Frequently Asked Questions - Medical Malpractice Reporting

The laws that govern mandatory malpractice reporting to the Medical Board of California (MBC) are found in California Business & Professions Code Section 801.01 and apply to professional liability insurers, self-insured governmental agencies, physicians and/or their attorneys, and employers. Click here to access these laws.

NOTE: Business and Professions Code Section 801.01 has been amended effective January 1, 2010.

Reporting Requirements:

  • Does a physician 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?

    If the malpractice action strictly involved a "system" problem and an M.D. was not named in the claim/action, a report need not be filed with the MBC.

  • What if the care involved a non-physician provider?

    A report need not be filed with the Medical Board but there may be reporting requirements to other professional licensing boards or bureaus.

  • Is a report to the Medical Board required if a settlement, judgment or arbitration award (or a specified portion thereof) is attributed to an individual who was an unlicensed resident at the time of the incident?

    No. Reporting is intended to alert the Medical Board to situations where a licensed practitioner may be negligent or incompetent in his or her professional practice. Residents, interns, and medical students have not established that they possess the minimum entry level competence. The purpose of the statute requiring reporting is not served by requiring a report where the incident occurred before the practitioner became licensed.

  • If a California licensed "attending" physician 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 Medical Board of California would not review the underlying circumstances in the malpractice case as 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.

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Settlement Apportionment:

  • How does the Medical Board apportion an amount to individual physicians if the settlement/judgment/arbitration award report does not attribute specific amounts to individual physicians named?

    Unless the settlement/judgment/arbitration award specifically apportions an amount to each particular physician named in the claim or action, the Medical Board will attribute the full amount of the award to each physician named.

  • If a report of a settlement over $30,000 is submitted but the amount apportioned to each physician is under $30,000, will the report be counted as a settlement against the individual physician 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 each named physician, will the report be counted as a settlement against the individual physician as part of the accumulated totals which may result in public disclosure?

    Yes. If no amount is shown as paid on behalf of the physician, the Medical Board will attribute the entire amount of the settlement to each named physician.

  • Is a report to the Medical Board required if a settlement, judgment or arbitration award (or a specified portion thereof) is attributed to an individual who was an unlicensed resident at the time of the incident?

    A report need not be filed with the Medical Board.

  • 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.

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Medical Board Processing:

  • What happens when a report is filed with the Medical Board of California?

    Medical Board staff in the Central Complaint Unit review all information provided to determine whether a violation of the Medical Practice Act occurred. Each named physician is given an opportunity to respond.

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Public Disclosure:

  • When does information get posted to the Board's website?

    Judgments and arbitration awards are posted upon receipt. Settlements resolved after January 1, 2003 are disclosed after a physician has accumulated three or four settlements within a 5-year period (depending upon the specialty of the physician). After five years, the information is removed from the Board's website but is still available to the public upon request for a 10-year period.

  • What should a physician do if he or she disagrees with the information posted on the Medical Board website?

    Physicians should contact the entity who reported the information to the Medical Board.

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