Phony doctors, bad medical procedures, risky treatments. Nobody wants that kind of experience but it happens right here in the state of California. Need proof? Just ask our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are investigators with the state medical board's Operation Safe Medicine unit.
Operation Safe Medicine investigators handed prosecutors 61 cases in just 12 months, between June 2011 and June 2012. These cases involved people posing as doctors, risky procedures and unsafe, if not illegal, practices while treating patients.
The caseload is so high for the six-person team in Southern California, there are now calls for more investigators and a team in Northern California.
"The stories we hear from our investigators are incredulous, " said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "To think of the lives that are put at risk when an unlicensed or phony doctor treats someone. Our investigators know how to find these quacks and take them down."
Operation Safe Medicine has a good track record with six felony convictions and 18 misdemeanor convictions in the past three years. The Medical Board of California will now ask lawmakers to expand this team and this unit to combat a growing number of cases.
"Those out there who practice medicine illegally and put Californians in danger should know that our Med Board investigators are not far behind," said California Association of Criminal Investigators (CACI) President Frank Capetillo. "Protecting Californians is what CSLEA investigators do best."