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California Licensing Board Speaks Out Against Inappropriate Mask Exemptions

Analysis  |  By Credentialing Resource Center  
   August 30, 2021

The California Medical Association released a statement supporting the Medical Board of California’s decision.

This article was first published August 25, 2021, by HCPro's Credentialing Resource Center, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

Physicians in California may face disciplinary action for helping patients obtain inappropriate medical waivers from wearing masks. The Medical Board of California announced on August 18 that “a physician who grants a mask or other exemption without conducting an appropriate prior exam and without a finding of a legitimate medical reason supporting such an exemption within the standard of care may be subjecting their license to disciplinary action.” The medical board does not specify what the disciplinary action against the physician’s license would be but encourages the public to file a complaint if they think a physician is trying to skirt around mask requirements for the public.

The California Medical Association released a statement supporting the Medical Board of California’s decision.

“There are very few medical reasons and situations that would exempt an individual from masking requirements. It strains credulity to think that a single physician would have dozens or hundreds of patients with valid medical claims for such an exemption,” said California Medical Association President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., MD.  “Unfortunately, we know there are bad actors who are willing to operate outside the accepted standards of care in order to turn a personal profit. This needs to stop.”

The Federation of State Medical Boards’ Board of Directors also recently spoke out about physicians who disseminate COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

“Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license. Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not. They also have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health. Spreading inaccurate COVID-19 vaccine information contradicts that responsibility, threatens to further erode public trust in the medical profession and puts all patients at risk.”

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