California Gets New Rules Covering Medical Malpractice Payments. Here’s What Will Change

By Melody Gutierrez, LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 23, 2022

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-23/california-new-rule…

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Monday to raise the amount of money that patients can receive in medical malpractice cases, increasing pain and suffering payments for the first time since lawmakers placed a cap on monetary damages nearly five decades ago. 

California To Raise Medical Malpractice Caps After 47 Years

By Victoria Colliver, POLITICO PRO

May 23, 2022

Gavin Newsom on Monday signed a bill to update California's medical malpractice damage cap, ending a long-fought battle to adjust the pain-and-suffering limit that has remained unchanged for 47 years.

"After decades on negotiations, legislators, patient groups, and medical professionals have reached a consensus that protects patients and the stability of our health care system," Newsom said in a statement following the bill's signing, which was not public. 

KNX 1070 AM Los Angeles, CA: Consumer Advocates Applaud Newsom Signing Bill Raising Medical Malpractice Damages Cap in California

By Emily Valdez, KNX 1070 AM Los Angeles, CA

May 22, 2022

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment. 

Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog, applauding Governor Newsom signing AB 35 which will raise the medical malpractice damages cap in California. 

Advocates and Victims' Families Look Forward To Gov. Newsom Signing Med Mal Cap Reform Bill

By Staff Reports, KCRW 89.9FM Santa Monica, CA

May 19, 2022

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio news broadcast segment.

Advocates and victims' families look forward to Governor Newsom signing AB 35 into law to raise the cap on medical malpractice damages in California after nearly 50 years. 

KGET NBC TV-17 Bakersfield, CA: May Proclaimed Latina Maternal Health Awareness Month

Kern County Board of Supervisors Proclaims May 2022 as Latina Maternal Health Awareness Month on Mexican Mother’s Day

Kern County, CA – Supervisor Leticia Perez and the Kern County Board of Supervisors will proclaim May 2022 to be Latina Maternal Health Awareness Month at their May 10th meeting at 9:00 am on Mexican Mother’s Day.

Column: Everyone Wins In Compromise To Increase Malpractice Payouts — Especially Victims

Column by George Skelton, LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 9, 2022

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-09/skelton-malpractice…

SACRAMENTO — It’s being called the Sacramento equivalent of the Berlin Wall falling. Or a Middle East peace pact.

Long-warring enemies have suddenly negotiated a historic compromise over how much money medical malpractice victims can be awarded for pain and suffering.

Sacramento Reaches MICRA Deal

By Victoria Colliver, POLITICO PRO

April 27, 2022

California’s nearly 50-year-old medical malpractice compensation limits may soon be increased as part of a deal announced Wednesday that could end a decadeslong fight that’s pitted doctors and insurance companies against patients and families seeking justice in the courtroom for wrongful injuries or deaths.

Patients Embrace Legislative Deal to Update Malpractice Cap, Forestall Ballot Fight on Fairness for Injured Patients Act in November

Los Angeles, CA - The California families harmed by medical negligence who launched the Patients for Fairness coalition (http://www.patientsforfairness.org) responded favorably to news of a potential legislative deal to raise the 47 year old cap on medical malpractice damages. The families said the legislation would eliminate the need for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act to go before voters in November 2022.

California’s Malpractice Payouts Would Rise Under A Deal To Avoid A Costly Ballot Fight

By Melody Gutierrez, LOS ANGELES TIMES

April 27, 2022

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-04-27/california-malpract…

SACRAMENTO — Cash payments in California medical malpractice cases would go up for the first time in nearly five decades under a deal between rival interest groups announced Wednesday that avoids a costly battle at the ballot box in November. 

New Lawsuit Against SD Plastic Surgeon Charged In Patient's Death

By Jennifer Kastner, KGTV ABC TV-10 San Diego, CA

April 7, 2022

https://www.10news.com/news/team-10/new-lawsuit-against-sd-plastic-surg…

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A Bonita plastic surgeon who's charged with involuntary manslaughter in a patient's death is coming under fire again. This time it's over a different patient. He's still allowed to practice without notifying patients.

Demi Dominguez’s Mother Calls for California Medical Board Reform

By Jose Franco, KGET NBC-TV, Bakersfield, CA

February 24, 2022

https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/demi-dominguezs-mother-calls-for-c…

LOS ANGELES — Bakersfield’s Tracy Dominguez is calling for reform of the Medical Board of California.

Domnguez lost her daughter, Demi Dominguez and premature grandson Malakhi in 2019, due to Demi’s undiagnosed pre-eclampsia.

