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California Health Care Entities Must Report Patient Allegations of Sexual Abuse or Sexual Misconduct

Introduced last February, and effective January 1, 2020, California’s SB 425 adds Section 805.8 to the California Business & Professions Code requiring “health care facilities” and “other entities” to report any allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct against a clinician to the appropriate California licensing boards, such as the Medical Board of California, within 15 days of receiving the allegation. Failure to report can result in fines of up to $50,000 per violation or up to $100,000, if willful. The amounts are determined by factors including whether the failure to report resulted in patient risk or harm and/or there was prior failure to report misconduct.
The Bill was introduced in response to multiple unresolved complaints of alleged sexual misconduct, alleged drug and alcohol abuse, and other professional wrongdoing. The agency receiving the report must investigate the underlying facts and circumstances. “Health care facilities” and “other entities” include hospitals, health care clinics, nursing facilities, and other entities such as post-secondary educational institutions, and other healing arts facilities.
In most instances, the bill requires these reports to be held in strict confidence however they may come to light in licensing board actions to revoke a licensee’s professional license. The new law also provides immunity to employees, individuals, health care facilities, and other entities, from civil or criminal liability, for making the mandatory reports.
For further questions, please contact Ben Fenton or Nick Jurkowitz.