The American Medical Association has selected the UC-Davis School of Medicine as one of 11 medical school recipients of a five-year, $1 million grant to develop and implement a medical education acceleration program. UC-Davis will collaborate with Kaiser Permanente on a joint six-year primary care training and residency program. Sacramento Business Journal.
Last week, Northern California optical workers at Kaiser Permanente voted 214 to 103 to reject an offer of representation by the Service Employees International Union. The workers in 2010 voted to leave SEIU and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers-California Nurses Association. Sacramento Business Journal.
A San Francisco District Judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Sutter Health violated antitrust laws by engaging in anti-competitive practices in Northern California. However, the judge has given plaintiffs 28 days to amend the complaint. Sacramento Business Journal.
As major physician shortages loom, two new surveys suggest that physicians and patients are becoming increasingly comfortable with health care services provided by non-physician practitioners. According to a report published this month in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, nearly 60% of 5,818 family physicians surveyed in 2011 said they routinely work with a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or certified midwife. Meanwhile, a new report published in Health Affairs suggests that patients increasingly are open to being treated by NPs and PAs. Modern Physician.
The California Senate has passed four bills related to the Medical Board of California. One of the bills -- SB 304 -- would move the medical board's authority to investigate suspected physician misconduct to the Office of the Attorney General. Sacramento Business Journal.
The California Supreme Court has heard arguments about whether the state's Nursing Practice Act requires that licensed nurses administer insulin injections and other medications to children attending public schools. The Supreme Court must deliver a ruling on the issue within 90 days. Los Angeles Times.
A UCLA policy brief finds that patients who lack a consistent health care provider appear less likely to receive regular preventive care. Patients without a "medical home" also are less confident about managing their health, UCLA says. KPCC's "KPCC News."
The California Senate has passed two bills that would expand the scope of practice for nurse practitioners and optometrists. Later this week, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that would expand pharmacists' scope of practice. AP/Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times.
A Sacramento Bee editorial argues that lawmakers should pass a bill that would give nurse practitioners authority to practice independently without having to seek a physician's signature for "simple, straightforward" medical decisions. The authors write, "[Physicians] worry that allowing nurse practitioners to operate independently would cause competition with primary care doctors and increase fragmentation of care. This is overwrought." The Senate may vote on the bill as early as Friday. Sacramento Bee.
A California HealthCare Foundation study finds wide variations in the number of elective surgeries by region. CHCF publishes California Healthline. According to the study, several factors, including access to information about the procedures, physician preferences and patient input, contribute to the geographical differences. Los Angeles Times.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed an immigration bill that would make it easier for foreign-born health professionals to work in the U.S. The bill also would allow some foreign-born people to purchase health plans through insurance exchanges. Modern Healthcare, Politico.
Observers are concerned that an Affordable Care Act loophole that allows families who fail to pay premiums for subsidized health plans to continue receiving coverage for three months could leave physicians responsible for the cost of care. Sacramento Bee.
A campaign will launch this summer in support of a proposed state ballot measure that would require that physicians randomly are subjected to drug and alcohol testing. Bob Pack -- former executive at AOL and NetZero -- is leading the $2 million campaign to place the measure on the November 2014 ballot. A California Medical Association spokesperson said the campaign is a "publicity stunt." AP/Miami Herald.
The California HealthCare Foundation has released two reports that find variations in treatment for prostate and breast cancer according to where patients live in the state. Experts say the findings indicate that physicians most often are determining treatments. Contra Costa Times.
The National Labor Relations Board has begun counting votes in an election to determine whether 45,500 Kaiser Permanente workers will continue to be represented by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West or switch to representation by the National Union of Healthcare Workers-California Nurses Association. An administrative law judge called for the new election after finding that SEIU misconduct interfered with workers' right of free choice in an October 2010 election that SEIU-UHW won by 61%. Sacramento Business Journal.