KNX 1070 AM Los Angeles, CA: Victims of Medical Malpractice Need More Rights In California, Say Advocates

By Craig Fiegner, KNX 1070 AM Los Angeles, CA

February 24, 2022

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment.

Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog says victims of medical malpractice need an independent Medical Board in California, not controlled by doctors as it currently stands.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On Lawmakers to Enact Patient Bill of Rights to Reform Medical Board, Doctor Accountability in California

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog called on legislative leaders to enact a Patient Bill of Rights to reform physician oversight and accountability in California. The nonprofit consumer advocacy organization said reform proposals recently floated by the Medical Board of California are good start, but “do not go far enough to prioritize the problems patients, not the Board’s regulators, suffer because of California’s failed systems of physician oversight.”

Insurance Companies Put Up Lion’s Share of $43 Million Raised by the Medical Insurance Complex to Oppose Fairness for Injured Patients Act

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance companies who profit by denying fair compensation to patients injured or killed by medical malpractice have put up $27.8 million to oppose the Fairness for Injured Patients Act. Insurance money accounts for two-thirds of the $43.8 million raised to oppose the Fairness Act, a measure that seeks to restore accountability for injured patients on the November 2022 California ballot.  

Medical Board and Malpractice Cap Deny Women Who Are Sexually Assaulted and Abused by Doctors Justice

Stockton, CA -- Women whose doctors sexually abuse and assault them are denied justice both by the Medical Board of California, as a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed this week, and in the courts because of the 1975 law limiting legal accountability for doctors that is the target of the Fairness for Injured Patients Act to be voted on in November, said Consumer Watchdog today.
 

Former Doctor Of Demi Dominguez Agrees To Surrender Medical License

By David Kaplan, BAKERSFIELD NOW

December 16, 2021

https://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/former-doctor-of-demi-dominguez-a…

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield OB-GYN has agreed to surrender his license to the Medical Board of California. This comes after being accused of medical negligence in the death of 23-year-old Demi Dominguez. 

Medical Board of California Allows Bakersfield Doctor To Surrender His License and Avoid License Revocation Hearing Into Young Mother’s Death

Bakersfield, CA – The Medical Board of California has allowed a 25-year repeat offender doctor to surrender his license on a technicality and not face charges before an administrative law judge in an accusation based on the death of a local mother.  
 

Former Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner Endorses Fairness for Injured Patients Act; Calls for Legislative Compromise

Sacramento, CA  -- Steve Poizner, former Insurance Commissioner of California, endorsed the Fairness for Injured Patients Act to update California’s cap on quality of life and survivor damages for patients harmed by medical negligence.

Doctor Opposed To Fairness Act Calls Compensation for Permanent Disability and Death “Very Nebulous”; Families Call For Enactment

Los Angeles, CA – Two parents of children injured by medical negligence called out a doctor opposing the Fairness For Injured Patients Act because they were “deeply offended” by his “comment that compensation for death or lifelong harm is capped under California’s nearly 50 year old law because such losses are ‘very nebulous.’”

Scott Olsen and Tammy Smick wrote Dr. Mark Alson that his comment, “misstates the law and is disrespectful of families across the state and the hardships they face because of the cap.”  

Families Fighting For Fairness Act Say Medical Board Failure As Outlined by Whistleblower Makes Case For Ballot Measure To Change 1975 Medical Negligence Law

Los Angeles, CA -- Families of injured patients whose medical negligence cases have been disregarded by the California medical board today voiced their support for the public member of the board who is blowing the whistle on the board’s failure to protect patients, as outlined in today’s LA Times report. 
 

Coalition Forms To Champion Medical Negligence Cap Initiative

By Andrew Sheeler, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT

November 11, 2021

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article25…

In 2022, California voters will decide whether to raise the $250,000 cap on payouts in medical negligence lawsuit payouts, indexing it for inflation and empowering judges and juries to decide compensation in cases involving catastrophic injury or death.

Coalition of Medical Negligence Survivors Launches New Storytelling Website, PatientsForFairness.org, Backs Patient Safety Initiative On California Ballot One Year From Today

Los Angeles, CA -- A coalition of patients and families harmed by medical negligence launched a new website today – www.PatientsForFairness.org – one year before Election Day 2022 when Californians will vote on a ballot measure to restore the rights of medical negligence victims. 
 

