BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 773 (Baker) - Licenses:  Medical Board of California:  Board  
          of Psychology
          
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          |Version: June 1, 2015           |Policy Vote: B., P. & E.D. 9 -  |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: June 22, 2015     |Consultant: Brendan McCarthy    |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.


          


          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 773 would revise the expiration date for certain  
          licenses issued by the Medical Board of California and the Board  
          of Psychology, to ensure that the initial licensing period is a  
          full two years.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           Annual revenue losses to the Medical Board of California of  
            about $1.1 million per year for licenses issued to physicians  
            (Contingent Fund of the Medical Board of California). Under  
            current practice, applicants for initial licensure with the  
            Medical Board pay a licensing fee of $808 (the license renewal  
            fee is $820). The initial license is valid from the license  
            issuance date until the last day of the licensee's birth month  







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            in the second year of the two-year license term. Upon renewal  
            of the license, the license will expire on the last day of the  
            licensee's birth month, every other year. In practice, this  
            means that the initial licensure period will vary from person  
            to person, depending on when the applicant initially applied  
            for licensure and when the applicant's birth month occurs.  
            Some licensees will have an initial licensure period of just  
            over one year, whereas others will have up to a full two  
            years. In effect, the Medical Board is able to collect a  
            two-year license fee for less than two years of licensure. (On  
            average, this should be about 18 months of licensure.) 

            By shifting to a true two-year licensure program, the initial  
            licensure period will be extended, and the Medical Board will  
            receive reduced annual fee revenues for license renewals. On  
            average, the revenue loss would equate to about 25% of the  
            renewal licensing fee (about $200). Since there are about  
            5,000 applicants for new licensure as physicians each year,  
            annual revenue losses are projected to be about $1.1 million  
            per year. Revenue losses attributable to other, allied health  
            professionals are expected to be minor.

           Annual revenue losses to the Board of Psychology of about  
            $80,000 per year (Psychology Fund). Similar to the Medical  
            Board, the Board of Psychology will experience reduced fee  
            revenues of about $100 per year for each of the 800 applicants  
            for new licensure each year.


          Background:  The Medical Board of California licenses physicians and  
          surgeons, as well as a variety of allied health professionals  
          such as licensed midwives and dispensing opticians. Under  
          current practice, the initial license granted by the Medical  
          Board is valid for one full year and then expires at the end of  
          the licensee's birth month. In practice, this means that the  
          length of the initial license period can vary significantly  
          between licensees, depending on when the licensee's birth month  
          occurs and when the initial license was granted. Thus, the  
          length of the initial license period can vary from 13 months to  
          24 months. After the initial license period, the renewed license  
          period lasts for two full years, because subsequent license  
          period lasts from the licensee's birth month until the  
          licensee's birth month two years later.
          The Board of Psychology license psychologists and related allied  








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          health professionals. The Board of Psychology uses a similar  
          system to determine the length of initial licensure as the  
          Medical Board.




          Proposed Law:  
            AB 773 would revise the expiration date for certain licenses  
          issued by the Medical Board of California and the Board of  
          Psychology, to ensure that the initial licensing period is a  
          full two years.


          Related Legislation:

           AB 483 (Patterson) would require specified initial license  
            fees to be prorated on a monthly basis. That bill is pending  
            in the Senate Business and Professions Committee.
           AB 1758 (Patterson, 2014) would have required specified  
            initial license fees for various health professionals to be  
            prorated on a monthly basis. That bill was held on this  
            committee's Suspense File.


          Staff  
          Comments:  Under current law, fees that can be assessed by  
          licensing boards and bureaus are often set in statute or capped  
          in statute. The license fees that the Medical Board may impose  
          on applicants is capped in statute at $790 (with certain  
          additional surcharges for enforcement activities allowed). The  
          current fee level is $783 (plus an additional $25 related to  
          enforcement activities). This bill is projected to result in  
          revenue losses of about $1.1 million per year to the Medical  
          Board. Under current law, the Medical Board has very limited  
          ability to raise the overall license fee to offset the lost fee  
          revenue that would occur under this bill. Therefore the Medical  
          Board will need to reduce expenditures for licensure activity or  
          enforcement activity, if this bill is enacted.


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