”

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In December 2021, the Los Angeles Times reported that at least 10 California doctors had regained their licenses following investigations into sexual misconduct in their patients. In all reported cases, physicians either had their licenses revoked or gave up their licences. These physicians subsequently applied to the Medical Board of California for reinstatement of the license. According to the published report, the Medical Association reinstated 10 out of 17 (59%) of the applicant doctors.

Currently, an individual can apply to the Medical Association for reinstatement three years after having their license revoked or surrendered for unprofessional conduct. The Chamber of Physicians can also stipulate in a revocation order that a doctor can apply for reinstatement after two years.

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This bill removes a medical board’s discretion to license or reinstate a physician or surgeon who has lost his license for sexual misconduct towards a patient. This bill would also deny medical and surgical clearance to an applicant who has been registered or is required to register as a sex offender.

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