AB 2346, as amended, Gonzalez. Physician and surgeon assistance program.
Existing law, the Attorney Diversion and Assistance Act requires the establishment and administration of an Attorney Diversion and Assistance Program to provide services for the treatment and recovery of attorneys for the abuse of drugs or alcohol or mental illness, and who may be enrolled as inactive members of the State Bar.
This bill would authorize establishment of a similar assistance program for physicians and surgeons. The bill would authorize the Medical Board of California to make available the means to rehabilitate a physician and surgeon with impairment due to abuse of dangerous drugs or alcohol, or mental or physical illness, that affects his or her competency so that a physician and surgeon may be treated in a manner that will not endanger the public health and safety. The bill would make participants in the program responsible for all expenses relating to treatment and recovery, and would authorize the board to charge a reasonable administrative fee to participants for the purpose of offsetting the costs of maintaining the program. The bill would require the board, if the program is established, to engage in outreach to make physicians and surgeons and others aware of the existence and availability of the program.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Article 15.1 (commencing with Section 2372) is
2added to Chapter 5 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions
3Code, to read:
The board is authorized to establish a program as a
8voluntary and confidential program to support a physician and
9surgeon in his or her rehabilitation and competent practice of
10medicine, enhance public protection, and maintain the integrity of
11the medical profession. Confidentiality pursuant to this article shall
12be absolute unless waived by a physician and surgeon, except as
13specified in Section 2373. The program shall, if established, aid a
14physician and surgeon struggling with substance abuse, mental
15health concerns, stress, burnout, and other issues impacting his or
16her productivity. This program shall be modeled after the State
17Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program.
The board may refer a physician and surgeon to the
23program, but neither acceptance into or participation in the program
24shall relieve the physician or surgeon of any lawful duties and
25obligations under this chapter or otherwise under any disciplinary
26action. Participation in the program shall be disclosed if required
27as a condition of probation, pursuant to Section 2228.
Participants in the program shall be responsible for all
3expenses relating to treatment and recovery. In addition, the board
4may charge a reasonable administrative fee to participants for the
5purpose of offsetting the costs of maintaining the program.
If a program is established, the board shall actively
8engage in outreach activities to make physicians and surgeons, the
9medical community, and the general public aware of the existence
10and availability of the program. Outreach may include, but not be
11limited to, the development and certification of minimum
12continuing education courses relating to the prevention, detection,
13and treatment of substance abuse, including no-cost and low-cost
14programs and materials.