On Wednesday, the California Medical Association filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court alleging that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) overstepped his authority when he imposed mandatory furloughs for the Medical Board of California, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The medical board licenses California physicians and investigates complaints filed against them.
The lawsuit also challenges a state budget maneuver that transferred $6 million from the medical board's contingent fund into California's general fund.
CMA argues that the fund transfer and the furloughs are illegal because the board receives funding from physician licensing fees instead of the state.
The lawsuit contends that the furloughs are causing the board to lose 5,100 work hours each month, or the equivalent of 28 or 29 staff positions (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 10/14).
According to the suit, the furloughs are delaying the licensing of 7,200 physicians, as well as malpractice investigations (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 10/15).
The furloughs also are causing significant backlogs in physician licensing and investigations, CMA said (Howard, Capitol Weekly, 10/14).
The agency says it hopes the court will order the state to halt the furloughs and restore the medical board's contingent funds (Sacramento Business Journal, 10/14).
Schwarzenegger's administration maintains that the furloughs and fund transfers were necessary to help the state balance its budget (Capitol Weekly, 10/14).