California Regulation of Physicians

The California regulations with respect to physicians are explained under Cal Bus & Prof Code §§ 2050 through 2099, Cal Bus & Prof Code §§ 2190 through 2197, and Cal Bus & Prof Code §§ 2420 through 2433.  The statutes provide that the physician’s and surgeon’s certificate authorizes the holder to use drugs or devices in or upon human beings and to sever or penetrate the tissues of human beings and to use any and all other methods in the treatment of diseases, injuries, deformities, and other physical and mental conditions[i].

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2052, notwithstanding Section 146, any person who practices or attempts to practice, or who advertises or holds himself or herself out as practicing, any system or mode of treating the sick or afflicted in this state, or who diagnoses, treats, operates for, or prescribes for any ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury, or other physical or mental condition of any person, without having at the time of so doing a valid, unrevoked, or unsuspended certificate as provided in this chapter or without being authorized to perform the act pursuant to a certificate obtained in accordance with some other provision of law is guilty of a public offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment in the state prison, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both the fine and either imprisonment.  Any person who conspires with or aids or abets another to commit any act described in subdivision (a) is guilty of a public offense, subject to the punishment described in that subdivision.  The remedy provided in this section shall not preclude any other remedy provided by law.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2056.1 provides that the purpose of this section is to ensure that health care service plans and their contracting entities do not enter into contracts with physicians and surgeons or other licensed health care providers that interfere with any ethical responsibility or legal right of physicians and surgeons or other licensed health care providers to discuss with their patients information relevant to their patients’ health care.  It is the intent of the Legislature to guarantee that a physician and surgeon or other licensed health care provider can communicate freely with, and act as advocate for, his or her patient.  Health care service plans and their contracting entities shall not include provisions in their contracts that interfere with the ability of a physician and surgeon or other licensed health care provider to communicate with a patient regarding his or her health care, including, but not limited to, communications regarding treatment options, alternative plans, or other coverage arrangements.  Nothing in this section shall preclude a contract provision that provides that a physician and surgeon, or other licensed health care provider, may not solicit for alternative coverage arrangements for the primary purpose of securing financial gain.  Any contractual provision inconsistent with this section shall be void and unenforceable.

Nothing in this chapter applies to any practitioner located outside this state, when in actual consultation, whether within this state or across state lines, with a licensed practitioner of this state, or when an invited guest of the California Medical Association or the California Podiatric Medical Association, or one of their component county societies, or of an approved medical or podiatric medical school or college for the sole purpose of engaging in professional education through lectures, clinics, or demonstrations, if he or she is, at the time of the consultation, lecture, or demonstration a licensed physician and surgeon or a licensed doctor of podiatric medicine in the state or country in which he or she resides.  This practitioner shall not open an office, appoint a place to meet patients, receive calls from patients within the limits of this state, give orders, or have ultimate authority over the care or primary diagnosis of a patient who is located within this state[ii].

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2060 provides that nothing in this chapter applies to any practitioner located outside this state, when in actual consultation, whether within this state or across state lines, with a licensed practitioner of this state, or when an invited guest of the California Medical Association or the California Podiatric Medical Association, or one of their component county societies, or of an approved medical or podiatric medical school or college for the sole purpose of engaging in professional education through lectures, clinics, or demonstrations, if s/he is, at the time of the consultation, lecture, or demonstration a licensed physician and surgeon or a licensed doctor of podiatric medicine in the state or country in which he or she resides.  This practitioner shall not open an office, appoint a place to meet patients, receive calls from patients within the limits of this state, give orders, or have ultimate authority over the care or primary diagnosis of a patient who is located within this state.  Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a foreign medical graduate from engaging in the practice of medicine whenever and wherever required as a part of a clinical service program under the following conditions:

  • The clinical service is in a postgraduate training program approved by the Division of Licensing.
  • The graduate is registered with the division for the clinical service.

A graduate may engage in the practice of medicine under this section until the receipt of his or her physician and surgeon’s certificate.  If the graduate fails to pass the examination and receive a certificate by the completion of the graduate’s third year of postgraduate training or if the division denies his or her application for licensure, all privileges and exemptions under this section shall automatically cease.  Nothing in this section shall preclude a foreign medical graduate from engaging in the practice of medicine under any other exemption contained in this chapter.[iii]

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2081, each application shall be made upon a form provided by the Division of Licensing, and each application form shall contain a legal verification to be signed by the applicant verifying under penalty of perjury that the information provided by the applicant is true and correct and that any information in supporting documents provided by the applicant is true and correct.  Each application shall include the following:

(a) A diploma issued by an approved medical school.  The requirements of the school shall have been at the time of granting the diploma in no degree less than those required under this chapter or by any preceding medical practice act at the time that the diploma was granted.  In lieu of a diploma, the applicant may submit evidence satisfactory to the Division of Licensing of having possessed the same.

(b) An official transcript or other official evidence satisfactory to the division showing each approved medical school in which a resident course of professional instruction was pursued covering the minimum requirements for certification as a physician and surgeon, and that a diploma and degree were granted by the school.

(c) Other information concerning the professional instruction and preliminary education of the applicant as the division may require.

(d) An affidavit showing to the satisfaction of the division that the applicant is the person named in each diploma and transcript that he or she submits, that he or she is the lawful holder thereof, and that the diploma or transcript was procured in the regular course of professional instruction and examination without fraud or misrepresentation.

(e) Either fingerprint cards or a copy of a completed Live Scan form from the applicant in order to establish the identity of the applicant and in order to determine whether the applicant has a record of any criminal convictions in this state or in any other jurisdiction, including foreign countries.  The information obtained as a result of the fingerprinting of the applicant shall be used in accordance with Section 11105 of the Penal Code, and to determine whether the applicant is subject to denial of licensure under the provisions of Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475) and Section 2221[iv].

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2083, except as provided in subdivision (b), each application for a certificate shall be accompanied by the fee required by this chapter and shall be filed with the Division of Licensing.  The license fee shall be waived for a physician and surgeon residing in California who certifies to the Medical Board of California that the issuance of the license or the renewal of the license is for the sole purpose of providing voluntary, unpaid service.  In order to insure the continuing competence of licensed physicians and surgeons the Division of Licensing shall adopt and administer standards for the continuing education of such licensees.  The division shall require each licensed physician and surgeon to demonstrate satisfaction of the continuing education requirements at intervals of not less than four nor more than six years[v].  Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2422 provides that all licenses expire and become invalid at 12 midnight on the last day of February of each even-numbered year if not renewed.  To renew an unexpired license, a licensee shall, on or before the date it would otherwise expire, apply for renewal on a form prescribed by the licensing authority and pay the prescribed renewal fee.

[i] Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2051.

[ii] Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2060.

[iii] Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2066.

[iv] Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2082.

[v] Cal Bus & Prof Code § 2190.


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