California Assembly Bill 1586, enacted in 2001, requires the voluntary self-reporting of cultural background and foreign language proficiency by physicians licensed to practice medicine in the state of California (beginning in July 2003). The legislation is codified as California Business and Professions Code Section 2425.3. This demographic data is being collected by the Medical Board of California as part of the every-two year state re-licensing process for physicians. The Medical Board maintains an interactive website that allows users to identify the number of licensed physicians by race, ethnicity and language proficiency by zip code in each California county.
California Assembly Bill 269, enacted in 2007, requires similar data to be collected from dentists, registered dental hygienists and registered dental assistants by the Dental Board of California and the Committee on Dental Auxiliaries (beginning in January 2009). The legislation is codified at California Business and Professions Code Section 1715.5. The data is available on the Dental Board’s website.
California Senate Bill 139, also enacted in 2007, authorizes the creation of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) Health Workforce Clearinghouse and the collection of data about “the diversity of the health care workforce, by specialty, including, but not necessarily limited to, data on race, ethnicity, and languages spoken.” Unfortunately, the activities of the Clearinghouse have been stalled because all data collection and reporting to the OSHPD from other state licensing boards and higher education institutions is “to the extent available” and still voluntary. The legislation is codified as California Health and Safety Code Sections 128050 and 128051.
An excellent overview of this issue of demographic data collection from health professionals was compiled by the University of California San Francisco Center for the Health Professions in 2008.