Consumer Watchdog Debuts Digital Ofrenda (Altar) for Dia de los Muertos Celebrating the Lives of Californians Lost to Medical Negligence

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog is debuting a digital ofrenda (altar) celebrating the lives of Californians who died due to medical negligence today and tomorrow in recognition of Dia de los Muertos.  Advocate families that span across California recorded videos sharing a glimpse into the lives of their lost loved ones.  New videos and family photos personalized by family members will be shared on Consumer Watchdog’s social media platforms every half hour on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

“Never Events” Documentary Makes Streaming Debut This Week Showcasing Lives Destroyed by Unjust Medical Negligence Cap and Medical Harm

Los Angeles, CA – The must-see documentary “Never Events,” that follows the journey of multiple families who fought for change after suffering lifelong harm or loss due to medical negligence, debuts this week on Amazon, Apple TV and other streaming services. The documentary exposes the trauma caused by medical negligence, the third leading cause of death in America, and California’s cap on compensation for patients who are harmed that prevents them from getting justice or accountability for their loss. 



Families Harmed By Medical Negligence To Testify Doctor-Run Medical Board Is Not Protecting the Public from Harm, Call for Public Member-Majority Board

Sacramento, CA – Consumer Watchdog and a dozen Fairness for Injured Patients campaign advocates who were harmed by medical negligence and failed by the Medical Board of California will call on the legislature to turn control of the doctor-run Board over to the public, in testimony on Friday.  

They will support recommendations before the Legislature’s sunset review committee to add two public members to the board, which has 8 doctor members and just 7 public seats, 2 of which are currently vacant.

Racial Justice Groups Endorse Fairness Act to Reform Medical Negligence Law, Call on Governor Newsom and Legislature to Act

Manteca, CA -- A coalition of Central Valley racial justice groups announced their endorsement of the Fairness for Injured Patients Act, the 2022 ballot initiative to update California’s discriminatory cap on compensation for patients harmed by medical negligence. 
 

History of Positions Undermining Patient Safety Disqualify Former Leaders of Doctors’ Lobby For Seats on CA Medical Board, Patients Harmed by Medical Negligence to Testify

Sacramento, CA – Two former leaders of the California Medical Association should be rejected as nominees to the Medical Board of California for their records opposing common sense patient safety reforms, Consumer Watchdog will testify at their confirmation hearing today.

The Senate Rules Committee hearing begins at 1:30PM and can be viewed on Senate TV at: https://www.senate.ca.gov/

“I Can’t Breathe” Said Black Manteca Man Killed by Medical Negligence at Kaiser Hospital

Manteca, CA – The family of Shawn Washington, a 29-year-old Black man killed by medical negligence at Kaiser Manteca Medical Center, called on the Medical Board of California and the California Department of Public Health to hold his medical providers, and the hospital where he died, accountable. His family has joined patients across the state to support the Fairness for Injured Patients Act, a 2022 ballot measure to ensure equal justice for families harmed by medical negligence.

New Website & Interactive Map Tells the Stories of Medical Negligence Victims Denied Justice Representing Every CA State Senate District on World Patient Safety Day

Los Angeles, CA - As California courts and voters confront the injustice of the state’s 45-year-old limits on the rights of medical negligence victims, Consumer Watchdog celebrates World Patient Safety Day on Sept. 17th with the launch of a new website featuring video, photos and an interactive map to tell the stories of injured patients who are fighting for change. They are the force behind the Fairness for Patients Act on the November 2022 California ballot.

California’s Medical Malpractice Cap Vote Moved to 2022 Ballot

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

July 22, 2020

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2020/07/22/576522.htm

Californians will have to wait until the pandemic ends to vote on an initiative to change the state’s medical malpractice cap.

Proponents of a measure to change California’s medical malpractice cap announced today they have reportedly collected 900,000 signatures, enough to qualify the initiative for the November 2022 ballot.

Survivors of Medical Negligence Qualify Ballot Initiative for 2022 Election

Los Angeles, CA — Having collected 900,000 signatures and raised over $4 million, the survivors of medical negligence behind a California ballot measure to adjust California’s 45-year-old cap on quality of life and survivor damages announced today that the Secretary of State has certified the initiative for the November 2022 ballot.
 

A Call To Action To Hold Medical Board Accountable For Death Of 23-Year-Old Demi Dominguez

By Elizabeth Christian, BAKERSFIELD NOW

June 20, 2020

https://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/a-call-to-action-to-hold-medical-…

Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX)- A tragic case that happened a year ago claimed the life of 23-year-old Demi Dominguez. Dominguez gave birth to a baby boy and later bled to death. The baby was declared brain dead and he didn't survive either.

