SB 1188 – Clear and Convincing Standard of Evidence

April 15 update:  THANKS TO YOUR support, Gov. Brewer signed this bill into law late last month!

 

SB 1188 would raise the bar for imposing discipline. It passed the Arizona Senate Health Committee, with nay votes from  Democratic Senators Aboud and Lopez.

It is to be heard before the Arizona House Committee on HHS at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Mar 7, in HHR 4.

Please consider letting your representatives know your views.

Contact Information for members of the Committee are:

Chairman Republican Cecil P. Ash, [email protected], (602) 926-3160
Vice Chairman Republican Heather Carter, [email protected], (602) 926-5503
Democrat Kate Brophy McGee, [email protected], (602) 926-4486
Democrat Sally Ann Gonzales, [email protected], (602) 926-3278
Democrat Matt Heinz, [email protected], (602) 926-3424
Democrat Katie Hobbs, [email protected], (602) 926-5325
Republican Peggy Judd, [email protected], (602) 926-5836
Republican Justin Pierce, [email protected], (602) 926-5495
Republican Kimberly Yee, [email protected], (602) 926-3024

You can find your own legislators, at www.azleg.gov.

Here is the message AAPS Executive Director, Jane Orient, MD is sending:

The Arizona chapter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons strongly supports a clear and convincing standard of evidence for imposing discipline, particularly if it involves major practice restrictions, suspension, or revocation. No exception is warranted for “sexual misconduct.”

If a person is charged criminally with such offenses, there is a criminal standard of proof to be met, in a court that follows rules of evidence, permits cross-examination of accusers, and assures representation to defendants who cannot afford it. Before the Board, a physician has no such due process guarantees. Yet the punishment, the equivalent of a professional death sentence, can be more severe than that faced by a rapist. This sentence can be, and has been, handed down by the AMB for vaguely defined offenses such as “inappropriate touching,” based solely on the testimony of witnesses found to be not credible by a forensic psychiatrist. A physician’s life is ruined, and patients who need and desire his services are deprived of a physician.

The public can surely be protected by far less severe measures such as requiring presence of a chaperone. If a patient finds a physician’s behavior to be offensive in any way, she always has the option of firing the physician and never seeing him again. She can also file a civil complaint. There is no need to risk injustices by diluting the standard of proof in such cases.