Jan. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/
-- Consumer Watchdog renewed its call for Governor
Gavin Newsom to withdraw the
nomination of Dr. Richard Thorp,
former president of the doctors' lobby, to the Medical Board of
"The Medical Board's job is patient protection," said Consumer
Watchdog board member Tammy Smick,
who lost her son to medical negligence, in a letter objecting to
Dr. Thorp's confirmation. "It is outrageous that a past president
and member of the California Medical Association, a political
organization with a long record of active opposition to reasonable
physician oversight, is even being considered for this critical
public safety post."
In 2013-14, the years Thorp was president, the California
Medical Association and its political committees paid nearly
$1M to Newsom advisors and longtime
CMA consultants Jason Kinney, whose
birthday Governor Newsom celebrated at the French Laundry dinner,
and Jim DeBoo, who Governor Newsom
just appointed his executive secretary.
Dr. Thorp's appointment was scheduled for consideration at the
March 11, 2020 hearing of the Senate
Rules Committee. On March 6,
Mrs. Smick wrote a letter objecting to the nomination and detailing
Dr. Thorp's record of opposition to patient safety measures when
head of the Medical Association. Read her letter here:
The hearing was cancelled. Governor Newsom then used his
emergency powers to extend the confirmation deadline three times,
allowing Dr. Thorp to serve for 18 months without Senate
confirmation or public review.
The failure to conduct legally required confirmations denied
Mrs. Smick and other medical negligence survivors the opportunity
to make their case against Dr. Thorp, said Consumer Watchdog.
As first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, 185 appointees
were confirmed by the Senate during the pandemic. Thorp and two
other medical board appointments were the only appointees up for
approval at the time when the Governor used his emergency powers to
extend the deadline for an extra year.
Mrs. Smick wrote: "Dr. Thorp's nomination is doubly galling
because a law enacted in 1975 prevents families like mine from
seeking legal accountability when doctors kill our loved ones. The
Medical Board was created as part of the same deal, with a promise
that the legal deterrence being taken from patients would be
replaced with regulatory enforcement to protect patients from
harm. That promise has been forgotten."
Thorp was CMA President in 2013-14 when the Association fought
against Proposition 46 to index the medical malpractice cap for
inflation, require doctors to check the CURES database before
prescribing opioids, and mandate drug testing for doctors.
Kinney and DeBoo were paid $949,775
by CMA and the committee in those years. All told, Kinney and DeBoo
made $2.8 million over the last ten
years representing the Medical Association and its political
committees opposed to adjusting the state's 1975 medical
See the payments by the CMA to Kinney and DeBoo.
During his tenure on the Medical Board, Dr. Thorp has vigorously
advocated for the positions of the Medical Association and doctors'
interests at the expense of the public, said Consumer Watchdog.
Since his Board tenure began Dr. Thorp has: Opposed requiring
doctors to personally review a patient's prescription history
before prescribing opioids; opposed increasing physician licensing
fees to adequately fund the Board's investigations of physician
misconduct; and, championed confidential diversion programs for
substance abusing doctors, which replace public enforcement
"The democratic process by which all appointees have to answer
for their record was bypassed on behalf a politically connected
doctor with deep ties to the Governor's closest consultants and
confidants and a history of opposing patient safety protections.
Thorp has to go," said Carmen
Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog.
Consumer Watchdog also opposed the re-nomination of Dr. Dev
GnanaDev, another past president of the doctors' lobby. GnanaDev
was first appointed to the Board by Governor Brown. The Senate
Rules Committee told the San Francisco Chronicle a hearing has now
been scheduled for February 3,
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog