Professional Reporting Requirements

Effective January 1, 2013, the professional reporting requirements of Business and Professions Code sections 801.01, 802.1, 802.5, 803, 803.5, 803.6 and 805 apply to Physician Assistants. Reports must be submitted in writing regarding certain malpractice settlements, arbitration awards or civil judgments, as well as certain criminal charges and convictions. Click here to access these laws. For your convenience, you may use the forms provided by Medical Board of California to report the appropriate information and, based on a cooperative agreement, you may submit the forms either to the Physician Assistant Board or to the Medical Board of California.

Medical Malpractice Reporting

Arrest, Criminal Action, Conviction and Disciplinary Action Reporting

Peer Review Reporting

Reporting Requirements for Coroners

Reporting Requirements for Court Clerks

Medical Malpractice Reporting

The laws that govern mandatory malpractice reporting to the Physician Assistant Board and Medical Board of California are found in California Business & Professions Code sections 801.01, 801.1 and 802 and apply to professional liability insurers, self-insured governmental agencies, physician assistants, physicians and/or their attorneys, and employers. Click here to access these laws. Click here for a Report of Settlement Form. Please note that although the form refers to the "physician," the same form may be used for a physician assistant. The form may be submitted to either board.

Reporting Requirements:

  • Does a physician assistant have to be named on a report if the settlement is on behalf of the corporation/group, etc.?
    Yes.
  • What if the malpractice claim was filed strictly due to a "system" problem and did not pertain to any care and treatment by a physician assistant?
    If the malpractice action strictly involved a "system" problem and a physician assistant was not named in the claim/action, a report need not be filed with the Board.
  • If a California licensed physician assistant is named in a medical malpractice case that occurs in another state, does that information need to be reported to California? If so, is that case counted as part of the accumulated totals which may result in public disclosure?
    Yes. The law requires that any medical malpractice judgment or arbitration award of any amount or settlement over $30,000 that relates to a licensee's alleged negligence, error or omission in practice be reported, regardless of where the care and treatment occurred. While the Physician Assistant Board may not review the underlying circumstances in the malpractice case if the treatment occurred outside of California, the involvement in the malpractice case would count as part of the accumulated total which may result in public disclosure.

Settlement Apportionment:

  • How does the Board apportion an amount to individual physician assistants if the settlement/judgment/arbitration award report does not attribute specific amounts to individual physician assistants named?
    Unless the settlement/judgment/arbitration award specifically apportions an amount to each particular physician assistant named in the claim or action, the Board will attribute the full amount of the award to each physician assistant named.
  • If a report of a settlement over $30,000 is submitted but the amount apportioned to the physician assistants under $30,000, will the report be counted as a settlement against the individual physician assistant as part of the accumulated totals which may result in public disclosure?
    No.
  • If a report of a settlement over $30,000 is submitted on behalf of a corporation, group, etc., but no amount is apportioned to a particular physician assistant, will the report be counted as a settlement against the individual physician assistant as part of the accumulated totals which may result in public disclosure?
    Yes. If no amount is shown as paid on behalf of a particular licensee, the Board will consider it a settlement against the licensee and attribute the entire amount of the settlement to each named licensee.
  • What is the date of "occurrence"?
    The date of "occurrence" is the date of the precipitating event leading to the death or personal injury stated in the entry of judgment, settlement agreement, or arbitration award.

Board Processing:

  • What happens when a report is filed with the Physician Assistant Board or Medical Board of California?
    Pursuant to an agreement between the boards, Medical Board of California staff in the Central Complaint Unit review all information provided to determine whether a violation of the Physician Assistant Practice Act or the Medical Practice Act may have occurred. If it is referred for investigation, each named physician assistant is given an opportunity to respond.

