On Tuesday, the Assembly Business and Professions Committee voted 8-4 along party lines to approve a bill that would allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants who undergo training to conduct an early-term abortion procedure. Proponents of the measure say it would ensure women have early and safe access to abortion providers, while critics have raised concerns about safety, training and expanding access to abortion. Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert."
Ventura County Star columnist Ritch Eich questions the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine's recent decision "to expand its network of primary and secondary physician offices in the Conejo Valley and elsewhere." He argues that a "better approach ... would be for UCLA to engage the local medical community in discussion of the expansion plans and, wherever possible, to collaborate with them." Ventura County Star.
A California Academy of Family Physicians official says that loan repayment programs might not be enough to curb a state doctor shortage. She urged officials to make other changes, such as altering payment methods. Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News."
A UCLA program aims to help immigrant doctors obtain their U.S. licenses in return for their pledge to practice primary care medicine in underserved areas of California. The program offers stipends, mentorships and other resources. Kaiser Health News.
On Wednesday, the UC-Riverside School of Medicine announced that it received a two-year, $3 million grant from Kaiser Permanente Southern California. The grant will be used to fund outreach efforts and scholarships for eight of its 50 incoming students. UC-Riverside's medical school is slated to open this fall. Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Last week, a federal appeals court upheld a jury's 2010 $1.6 million judgment against the National Union of Healthcare Workers, its president and other officers. In the case, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West argued that the NUHW leadership while employed by SEIU attempted to undermine the union by diverting its resources to form a breakaway union. Sacramento Business Journal.
Some participants in CMS' four-year Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative -- which rewards health care providers for better coordinated care -- say the program is working. Patrick Gordon, associate vice president of the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Health Plans, said the program -- which launched in August 2012 -- has been successful in fundamentally changing health care payment economics and encouraging providers to improve their performances. Modern Physician.
On Tuesday, the HHS Office of Inspector General published a fraud alert warning that physician-owned distributorships -- which market and distribute medical devices to hospitals in exchange for a commission on the sale -- are "inherently suspect" and "pose dangers to patient safety." The alert comes as the Department of Justice investigates PODs in California and Utah, where they are particularly prevalent. Wall Street Journal, Modern Physician.
On Tuesday, Sen. Richard Roth pledged to push for the reinstatement of $15 million in annual state funding to ensure that UC-Riverside's School of Medicine -- scheduled to open this fall -- can operate at full capacity with classes of 80 students. In 2011, the funding was withdrawn amid the state's budget crisis, forcing the school to open one year later with a smaller inaugural enrollment of 50 students. Riverside Press-Enterprise.
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis finds that the healthiest counties in California and other states have the highest ratio of primary care doctors. The report ranked California counties by health outcomes and health factors. Modern Healthcare et al.
The California Endowment plans to invest $90 million over the next four years to expand California's health care workforce in preparation for millions of newly insured state residents under the Affordable Care Act. Sacramento Business Journal, The California Endowment release.
About 600 Los Angeles County nurses face payroll deductions totaling $1.8 million that the county says it accidentally provided as bonus payments. County officials say the nurses are not entitled to the funds, while nurses say repaying the bonuses is a financial burden. Los Angeles Times.
For the fourth-consecutive year, the number of graduating medical students selecting primary care specialties increased. However, the increase is not expected to compensate for a looming shortage of primary care physicians, experts say. Modern Physician, USA Today.
California Sen. Ed Hernandez has introduced a series of measures that would expand the scope of practice for non-physician health care providers. The California Medical Association is concerned that the bills could threaten patient safety. Sacramento Bee et al.
Some California hospital officials have expressed concern that a bill -- by Assembly members Rob Bonta and Bob Wiecowski -- that would increase the level of charity care not-for-profit acute care facilities must provide and tighten hospital reporting requirements might force some facilities to close. The bill has been endorsed by several influential labor unions, including the California Nurses Association. Payers & Providers.