- Angela De Joseph
SACRAMENTO, CA — Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D., (D-San Diego) released the following statement upon Governor Newsom signing Assembly Bill (AB) 1636 today. AB 1636 seeks to maintain confidence in the medical profession by ensuring a physician’s conviction of sexual misconduct with a patient result in a permanent lost license with no ability for it to be reinstated.
“Today I’m proud to announce that my bill AB 1636 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 1636 will preserve confidence in the medical profession by ensuring physicians convicted of sexual misconduct with a patient would automatically have their license revoked and cannot acquire or have it reinstated. The heinous behavior of abusing patients goes against everything physicians stand for and should not be tolerated. This legislation is essential to protect patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship,” said Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D.
This bill removes the discretion from a medical board to give or reinstate a physician or surgeon who lost their license due to sexual misconduct with a patient.
The patient-doctor relationship is based on trust, and patients in this relationship are in a particularly vulnerable situation. In addition, a medical license is a privilege and not a right. This bill ensures physicians who commit egregious sexual misconduct with patients are appropriately disciplined.
The primary co-author of AB 1636 is Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. The co-authors are Assemblymember Vince Fong, and Senator Melissa Hurtado.
“I am proud to partner on this important bill that is now law throughout California. As a former prosecutor for the Medical Board, I worked on cases involving sexual assault and met many victims. This law will help to protect patients from becoming sexual assault victims,” said Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. “Medical doctors are entrusted with the care and well-being of their patients. All patients should feel safe when they enter a doctor’s office. This law will ensure that those who violate this trust will lose their license to practice.”
“Protecting patients from sexually abusive physicians is both a moral obligation and fundamental duty,” said Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger.) “No patient should ever be mistreated by their doctor, especially when it relates to sexual misconduct. I thank Dr. Weber for inviting me to join as co-author of this legislation and I’m proud that with this bill, California is taking a stand to help ensure future patients will be better protected.”
Sponsor: The California Medical Association (CMA)
“Nothing is more fundamental to the California Medical Association and the integrity of the medical profession than protecting patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship,” said CMA President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. “We thank the Governor for signing AB 1636 to ensure that the Medical Board of California has the tools they need to protect patients and keep any physician who violates a patient’s trust from practicing medicine.”