Public Disclosure:

  • When does information get posted to the Board's Web site?
    Judgments and arbitration awards are posted upon receipt. Depending on the specialty of the physician assistant, settlements will be disclosed after a physician assistant has entered into either three or four settlements within a 10-year period.
  • What should a physician assistant do if he or she disagrees with the information posted on the Board’s Web site?
    The physician assistant should contact the entity who reported the information to the Physician Assistant Board (or the Medical Board of California).

Arrest, Criminal Action, Conviction and Disciplinary Action Reporting

Business and Professions Code section 802.1 requires a physician assistant (licensee) to report:

  • The bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony against the licensee;
  • The conviction of the licensee, including any verdict of guilty or plea of no contest of any felony or misdemeanor.

Title 16, California Code of Regulations Section 1399.521.5 (e) requires a physician assistant (licensee) to report:

  • The bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony against the licensee.
  • The arrest of the licensee.
  • The conviction of the licensee, including any verdict of guilty, or pleas of guilty or no contest, of any felony or misdemeanor.
  • Any disciplinary action taken by another licensing entity or authority of this state or of another state or an agency of the federal government or the United States military.

The report must be made in writing within 30 days of the date of the arrest bringing of the indictment or information, the conviction or disciplinary action.

The report must be made in writing within 30 days of the date of the bringing of the indictment or information or of the conviction.

In additional to potential enforcement action by the Board, failure to report is a public offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000.

Click here for an Arrest, Criminal Action, Conviction and Disciplinary Action Reporting Form. The form may be submitted to either the Physician Assistant Board or the Medical Board of California.

The Board frequently receives questions about how a criminal conviction might affect a physician assistant’s license to practice medicine. The question is not as straightforward as it would appear because every situation is different and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For these reasons, the Board will not provide any legal advice to either the physician assistant or his/her legal representative.

Business and Professions Code section 3527 states that the conviction of any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a physician assistant constitutes unprofessional conduct which can be cause for disciplinary action. The Board reviews the records related to every conviction considering not only the record of the conviction itself, but also the underlying issues which led to the arrest and conviction. Section 3527 does not differentiate between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction and consideration about whether disciplinary action is supportable is not based on this distinction either.

Business and Professions Code section 3531 states that a plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere made to a charge of a felony or of any offense which is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession to which the license was issued is deemed to be a conviction. The board may order the license suspended or revoked, or shall decline to issue a license when the time for appeal has elapsed, or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence, irrespective of a subsequent order under the provisions of section 1203.4 of the Penal Code allowing such person to withdraw his plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information or indictment.

A conviction that may not, at first glance, appear to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a physician assistant, may, under closer scrutiny, be revealed to be otherwise (e.g., reckless driving, DUIs, and sex crimes). All information related to the criminal case is considered, such as when the arrest occurred; the circumstances surrounding the arrest; any previous history of arrests or convictions; and the physician assistant’s compliance with the court's terms and conditions.

Peer Review Reporting

Business and Professions Code section 805 requires that, when a physician assistant’s staff privileges, membership, or employment is restricted for a medical disciplinary cause or reason, a report must be made to the Physician Assistant Board (or the Medical Board of California) within 15 days. This requirement applies regardless of whether the restriction is voluntarily accepted. The text of the code section appears below.

Click here for a Peer Review/Health Facility Reporting Form

Click here for a Request for Copy of 805 Report

Please note that although these forms refer to a “physician,” the same form may be used for a physician assistant. The form may be submitted to the either the Physician Assistant Board or to the Medical Board of California.

805. Peer Review: Reports

(a) As used in this section, the following terms have the following definitions:

(1) (A) “Peer review” means both of the following:

(i) A process in which a peer review body reviews the basic qualifications, staff privileges, employment, medical outcomes, or professional conduct of licentiates to make recommendations for quality improvement and education, if necessary, in order to do either or both of the following:

(I) Determine whether a licentiate may practice or continue to practice in a health care facility, clinic, or other setting providing medical services, and, if so, to determine the parameters of that practice.

