2270. (a) It shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate or promote misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
(b)The board shall consider the following factors prior to bringing a disciplinary action against a licensee under this section:
(1)Whether the licensee deviated from the applicable standard of care.
(2)Whether the licensee intended to mislead or acted with malicious intent.
(3)Whether the misinformation or disinformation was demonstrated to have resulted in an individual declining opportunities for COVID-19 prevention or treatment that was not justified by the individual’s medical history or condition.
(4)Whether the misinformation or disinformation was contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus to an extent where its dissemination constitutes gross negligence by the licensee.
(b) Prior to bringing a disciplinary action against a licensee under this section, the board shall consider both whether the licensee departed from the applicable standard of care and whether the misinformation or disinformation resulted in harm to patient health.
(c) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) “Physician and surgeon” means person licensed by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000).
(2) ”Board” means the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, as applicable.
(3) “Misinformation” means false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus to an extent where its dissemination constitutes gross negligence by the licensee.
(4) “Disinformation” means misinformation that the licensee deliberately disseminated with malicious intent or an intent to mislead.
(5) “Disseminate” means the conveyance of information from the licensee to a patient under the licensee’s care in the form of treatment or advice.
(d) Section 2314 shall not apply to this section.