Medical Board of California Allows Doctor Responsible for the Death and Injury of Eight Bakersfield Patients to Keep Medical License

Bakersfield, CA – The Medical Board of California’s decision to allow Dr. Arthur Park to continue practicing, despite a 20-year track record of negligence causing catastrophic injuries and death in the Bakersfield community, will unconscionably place even more patients at risk, said Consumer Watchdog today. The Medical Board signed a settlement deal with Dr. Park last week which has granted him five years of probation and the ability to continue to practice with restrictions.

Coronavirus Forces California Initiative Backers To Hold Off Until 2022

By John Wildermuth, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE 

April 30, 2020

https://www.msn.com/en-us/Travel/news/coronavirus-forces-california-ini…

Worried about the effect the coronavirus pandemic may have on the November elections, backers will delay until 2022 a California initiative that would raise the dollar limit for damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

California Battle On Malpractice Caps Delayed To 2022 Ballot

By Staff Writers, ASSOCIATED PRESS

April 30, 2020

https://www.thehour.com/news/article/California-battle-on-malpractice-c…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has delayed by two years what likely would have been one of the most expensive California ballot battles leading up to this November's election, initiative supporters said Thursday.

Joe Allen, Corona

Joe Allen is a U.S. Army veteran who proudly served our country as a Specialist/Combat Engineer in the Kosovo conflict. In civilian terms, Joe blew things up. Honorably discharged after three years of service, he went on to build a successful career in sales.

Consumer Watchdog Demands that Medical Board of California Immediately Suspend Bakersfield Doctor’s Medical License: Bakersfield Patients at Risk

Bakersfield, CA – Consumer Watchdog called on the Medical Board of California to fulfill its mission to protect health care consumers and immediately suspend the license of Bakersfield physician Dr. Jason Helliwell.

Family of Bakersfield Mother of Four Holds Car Wash to Raise Funds for Her Funeral; Discovers Her Doctor Has a History of Arrests and Negligence

Bakersfield, CA – The family of 28-year-old Sabrina De La Rosa should be celebrating the birth of her baby boy Jaxx with Sabrina surrounded by her loving friends and family.  Instead, they are holding fundraisers to raise money to hold memorial services for the young mother of four.  Nine months pregnant De La Rosa was taken to Memorial Hospital – Bakersfield with labor pains.   Her family anxiously awaited the arrival of her child.  Instead, her family was left in shock when Baby Jaxx was brought into the world without his mother Sabrina to care for him.

Consumer Watchdog Campaign: Supporters of the Fairness for Injured Patients Initiative Announce 307,000 Signatures Collected

Los Angeles, CA -- Supporters of the Fairness for Injured Patients Act announced today that in just five weeks they have gathered 307,000 of the petition signatures needed to qualify the initiative measure for the November 2020 ballot. The group also notified the Secretary of State that they have passed the 25% signature threshold, triggering a requirement that the Legislature hold a public hearing about the measure.

CA’s $250,000 Compensation Cap Set in 1975 is Most Regressive in America

20 states plus Washington, DC have no cap on noneconomic damages.

      - These include progressive states such as New York, Washington, and Connecticut as well as conservative states like Alabama, Wyoming, and Kentucky.

California is 1 of just 3 states with a cap as low as $250,000 with no exceptions. $250,000 is the lowest cap in the country. (Montana and Texas are the other two)

In just 2019, 3 states either overturned their caps or adjusted them for inflation.

Medical Negligence Survivors Launch Nov 2020 Ballot Measure Signature Drive For Proposal To Raise 1975 Compensation Cap That Was Never Adjusted

Sacramento, CA -- Medical negligence survivors and advocates for a proposed ballot measure launched a petition signature drive for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA), which will adjust the compensation cap imposed on injured patients by Sacramento politicians in 1975 that has never been adjusted.   

Juries are not told of the cap and injured patients cannot receive more than $250,000 for their quality of life and wrongful-death survivor damages, no matter how serious the injury or severe the medical negligence.

Families of Injured Patients File California Ballot Measure To Adjust $250,000 Maximum Compensation Cap Set by Politicians In 1975 That Has Never Been Updated

Sacramento, CA -- The father of a 29-year-old man disabled for life by medical negligence when he was two and the parents of a young girl with life-long disabilities, who await their daughter’s medical negligence trial, filed the Fairness for Injured Patients Act  (FIPA) today, a proposed initiative for the November 2020 ballot. 