(II) Assess and improve the quality of care rendered in a health care facility, clinic, or other setting providing medical services.

(ii) Any other activities of a peer review body as specified in subparagraph (B).

(B) “Peer review body” includes:

(i) A medical or professional staff of any health care facility or clinic licensed under Division 2 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Health and Safety Code or of a facility certified to participate in the federal Medicare program as an ambulatory surgical center.

(ii) A health care service plan licensed under Chapter 2.2 (commencing with Section 1340) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code or a disability insurer that contracts with licentiates to provide services at alternative rates of payment pursuant to Section 10133 of the Insurance Code.

(iii) Any medical, psychological, marriage and family therapy, social work, professional clinical counselor, dental, or podiatric professional society having as members at least 25 percent of the eligible licentiates in the area in which it functions (which must include at least one county), which is not organized for profit and which has been determined to be exempt from taxes pursuant to Section 23701 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

(iv) A committee organized by any entity consisting of or employing more than 25 licentiates of the same class that functions for the purpose of reviewing the quality of professional care provided by members or employees of that entity.

(2) “Licentiate” means a physician and surgeon, doctor of podiatric medicine, clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, clinical social worker, professional clinical counselor, dentist, or physician assistant. “Licentiate” also includes a person authorized to practice medicine pursuant to Section 2113 or 2168.

(3) “Agency” means the relevant state licensing agency having regulatory jurisdiction over the licentiates listed in paragraph (2).

(4) “Staff privileges” means any arrangement under which a licentiate is allowed to practice in or provide care for patients in a health facility. Those arrangements shall include, but are not limited to, full staff privileges, active staff privileges, limited staff privileges, auxiliary staff privileges, provisional staff privileges, temporary staff privileges, courtesy staff privileges, locum tenens arrangements, and contractual arrangements to provide professional services, including, but not limited to, arrangements to provide outpatient services.

(5) “Denial or termination of staff privileges, membership, or employment” includes failure or refusal to renew a contract or to renew, extend, or reestablish any staff privileges, if the action is based on medical disciplinary cause or reason.

(6) “Medical disciplinary cause or reason” means that aspect of a licentiate’s competence or professional conduct that is reasonably likely to be detrimental to patient safety or to the delivery of patient care.

(7) “805 report” means the written report required under subdivision (b).

(b) The chief of staff of a medical or professional staff or other chief executive officer, medical director, or administrator of any peer review body and the chief executive officer or administrator of any licensed health care facility or clinic shall file an 805 report with the relevant agency within 15 days after the effective date on which any of the following occur as a result of an action of a peer review body:

(1) A licentiate’s application for staff privileges or membership is denied or rejected for a medical disciplinary cause or reason.

(2) A licentiate’s membership, staff privileges, or employment is terminated or revoked for a medical disciplinary cause or reason.

(3) Restrictions are imposed, or voluntarily accepted, on staff privileges, membership, or employment for a cumulative total of 30 days or more for any 12-month period, for a medical disciplinary cause or reason.

(c) If a licentiate takes any action listed in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) after receiving notice of a pending investigation initiated for a medical disciplinary cause or reason or after receiving notice that his or her application for membership or staff privileges is denied or will be denied for a medical disciplinary cause or reason, the chief of staff of a medical or professional staff or other chief executive officer, medical director, or administrator of any peer review body and the chief executive officer or administrator of any licensed health care facility or clinic where the licentiate is employed or has staff privileges or membership or where the licentiate applied for staff privileges or membership, or sought the renewal thereof, shall file an 805 report with the relevant agency within 15 days after the licentiate takes the action.

(1) Resigns or takes a leave of absence from membership, staff privileges, or employment.

(2) Withdraws or abandons his or her application for staff privileges or membership.

(3) Withdraws or abandons his or her request for renewal of staff privileges or membership.

(d) For purposes of filing an 805 report, the signature of at least one of the individuals indicated in subdivision (b) or (c) on the completed form shall constitute compliance with the requirement to file the report.

