Q: What is medical malpractice? Medical malpractice is any action for personal injury against a healthcare provider based on professional negligence. This term is most often used to apply to a lawsuit by a patient against his or her physician as a result of getting “bad care.”

Q: What is a “Healthcare Provider?” Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 364, “healthcare provider” means “any person licensed or certified pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and Professions Code, or licensed pursuant to the Osteopathic Initiative Act, or the Chiropractic Initiative Act, or licensed pursuant to Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1440) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code; and any clinic, health dispensary, or health facility, licensed pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Health and Safety Code.” Furthermore, the term “health care provider” also includes “the legal representatives of a health care provider.” I took these quotes right from the California law, so the definition needs some translation. The term “healthcare provider” may be applied to your physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors, and anyone else who holds a license to practice healthcare.

Q: So, if a person or a facility has a license to treat other people, that person or facility is a healthcare provider? Exactly. Furthermore, the license held is meant to control the quality of the healthcare provided by the person with the license. A licensed provider must practice his or her profession with no less than the degree of learning and skill ordinarily possessed by other practitioners in the same or similar locality and under the same circumstances. This level of skill is often called the “standard of care.” Hence, a licensed healthcare provider must practice within the standard of care when he or she provides “care.”

Q: How do I check my healthcare provider’s license status? The internet offers a quick way to check the status of doctors. To check the status of a California doctor, visit which is the site for the Medical Board of California. For other states, start by visiting the site of your state medical board or state department of consumer affairs.

Posted in