MEDIA ALERT: CCASA SUPPORTS BILL TO PROTECT COLORADO PATIENTS FROM BAD ACTOR DOCTORS LIKE NASSAR
HOUSE HEALTH & INSURANCE COMMITTEE TO DECIDE FATE OF CRUCIAL PREVENTION LEGISLATION
WHAT: The House Health & Insurance Committee will vote on SB 20-102, a bi-partisan bill to protect patient safety from sexually abusive medical providers. This bill prevents bad actors within the medical profession from operating in Colorado undetected by requiring proactive patient notification to give health care consumers all the information they need to make safe choices about how they and their families receive quality health care. SB 20-102 passed unanimously out of the Senate, with strong bi-partisan support, however, it was laid-over for action only in the House and today’s vote will determine the fate of the bill.
DATE: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
TIME: Upon Adjournment
LOCATION: House Health & Insurance Committee, Room 0112
Background: Research consistently shows that only a small percentage of medical professionals engage in sexual misconduct with their patients. However, those that do often have multiple victims over the course of many years. Take for example the case of a physician in Colorado who in 2019 was charged with knowingly transporting child pornography in interstate commerce, including repeatedly posting child pornography on Tumblr accounts after videotaping naked boys during physical exams; the U.S. Indian Health Service pediatrician who, over the course of 2-decades, was transferred from reservation to reservation and allowed to continue to treat children throughout the United States West after being disciplined multiple times for sexually abusing young Native American boys; and perhaps one of the most recognizable cases of our day, the osteopathic physician at Michigan State University and doctor to the USA gymnastics national team, Dr. Larry Nassar, who was charged with molesting 265 girls and young women under the guise that he was providing legitimate medical treatment, dating as far back as 1992.
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) 2018 Sunset Review of the Medical Practice Act reported 88 total complaints of sexual misconduct filed with the Colorado Medical Board over a 5-year period between 2012-2017. The report also included a statement which read, “if a physician sexually assaulted a patient while he or she was providing medical care, such conduct would be considered substandard practice.” The report cited 5,323 total complaints of substandard practice from the same time period. The report did not delineate the number of substandard practice complaints that presented a factual basis of sexual misconduct nor did the report disclose the result of specific complaints.
The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) believes believe SB 20-102 brings to fruition the original intent of the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, by shifting the burden from patients to sexually abusive medical providers through removing the obstacle of seeking out hard-to-find information and instead, places the responsibility on the disciplined provider to proactively alert patients of their behavior and terms of discipline after a conviction or credible finding of responsibility related to sexual misconduct.
CCASA invites the media to attend this crucial hearing on Tuesday, March 10. Interviews with staff and/or survivors are available upon request.
CCASA Director of Communications & Community Engagement