Schwarzenegger signs medical investigations bill

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 18, 2004

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill on Sept. 29 that calls for state medical and law enforcement agencies to develop protocols that ensure a proper medical review has been conducted before physicians are arrested for improper prescribing. The bill had been approved without opposition by the Legislature on Aug. 20.

The bill mandates that these protocols be created by Jan. 1, 2006, and some hard negotiations are expected.

"The senator's bottom line is that doctors need to make medical decisions in consultation with their patients -- not their local district attorney," said Brett Michelin, chief of staff for the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Sam Aanestad, DDS. "We're trying to get cops and district attorneys out of the doctor's office."

The new law also calls for prompt return of any medical records seized in an investigation, and California Medical Assn. Associate Director of Government Relations Bryce Docherty predicted that protocols for this provision of the law would be settled quickly but other items may take longer.

Docherty said that the Medical Board of California's pain treatment guidelines will serve as a foundation for the new protocols.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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