On August 5, 2011, the Medical Board of California (MBC) took a formal stand in favor of AB 584 (Fong), the bill that will give carpetbagger utilization review physicians their walking papers.
The MBC said that AB 584 "clarifies current law to provide that physicians performing utilization review for injured workers must be licensed in California" and that so doing is in line with the MBC's mission of consumer protection. Readers of The Weinmann Report will remember that the previous governor got his Office of Administrative Law to issue a ruling that allowed non-California licensed physicians to overrule duly licensed California doctors in matters of medical treatment and surgery for injured workers.
Non-California licensed doctors doing utilization review can make huge mistakes of judgement or just be plain careless without risking investigation or discipline by the MBC since they aren't subject to the MBC's authority. They are also not subject to discipline in the states where they have licenses because the medical boards of other states don't have jurisdiction in California. In short, carpetbagger physicians get a free ride and also get paid for it.
Meanwhile, cash-short California gets stiffed. Thanks to former Gov. Schwarzenegger, California has been giving away money-by-the-bucket to non-California licensed doctors who aren't obliged to pay fees to the MBC.
California's licensed treating physicians are required to take a 12-hour course in pain management. This requirement need not be met by their non-California licensed colleagues who under current Schwarzenegger law are allowed to deny care for chronic pain ordered by colleagues who have taken the mandatory training in pain management.
Readers interested in the history of this effort may want to review "How to practice medicine without a license," San Francisco Chronicle, 8/29/08, by this author.
It's time to discard this corruption of utilization review. That aim can be achieved if AB 584 (Fong) becomes law.
As of August 5th AB 584 (Fong) is being held on "suspense" in Senate Appropriations, Senator Kehoe, Chair. The Weinmann Report recommends readers to ask Sen. Kehoe to remove the bill from suspense and to support its passage so Gov. Brown can sign it into law.