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East County News Service

May 10, 2016 (Sacramento) -- If your doctor was put on probation by the Medical Board for serious misconduct, should you have the right to know about it?

Currently, most Californians have no idea when their doctor has been disciplined for putting patients at risk. Senate bill 1033 would require doctors to notify their patients when they have been put on probation by the state medical board for serious offenses such as gross negligence, repeatedly providing inappropriate or excessive medication, sexual misconduct, and drug or alcohol abuse that threatens the doctor’s ability to practice safely.

Doctors who have been put on probation more than once by the Medical Board would also have to notify their patients.

Nearly 600 doctors in California are currently on probation for a variety of offenses. These doctors have to disclose their probationary status to hospitals where they practice and to malpractice insurers, but patients are left in the dark.

Despite widespread public support, SB 1033 is facing stiff opposition from the politically powerful California Medical Association, which is lobbying to keep patients in the dark when doctors are put on probation.

Consumer’s Union, which supports the bill, has launched an online petition for Californians who want to voice support of the measure to their legislators.

Consumers’ Union’s petition calls for an end to what it calls this “outrageous status quo,” noting that many doctors who have been disciplined turn out to be repeat offenders.

The California Research Bureau found that doctors who have been sanctioned by the Medical Board are far more likely to be disciplined in the future than doctors who have not been sanction. “That’s why it is so important for doctors on probation for serious offenses to be required to notify their patients,” Consumers Union’s petition concludes.

You can view or sign the petition at

The measure has passed the Senate’s Business, Professions and Economic Development committee and will next be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Although doctors are not currently required to tell patients if they are on probation, you can look up such information online. Here are two ways to find out if your doctor is on probation:

1. Search by doctor: 

At, click “the “license search” option

Choose license type

Check “physician surgeon/search by name”.

Type in your doctor’s name and hit search to get the information.

2. Search for disciplinary actions and license alerts by year

1. Go to the Medical Board of California website:

   Click on "Consumers."

   On right side of the page, click "Publications."

   Scroll down and click "Disciplinary Actions and License Alerts."

  Click by year to see a list of all doctors on probation and the current probation status.

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