Patient Safety Advocates Say Overdose Death Investigations Critical To Protecting Patients and Reducing Dangerous Opioid Overprescribing

Milpitas, CA – Patient safety advocates testified to the Medical Board of California today that its initiative to investigate excessive prescribing by doctors involved in prescription overdose deaths is critical to state efforts to end the opioid overdose epidemic.

First-in-Nation Bill To End Secrecy Around Doctor Sexual Assault and Other Patient Harm Passes CA Legislature

Sacramento, CA – California would be the first state in the nation to mandate doctors tell their patients when they are disciplined for sexual assault or other patient harm under legislation that passed the Assembly and Senate today and goes to Governor Brown's desk.

​​​​​​​New Medical Board App Falls Short Of the In-Person Disclosure of Physician Misconduct That Patients Deserve, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA – A new app released by the Medical Board of California today cannot replace a simple in-person disclosure as the best way to notify patients if their doctor has been disciplined for causing patient harm, said Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On Attorney General To Investigate Fresno Hospital Accused Of Covering Up Doctor’s Negligence

Los Angeles, CA – The state must launch an immediate investigation into a Fresno hospital and its executives accused by whistleblowers of covering up years of negligence and substance abuse by a cardiac surgeon who was a significant source of revenue for the hospital, Consumer Watchdog wrote in a letter sent to the Attorney General and President of the state Medical Board yesterday. 

Bill To End Silence About Doctor Sexual Assault and Other Patient Harm Advances

Sacramento, CA – Legislation to lift the veil of secrecy around physician sexual assault and other patient harm today passed its final policy committee, the Assembly Business & Professions Committee, with a 15 – 1 vote. Survivors of physician sexual assault, including Olympic and Michigan State University athletes abused by team doctor Larry Nassar, and public interest advocates including Consumer Watchdog, testified in support of SB 1448, to require physicians to inform their patients when they are on probation for causing egregious patient harm.

Ca. Senate Bucks Medical Lobby & Passes Bill to Lift Veil of Secrecy About Physician Sexual Assault & Other Doctor Misconduct Causing Patient Harm

Sacramento, CA – The California State Senate rejected secrecy about physician sexual assault and other doctor misconduct today when it voted 28-3 to support SB 1448 by Senator Jerry Hill (San Mateo) to require physicians disclose to their patients when they are on probation for causing patient harm.

​​​​​​​Lawmakers Vote to Lift Veil of Secrecy About Physician Sexual Assault & Other Doctor Misconduct Causing Patient Harm

Sacramento, CA -- Doctors on probation for sexually assaulting their patients and for other serious misconduct causing patient harm would be required to disclose this to their patients under SB 1448 (Hill), which passed out of the Senate Business and Professions Committee on Monday with bipartisan support.

Patients With Medical Horror Stories Demand the California Medical Board Back Patient Bill of Rights Requiring Transparency, Accountability To Prevent Patient Harm

Los Angeles, CA – Patients who were sexually assaulted by doctors and lost loved ones to doctors’ negligence shared their medical horror stories today and pressed the California Medical Board to adopt a new Patient Bill of Rights and ensure future patients are protected.

The stories told at today’s meeting of the Medical Board illustrate the devastating harm caused to patients by a regulatory system in which doctors’ records of patient harm are hidden and patient complaints go unheeded. The patients and families testifying included:

Grieving Parents and Ralph Nader Call Out Gov. Brown

SAN JOSE, CA -- With the state of the state speech tomorrow, the parents of a child killed by a doctor who got off with only a public reprimand and consumer advocate Ralph Nader separately wrote Governor Jerry Brown to ask him to deal with California’s patient safety crisis. 

They both reminded Brown of words he personally spoke to them, in one case condemning the state law on malpractice Brown himself signed 43 years ago and, in the other, offering to stay involved in the family's struggle.

California Supreme Court Affirms Medical Board’s Use Of State Prescription Drug Database to Discipline Dangerous Doctors and Prevent Opioid Abuse

Santa Monica, CA – The California Supreme Court today issued a decision affirming the right of the Medical Board of California to use the state prescription drug database to protect patients from incompetent and negligent doctors, and to prevent dangerous and illegal prescribing of opioids and other powerful medications.

U.S. House Narrowly Passes Bill Stripping Rights of Patients Harmed By Medical Negligence

Santa Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog condemned today’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill taking away the rights of patients harmed by medical negligence, unsafe drugs, defective medical devices and nursing home abuse. The legislation, HR 1215, would place a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical negligence cases and close the courtroom door to injured patients, for example women who are permanently sterilized due to a doctor’s negligence. The bill narrowly passed, 218-210.