Last year, SB 286, an important bill introduced by Sen. John Milkovich to extend due process rights to physicians, came close to passing in the Louisiana Legislature.
We are thankful the Senator is bringing it back again this year. Perseverance can be the key to success.
This year the bill has a new number: SB 187 and it will be heard by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, May 1st, at 9:30 a.m. in the State Capitol. Physicians are encouraged to attend and make their voices heard. Persons who wish to testify, or have questions, should call Sen. Milkovich’s office at 318-425-1957.
If you can’t make it to the hearing you can help by emailing the Committee members asking them to support SB 187.
For many email apps, clicking here will launch a new email message with the addresses of the committee members filled in and a draft message ready to send. Feel free to modify the message to your liking, and please don’t forget to add your name and city at the bottom.
If the above link doesn’t work for you, you can copy and paste the below message into the body of an email message. The addresses to copy and paste into the “TO” line are:
Dear Chair Martiny, Vice Chair White, and Members of the Senate Commerce Committee,
I am a Louisiana physician asking you to support SB 187, “The Licensees’ Bill of Rights,” a bill that will be heard by you this coming Wednesday.
This bill simply ensures that physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals are accorded appropriate due process protections in matters before their licensing boards. Too often good physicians are kept from their patients and their livelihood while defending themselves in rigged proceeding against false accusations.
SB 187 will limit improper actions by the boards and help them stay focused on their legitimate missions on behalf of the safety of Louisiana citizens.
Hearing on SB 187: Licensees’ Bill of Rights
By Louisiana Senator John Milkovich
Over the last decade, Licensing Boards have leveled false accusations against professionals, extorted exorbitant fines, rigged administrative proceedings, misused Board proceedings to destroy competitors, and engaged in patent conflicts of interest.
Senate Bill 187, by State Senator John Milkovich, seeks to ensure Due Process for Louisiana’s professional licensees in licensure and disciplinary proceedings–– and seeks to curb abuses by Licensing Boards. Senate Bill 187 will be heard by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, May 1st, at 9:30 a.m. in the State Capitol. Licensees are encouraged to attend and make their voices heard. Persons who wish to testify, or have questions, should call 318-425-1957.
Licensing Boards in Louisiana have perpetrated a series of abuses against professional licensees: the fabrication of complaints and evidence; the exploitation of Board powers by Board Members to destroy professional competitors; coercing physicians who use neither drugs nor alcohol into drug rehab; the refusal to disclose to licensees copies of their case files; anonymous complaints; the denial of an explanation to licensees of the charges against them; a racket in which a disciplinary officer files false charges against professionals and then refers the professionals to her boyfriend, a lawyer, who collects a large fee; shakedowns for large fees that professionals are forced to pay, in order to practice their profession; rigged proceedings; and the Board’s practice of functioning as judge, jury and prosecutor.
Notes Senator Milkovich, “Professionals, small business owners, and technical specialists spend their entire careers learning their skills and mastering their professions. Louisiana Physicians, who are among the groups targeted by abusive Boards, are among the most thoroughly educated, highly skilled and selfless professionals in the world–– and are some of the best physicians in America. Our doctors work long hours, fight with the HMOs and ERISA plans to get paid, and grapple with endless red tape imposed by state and federal agencies. We owe them gratitude– not grief.”
Continues Milkovich, “Doctors, Dentists and all other licensed professionals in Louisiana are entitled to just and transparent proceedings. None of them deserve to have their careers destroyed by corrupt practices or rigged proceedings. We understand that there must be a sound disciplinary process to protect the public. However, the goal of Board proceedings for licensees should be impartiality, fairness and integrity– not intimidation, falsification, and inequity.”
Under SB 187, professional licensees would be entitled to a clear statement of the charges against them; the identity of the accuser; a fair investigation; an independent judge; the prohibition of secret communications between the Investigator and the Board; receipt of their complete file; a fair hearing; full discovery; legal counsel; and meaningful judicial review.
Concludes Milkovich, “Licensing Boards exercise governmental power over professionals. However, there are few checks and balances on their power. Some Boards are out of control, run rough-shod over professionals, and abuse their power. It is time to require that Boards respect the Rule of Law; obey the Constitution; and treat licensees fairly. — John Milkovich