(e) An 805 report shall also be filed within 15 days following the imposition of summary suspension of staff privileges, membership, or employment, if the summary suspension remains in effect for a period in excess of 14 days.

(f) A copy of the 805 report, and a notice advising the licentiate of his or her right to submit additional statements or other information, electronically or otherwise, pursuant to Section 800, shall be sent by the peer review body to the licentiate named in the report. The notice shall also advise the licentiate that information submitted electronically will be publicly disclosed to those who request the information.

The information to be reported in an 805 report shall include the name and license number of the licentiate involved, a description of the facts and circumstances of the medical disciplinary cause or reason, and any other relevant information deemed appropriate by the reporter.

A supplemental report shall also be made within 30 days following the date the licentiate is deemed to have satisfied any terms, conditions, or sanctions imposed as disciplinary action by the reporting peer review body. In performing its dissemination functions required by Section 805.5, the agency shall include a copy of a supplemental report, if any, whenever it furnishes a copy of the original 805 report.

If another peer review body is required to file an 805 report, a health care service plan is not required to file a separate report with respect to action attributable to the same medical disciplinary cause or reason. If the Medical Board of California or a licensing agency of another state revokes or suspends, without a stay, the license of a physician and surgeon, a peer review body is not required to file an 805 report when it takes an action as a result of the revocation or suspension.

(g) The reporting required by this section shall not act as a waiver of confidentiality of medical records and committee reports. The information reported or disclosed shall be kept confidential except as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 800 and Sections 803.1 and 2027, provided that a copy of the report containing the information required by this section may be disclosed as required by Section 805.5 with respect to reports received on or after January 1, 1976.

(h) The Medical Board of California, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, and the Dental Board of California shall disclose reports as required by Section 805.5.

(i) An 805 report shall be maintained electronically by an agency for dissemination purposes for a period of three years after receipt.

(j) No person shall incur any civil or criminal liability as the result of making any report required by this section.

(k) A willful failure to file an 805 report by any person who is designated or otherwise required by law to file an 805 report is punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per violation. The fine may be imposed in any civil or administrative action or proceeding brought by or on behalf of any agency having regulatory jurisdiction over the person regarding whom the report was or should have been filed. If the person who is designated or otherwise required to file an 805 report is a licensed physician and surgeon, the action or proceeding shall be brought by the Medical Board of California. The fine shall be paid to that agency but not expended until appropriated by the Legislature. A violation of this subdivision may constitute unprofessional conduct by the licentiate. A person who is alleged to have violated this subdivision may assert any defense available at law. As used in this subdivision, “willful” means a voluntary and intentional violation of a known legal duty.

(l) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (k), any failure by the administrator of any peer review body, the chief executive officer or administrator of any health care facility, or any person who is designated or otherwise required by law to file an 805 report, shall be punishable by a fine that under no circumstances shall exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per violation. The fine may be imposed in any civil or administrative action or proceeding brought by or on behalf of any agency having regulatory jurisdiction over the person regarding whom the report was or should have been filed. If the person who is designated or otherwise required to file an 805 report is a licensed physician and surgeon, the action or proceeding shall be brought by the Medical Board of California. The fine shall be paid to that agency but not expended until appropriated by the Legislature. The amount of the fine imposed, not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per violation, shall be proportional to the severity of the failure to report and shall differ based upon written findings, including whether the failure to file caused harm to a patient or created a risk to patient safety; whether the administrator of any peer review body, the chief executive officer or administrator of any health care facility, or any person who is designated or otherwise required by law to file an 805 report exercised due diligence despite the failure to file or whether they knew or should have known that an 805 report would not be filed; and whether there has been a prior failure to file an 805 report. The amount of the fine imposed may also differ based on whether a health care facility is a small or rural hospital as defined in Section 124840 of the Health and Safety Code.

