Skip to main content

Medical Board of California Death Certificate Project: How It Can Impact You

According to the Medical Board of California 2017-2018 Annual Report, the Board’s Enforcement Program received 10,188 complaints against physicians, surgeons, and unlicensed individuals. This reflects an increase of 1,269 complaints (nine percent) over the prior fiscal year. The Board also referred 504 cases to the Attorney General for further action, an increase of more than 18 percent over the prior year.

This increase in enforcement activity has been driven in part by the Board’s Death Certificate Project. The Death Certificate Project was born out of vetoed legislation that would have required coroners in California to report deaths resulting from prescription drug use.

On-Demand Webinar: Key Strategies for Ensuring a Profitable Independent Practice
During this one-hour program, practice management expert Debra Phairas discusses how various business models and operational enhancements can increase revenue to help your practice remain successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

The project utilizes California death record data to identify physicians that may be inappropriately prescribing opioids to their patients. The Medical Board of California, in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health, has been using the project as an additional tool to investigate physicians who may have violated the law.

According to a November 6, 2018 article in MedPage Today, the Medical Board of California recently filed accusations against 11 physicians. These accusations are based on the Death Certificate Project and involve patients who were prescribed narcotics and had fatally overdosed years ago. For a full copy of the article, visit

As a CAP member, your MedGuard Plan provides reimbursement of up to $25,000 for legal expenses arising from disciplinary proceedings, allegations of fraud and abuse, or alleged regulatory noncompliance.  However, in light of the Medical Board of California’s Death Certificate Project and increased enforcement activity, this amount of coverage may not be adequate, and physicians may want to consider purchasing additional coverage for optimal protection. MEDEFENSE® Plus coverage provides $1 million in policy limits, and coverage for fines and penalties, as well as defense costs. It also provides protection for billing errors and omissions including governmental agencies and private payers.

Contact CAP Physicians Insurance Agency today 800-819-0061 or to find out more about this excellent coverage to help ensure you have the protection you need.