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Santa Monica, CA – The California Medical Board should be disbanded and patient safety laws reformed to prevent any more deaths caused by dangerous doctors who harm patients but continue practicing without repercussions, said Consumer Watchdog today. A Senate committee will vote this afternoon on a bill proposed by Senator Curren Price and Assemblyman Richard Gordon that would vacate the Medical Board for its failure to address the patient safety crisis in California.
 
“Instead of protecting patients, the California Medical Board is a threat to public safety. It’s time to end the reign of incompetence at the California Medical Board that allows reckless and dangerous doctors to keep practicing. The legislature should vacate the Board and enact tough new patient safety laws in California,” said Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog.
 
The California Medical Board is up for review under California law that requires its performance be evaluated every ten years. Senator Price and Assemblyman Gordon have demanded the Medical Board commit to concrete reforms, or be disbanded. Their bill would require impartial Department of Justice prosecutors, not physicians employed by the Medical Board, to investigate medical malpractice and doctors who are a threat to patients.
 
A recent Los Angeles Times series exposed an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses by patients of reckless prescribers. 71 physicians were found to have at least three patients who had died from prescription overdoses, with one as high as 18 deaths, yet the Medical Board failed to even begin investigations in most cases.
 
In 1975 the medical lobby promised the legislature that, in return for limiting patients’ right to sue negligent doctors, the Medical Board would enact a strong regulatory system to ensure patient safety. The overprescribing crisis is only the most recent example of four decades of failure by the Board to live up to that promise to protect patients and discipline dangerous doctors, said Consumer Watchdog.  
 
Read Consumer Watchdog’s letters to Senator Price and Assemblyman Gordon calling for patient safety reform and for the Medical Board to be vacated: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrpricegordon2-19-13.pdf
 
Read the letter to the Medical Board: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrcw2-6-13_0.pdf
 
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Find us online at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org