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CA law now requires doctors to tell patients about probationary status

Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 22:50:12-05

A new California law that goes into effect in the New Year requires doctors who are on probation, such as the San Luis Obispo doctor featured in a KSBY investigative report in November, to disclose his or her status to a patient.

SB 1448, known as the Patient’s Right to Know Act of 2018, will require doctors to provide patients with a disclosure that includes the doctor’s probation status, length of probation and probation end date, restrictions on the doctor’s practice, the California Medical Board phone number and details about how to learn more about the doctor’s probation.

The disclosure must be provided starting July 1, 2019.

Prior to the new law, a doctor’s probationary status could be found by visiting the Medical Board website and searching the doctor by name or license number.

The new law aims to make information about disciplinary action taken by the Board more accessible to patients, who may not have known how to conduct a manual search.

Dr. Douglas Murphy, a SLO psychiatrist, is one of about a dozen Central Coast doctors disciplined by the Medical Board in the past 18 months.

Murphy is currently on probation after the Medical Board determined he acted negligently toward two patients who ended their own lives and became unprofessional and inappropriate with a female patient whom he allegedly kissed, wrote daily emails to, and disclosed personal medical information about to others without her consent.

Other Central Coast doctors disciplined by the Medical Board were found to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol while working, have had inappropriate contact with patients, and negligently exposed patients to disease or harmful bacteria.

Under the new law, the doctor does not have to disclose probation information to patients if the visit occurs in an emergency room or urgent care facility, if the visit is unscheduled, if the patient is unconscious at the time of care, or if the doctor does not have a direct treatment relationship with the patient.

Also starting July 1, the Medical Board will provide information about the doctor’s probation in plain view on the doctor’s profile page on the Medical Board website.

The Medical Board recently rolled out an app that allows people to track their doctor and receive notifications regarding disciplinary action, change of address and other updates.