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LACMA Stands in Strong Support of AB 2164

Updated: Jun 27

The Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA) is pleased to announce its strong support for Assembly Bill 2164 (AB 2164), scheduled to be heard on July 1 in the Senate Business and Professions Committee. This vital piece of legislation, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, aims to protect the privacy and well-being of physicians and surgeons in California, fostering a healthcare environment where seeking mental health support is encouraged and destigmatized.

 

Key Provisions of AB 2164

AB 2164 prohibits the Medical Board of California (MBC) from requiring an applicant for a physician’s and surgeon’s license, or a current licensee, to disclose a condition or disorder that does not impair their ability to practice medicine safely. This bill clarifies that while the MBC can still require disclosure of participation in a mental health or substance use disorder treatment program resulting from disciplinary actions, it cannot penalize physicians for seeking necessary mental health care.

 

Supporting Physician Well-being

The bill is co-sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA). It addresses a critical issue highlighted during the MBC's most recent sunset review: physicians and medical students often avoid seeking mental health services due to fear of jeopardizing their medical licenses. This legislation seeks to eliminate this fear, promoting a healthcare environment where mental health and well-being are prioritized.

 

"Physicians, like everyone else, can experience stress, burnout, and mental health challenges. Seeking mental health services can be crucial for maintaining balance, resilience, and overall well-being, benefiting both physicians and their patients," said CMA President Tanya W. Spirtos, M.D. AB 2164 ensures that physicians can seek the help they need without fear of undue repercussions, ultimately enhancing patient care quality.

 

By reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health care, the bill aims to decrease the incidence of burnout and other stress-related issues among physicians, potentially lowering overall healthcare costs in the long term.

 

The Importance of AB 2164 for LACMA Members

With nearly 7,000 physicians in Los Angeles County, our members' ability to seek appropriate care for mental health and substance use disorders without fear of undue repercussions is paramount. The current licensure application process can inadvertently discourage physicians from seeking mental health services, perpetuating stigma and exacerbating burnout and depression within the medical community. AB 2164 eliminates the obligation for physicians to disclose personal medical information that does not impact their ability to practice medicine safely.


LACMA believes that AB 2164 will have a profoundly positive impact on the health and well-being of California's physicians and the patients they serve. By removing barriers to seeking mental health support, this legislation ensures that physicians can prioritize their own well-being, which in turn will benefit their patients.

 

We stand with the Medical Board of California and the CMA in urging support for this crucial legislation. AB 2164 is an essential step toward fostering a supportive and compassionate healthcare environment for all medical professionals in California.

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