New Ability to Prescribe

This is third in a series of new 2024 laws affecting healthcare in California. 
SB 670: Physicians and Surgeons: Drug Prescribing Privileges

This new law wades into the increasing regulation over physicians for prescriptions, especially pain killers. The Medical Board of California has increased investigations in this area. One hurdle to such investigations has been getting access to patient records without the consent of the patient or the patient’s family.

SB 670 permits the Medical Board to inspect and copy a deceased patient’s medical records without authorization or court order solely for the purpose of determining whether death was in violation of MPA. The Medical Board must declare in writing that it has been unsuccessful in locating or contacting the deceased patient’s representative after reasonable efforts.

The legislation met with quite a few reservations and is watered down from the original version. The Medical Board still may not see the records when the representative refuses to allow access. It also has a provision that refusal of a physician to participate in a Medical Board interview can be deemed “unprofessional conduct.”