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Senator Price on CBS Investigation of the Medical Board of California

Senator Curren Price

Citing years of slow investigations of dangerous doctors, Sen. Curren Price (D-Los Angeles) wants the Medical Board of California stripped of its investigative authority, he told CBS13.

Call Kurtis has exposed several cases over the years when the Medical Board — the agency tasked with protecting patients from potentially dangerous doctors — was slow to act and new patients were hurt.
Transferring investigations from the Board to the attorney general’s office would speed up investigations significantly, Price told CBS13.
But the Medical Board says not so fast; there are other factors, including money.

More than a year after Amy Rose said her cosmetic surgeon botched a surgery, she still struggles with her hand.

“The medical board wasn’t worried about protecting me from this happening,” she told CBS13.

A Call Kurtis medical investigation that aired in November on CBS13 found several patients, including Rose, who claimed they had been seriously injured by Dr. Efrain Gonzalez of Rocklin’s Advanced Medical Spa.

She said Gonzalez carelessly cut through two critical nerves during a breast augmentation leaving her hand paralyzed.

“He’s changed my life,” Rose said.

And CBS13 uncovered a year before Rose’s procedure, another patient had complained to the Medical Board that Gonzalez botched her operation too.

“Knowing at least one complaint, he should have been shut down, so that something like this couldn’t happen,” Rose said, adding that the state could have saved her.
Investigators arrested Gonzalez in March. The Medical Board then suspended his license — about 18 months after filing an accusation against him.

The Medical Board’s target length of time to discipline a doctor is 540 days (PDF) — roughly a year and a half from when it receives a complaint.

But Call Kurtis learned last year it took on average 10 months longer than the target — time when unsuspecting patients could end up hurt or even killed.

“The body who’s responsible for regulating, for monitoring those activities appears to be asleep at the switch,” Price said.

He co-authored Senate Bill 304 that would, among other things, strip the Medical Board of its investigating power and transfer investigations to the attorney general’s office.

“The idea is to speed these investigations up so that doctors aren’t in limbo (and) the public isn’t in limbo about the status of a medical professional,” he said.

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