(m) A health care service plan licensed under Chapter 2.2 (commencing with Section 1340) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code or a disability insurer that negotiates and enters into a contract with licentiates to provide services at alternative rates of payment pursuant to Section 10133 of the Insurance Code, when determining participation with the plan or insurer, shall evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, licentiates who are the subject of an 805 report, and not automatically exclude or deselect these licentiates.

Reporting Requirements for Coroners

Business and Professions Code section 802.5 requires that when a coroner receives information that is based on findings that were reached by, or documented and approved by, a board-certified or board-eligible pathologist indicating that a death may be the result of a physician and surgeon’s, podiatrist’s, or physician assistant’s gross negligence or incompetence, a report shall be filed with the Medical Board of California, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, or the Physician Assistant Board. The initial report must include the name of the decedent, date and place of death, attending physicians or podiatrists, and all other relevant information available. The initial report must be followed, within 90 days, by copies of the coroner’s report, autopsy protocol, and all other relevant information.

Click here for a Coroners Reporting Form. Please note that although the form refers to the “physician,” the same form may be used for a physician assistant. The form may be submitted to the either the Physician Assistant Board or to the Medical Board of California.

Reporting Requirements for Court Clerks

Business and Professions Code sections 803, 803.5, and 803.6 require that court clerks report certain judgments for death or personal injury or criminal convictions to the appropriate licensing agency. For a physician assistant, those acts must be reported to the Physician Assistant Board or the Medical Board of California. In some cases, the action must be reported within 48 hours. The relevant code sections are included below.

Click here for the Court Reporting Form. Please note that although the form refers to the “physician,” the same form may be used for a physician assistant. The form may be submitted to the either the Physician Assistant Board or to the Medical Board of California.

803. Report of crime or Liability for Death

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), within 10 days after a judgment by a court of this state that a person who holds a license, certificate, or other similar authority from the Board of Behavioral Sciences or from an agency mentioned in subdivision (a) of Section 800 (except a person licensed pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1200)) has committed a crime, or is liable for any death or personal injury resulting in a judgment for an amount in excess of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) caused by his or her negligence, error or omission in practice, or his or her rendering unauthorized professional services, the clerk of the court that rendered the judgment shall report that fact to the agency that issued the license, certificate, or other similar authority.

(b) For purposes of a physician and surgeon, osteopathic physician and surgeon, doctor of podiatric medicine, or physician assistant, who is liable for any death or personal injury resulting in a judgment of any amount caused by his or her negligence, error or omission in practice, or his or her rendering unauthorized professional services, the clerk of the court that rendered the judgment shall report that fact to the agency that issued the license.

803.5. Notice to Board of Filing Charging Licensee with Felony

(a) The district attorney, city attorney, or other prosecuting agency shall notify the Medical Board of California, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the Physician Assistant Board, or other appropriate allied health board, and the clerk of the court in which the charges have been filed, of any filings against a licensee of that board charging a felony immediately upon obtaining information that the defendant is a licensee of the board. The notice shall identify the licensee and describe the crimes charged and the facts alleged. The prosecuting agency shall also notify the clerk of the court in which the action is pending that the defendant is a licensee, and the clerk shall record prominently in the file that the defendant holds a license from one of the boards described above.

(b) The clerk of the court in which a licensee of one of the boards is convicted of a crime shall, within 48 hours after the conviction, transmit a certified copy of the record of conviction to the applicable board.

803.6. Transmittal of Felony Preliminary Hearing Transcript

(a) The clerk of the court shall transmit any felony preliminary hearing transcript concerning a defendant licensee to the Medical Board of California, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, the Physician Assistant Board, or other appropriate allied health board, as applicable, where the total length of the transcript is under 800 pages and shall notify the appropriate board of any proceeding where the transcript exceeds that length.

(b) In any case where a probation report on a licensee is prepared for a court pursuant to Section 1203 of the Penal Code, a copy of that report shall be transmitted by the probation officer to the board.