Last week, California lawmakers passed legislation (AB 491), by Assembly member Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), that would allow two hospitals to perform cardiac catheterization in outpatient facilities, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports.
The bill was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for his consideration.
Cardiac catheterization involves the placement of a small tube in a patient's chest via an artery or vein. Currently, state law requires the procedure to be performed in main hospital buildings.
However, some health care advocates say it can now be done safely in new outpatient facilities planned at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.
AB 491 originally was written to apply to all hospitals in the state, but later it was restricted to apply only to Cedars-Sinai and Scripps Memorial.
Reaction to Bill
The California Nurses Association opposes the bill, arguing that there would be fewer safeguards in outpatient facilities if something goes wrong during the procedure. CNA also said that outpatient buildings are not required to meet the same seismic safety standards as main hospital facilities.
However, the California Hospital Association and officials at the hospitals rejected the criticisms.
They argued that the outpatient buildings will be connected to the main hospital, which would allow patients access to operating rooms in case of an emergency.
Ma said that allowing cardiac catheterizations to be performed in outpatient facilities is important to reduce long waits for the procedure.
Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Memorial, said, "The state is getting an opportunity to evaluate two very good programs." He added, "I suspect the state will expand it to the other hospitals as well under the same regulations" (Megerian, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 9/4).