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Is professional self-regulation on the verge of collapse?

Our country is one with a long-standing tradition of professional self-regulations. State medical boards regulate physicians, state nursing boards regulate nurses, etc. But what happens if the public feels this type of self-regulation weighs too heavily in favor of the professionals and against the public and starts to push back?

The question is not a new one, but it is currently getting legislative attention in California.

Why should we care about California?

Because it could signal a larger change throughout the country.

What has happened so far?

Lawmakers, patients, and physicians are pushing for a change to the composition of the state medical board. As a result of a semi-annual review, the Medical Board of California called a meeting to discuss adding two seats to the board. These seats were proposed to provide an additional voice to consumers and patients instead of doctors. Instead of moving forward, it appears the meeting became a heated exchange of patients calling for more accountability within the medical community.

The state senator in charge of the committee reviewing the situation ultimately decided to remove the proposal to add the two seats to the board, further fueling tension.

What led to the meeting?

In this instance, state law requires the legislature to review the medical board’s performance. Based on the most recent review, the legislature found the board needed to add two more seats to the board and fill those seats with members of the public, not physicians.

What does this mean for the future of medical boards?

If the movement in California is any signal of change, there is a likelihood that state boards could find themselves with more positions filled by the public. This could lead to a stronger approach to physician discipline. Although yet to move forward in California, we will provide updates on this and any other happenings that could impact medical boards throughout the country, including here in Texas.