BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 953
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   June 15, 2010

                                 Mary Hayashi, Chair
                     SB 953 (Walters) - As Amended:  May 19, 2010

           SENATE VOTE  :   32-0
          SUBJECT  :   Podiatrists: liability for emergency services.

           SUMMARY  :  Removes reference to a deleted provision which would  
          limit the care provided by a podiatrist in an emergency  
          situation and states legislative intent that nothing in this  
          bill is intended to enlarge, reduce, or otherwise modify the  
          scope of practice of podiatrists.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides, under the Medical Practice Act, for the licensure  
            and regulation of physicians and surgeons by the Medical Board  
            of California (MBC) and for the licensure and regulation of  
            podiatrists by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine  
            (BPM) within the MBC.

          2)Defines the scope of "podiatric medicine" as the diagnosis,  
            medical, surgical, mechanical, manipulative, and electrical  
            treatment of the human foot and the nonsurgical treatment of  
            the muscles and tendons of the leg governing the functions of  
            the foot.

          3)Provides that no podiatrist, who in good faith renders  
            emergency care at the scene of an emergency, shall be liable  
            for civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions by the  
            podiatrist in rendering the emergency care.  This immunity  
            does not apply in the event of a            willful act or  

          4)Provides that podiatrists are not liable for civil damages for  
            injury or death caused in an emergency situation occurring in  
            the podiatrist's office or in a hospital because of a failure  
            to inform a patient of the possible consequences of a medical  
            procedure, as specified.

          5)Prohibits construing these provisions to authorize a  


                                                                  SB 953
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            podiatrist to act beyond certain scope of practice  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal.

           COMMENTS  :   

           Purpose of this bill  .  According to the author's office,  
          "Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are apparently the only licensed  
          or unlicensed health practitioners prohibited from assisting  
          beyond their normal scope during a medical emergency.  There is  
          no basis for excluding one of the more highly trained provider  
          groups.  It could cost the lives of Californians, unnecessarily,  
          in the event of a disaster.  No other State is known to restrict  
          Doctors of Podiatric Medicine in the event of medical  

           Background  .  Podiatrists treat the human foot, including the  
          ankle and muscles and tendons of the leg governing the functions  
          of the foot.  In order to become certified to practice podiatric  
          medicine, candidates must complete four years of undergraduate  
          education, graduate from one of seven approved colleges of  
          podiatric medicine, and complete at least two years of  
          postgraduate podiatric medical and surgical training.
          In addition to performing foot and ankle surgeries, podiatrists  
          are also licensed to perform surgical procedures, under the  
          direct supervision of a physician as an assistant at surgery,  
          that are otherwise beyond the scope of practice of a podiatrist.  
           A podiatrist may not, however, function as a primary surgeon  
          for any procedure beyond his/her scope of practice.
          Existing law provides immunity from liability for a podiatrist  
          who, in good faith, renders emergency care at the scene of an  
          emergency, except for willful acts or omissions.  Existing law  
          also provides immunity for a podiatrist who fails to inform a  
          patient of the possible consequences of a medical procedure, as  

           Support  .  The sponsor of this bill, BPM, writes, "This bill, by  
          deleting B&P Section 2397(d), removes a barrier enacted 30-years  
          ago to highly-trained Doctors of Podiatric Medicine providing  
          Good Samaritan emergency care beyond their regular foot and  
          ankle scope in Section 2472 (previously 2473).


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          "Following Katrina, the Governor's Office initiated the  
          Healthcare Surge project in 2007 to ensure California would be  
          better prepared in the event of a medical disaster.  The  
          Departments of Public Health and Consumer Affairs directed  
          health licensing boards to alert licensees to be ready.  They  
          also asked that we remove barriers now that could slow medical  
          response when caseloads are soaring, and provider ranks are  
          thinned, immobilized and overwhelmed.

          "BPM reviewed the Good Samaritan statutes, including Article 17  
          (Sections 2395-2398), which provides exemptions from liability  
          during medical emergencies.  We were surprised to find Section  
          2397(d), 'Nothing in this article shall be construed to  
          authorize practice by a podiatrist beyond that set forth in  
          Section 2473.'  During 2007 interagency meetings, there was  
          agreement that Section 2397(d) is an unnecessary, imprudent  
          anachronism that does not reflect good public policy.

          "SB 953 does not alter the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine's normal  
          scope of practice in Section 2472.  It does provide DPMs can  
          assist during an emergency as specified in Article 17 (Sections  
          2395-2398) without regard to Section 2472."

           Double referred  .  This bill has been double referred to Assembly  
          Judiciary Committee.


          California Board of Podiatric Medicine (sponsor)
          California Podiatric Medical Association
          None on file.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Rebecca May / B.,P. & C.P. / (916)