A four-bill package introduced by state Reps. Jeff Farrington, Pat Somerville, Klint Kesto and Peter Pettalia will better protect patients being treated by physicians who are acting illegally by permitting a disciplinary board the authority to permanently revoke the physician’s license to practice.
House Bills 5839-5842 authorize the state, through a disciplinary subcommittee, to permanently revoke a physician’s professional license to practice if he or she engages in a pattern of intentional acts of fraud or deceit resulting in personal financial gain or harm to the health of the patient under their care.
“This is all about protecting patients from physicians who are intentionally breaking the law,” said Farrington, R-Utica. “As we have seen, a physician can take advantage of our health care system to commit fraud and at the same time exploit patients who are vulnerable. I wish we didn’t need legislation like this but, unfortunately, we do. We must protect patients from being mistreated by a physician for personal gain.”
Somerville, R-New Boston, said: “A person should never have to worry about his or her doctor’s intentions. Oftentimes, going to a physician is stressful enough, and the last thing a person needs to worry about is an ulterior motive from someone they should be able to trust with their health. I’m confident this legislation will go a long way in making sure our physicians will be held to an even higher standard.”
Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., said: “It is our job to protect innocent people from someone they trust taking advantage of them. In this instance people were being told by a physician that they had a terminal illness purely for the profit of that doctor, which is reprehensible. My thoughts and prayers go to the families and the victims of this heinous fraud.”
Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, said: “Fraud in any sense is a despicable crime, but it is even more atrocious when people’s health is put in jeopardy. Breaking the doctor-patient trust carried by The Hippocratic Oath for centuries is surely a valid reason for the state to strip a physician’s license to practice.”
The Health Policy Committee will begin considering HBs 5839-5842 on Sept. 30, with testimony opportunities available to the public.