Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 11:02 PM - Political developmentsMajor healthcare reform this year in California looks dead as a doornail.
Last year's special session failed to produce an airtight deal, and the budget debacle and recession are setting the stage for an ugly legislative session.
But-to its credit-the Schwarzenegger administration appears ready to get tough with healthcare insurers who try to rescind the policies of sick
Blue Shield has filed an appeal in Hailey vs California Physicians Service, requesting the California Supreme Court take the case. The Court of Appeals had upheld some limits on healthcare recissions. The Hailey decision can be seen here:
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/do ... 035579.PDF
Now the California Department of Managed Care has decided to file an "amicus" brief ("friend of the court" brief) urging the California Supreme Court NOT take up the Hailey case on appeal. If the Supreme Court refuses to review Hailey, Hailey is "the law". Meanwhile, the administration is meeting with insurers to encourage development of new policies on recissions.
Recently there have been high-profile jury verdicts in some cases against insurers who tried to rescind coverage from sick people. Legislative hearings are on the horizon.
Check out today's piece by John Howard and Anthony York in the Capitol Weekly:
http://www.capitolweekly.net/article.ph ... 67binwg6z4
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Monday, March 24, 2008, 11:43 PM - Political developmentsIs graveyard shift work a health risk? Are night shift workers more susceptible to accidents and illness?
As many as 15 million Americans-15% of the work force-work hours other than the day shift. There's some evidence-though controversial-that night shift work makes accidents more likely. The World Health Organization has noted that graveyard shift work may be a risk factor for cancer. The CDC has published research onnight shift work and various maladies..
Stanford and UCSF sleep and neurology researchers are looking into the issue. Who knows? If the epidemiology results are right, perhaps there will be industrial cases making the connection. Something else for those underwriters to worry about?
Doctors-of all people-understand the problem. Any doctor who has taken night call or served marathon shifts as an intern can identify with the problems of the sleep-deprived brain. It's hell to play with our body's circadian rhythms.
Check out a good piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Night Shift" by Erin Allday:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... =printable
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Sunday, March 23, 2008, 12:04 PM - Political developmentsHappy Easter.
It's been quite a week. We've been bombarded with images of the nutty
Jeremiah Wright. There's got to be more to James Cone's"Liberation Theology" than Wright's screeds. But just as liberals have their Wright, conservatives have their John Hagee and Pat Robertson.
Growing up in the Bible Belt, I always had a love-hate relationship with the pulpit. Tent revival evangelist A.A. Allen set up his huge tent just a few miles down the road from where I was growing up. You don't know Allen? Here's a link:
Legend has it that when Allen's minions collected offering, they'd toss it up with Allen noting that "what goes up is the Lord's and what comes down is mine". Not a bad business plan.
A country that produces a range of viewpoints-from Reverend Ike, Rev. Eugene Scott, Garner Ted Armstrong and Rev. Cecil Williams to Sinclair Lewis, who had the courage to write " Elmer Gantry"-can't be said to be lacking in diversity on the evangelism front.
But Sunday morning has now turned to Sunday afternoon. Californians
engage in that springtime ritual-washing the car.
Turns out there are lots of dirty car washes out there.
Car washes that ignore labor standards laws. Uninsured for workers' comp. Magnet for illegals, who are then abused. Businesses underpaying workers.
Take a look at the Los Angeles Times piece on these dirty carwashes:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me ... 2975.story
It's another one of the dirty secrets in this modern economy. The people who do the crap jobs-the jobs Americans don't want to do-are often
subjected to illegal treatment. Why? As Bill Clinton famously once said,
because we "could".
Wishing a happy day to all my readers...
Thursday, March 20, 2008, 11:14 PM - Political developmentsThe DWC has now posted proposed regulations on its website dealing with EAMS (the coming electronic paperless system) and voc retraining/return to work.
The regs include proposed new forms to be used in California workers comp cases.
The regs are in a public electronic forum phase, at least til March 25th.
It's not clear why the forum is so short. The DWC might want to consider taking a deep breath to allow a little longer for comments. However, with some past forums there hasn't been all that much public input, so maybe it's a wash.
For those who live and breathe these issues, have at it. Here is the link to the forum:
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/DWCWCABForum/ ... U_RRTW.htm
Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 10:40 PM - Political developmentsHere's a legislative stinker for you: SB 1096.
The bill would allow pharmacies to sell patient information to pharmaceutical companies, who would then be able to communicate directly with patients about prescription refills.
The rationale? Some patients forget to take their medicine, and these communications would allow for reminders to people who might otherwise skip maintaining their own health. This has caused some mental health advocates to line up in favor of the bill.
Proponents have also cited provisions of the proposed law which would require disclosure to patients that the pharmacy made money from selling the information. Patients would be able to opt out.
Not surprisingly, the sponsor of this bill, State Senator Ron Calderon
(from Montebello, in Los Angeles County) has been a big recipient of pharmaceutical and drugstore pac monies.
Sure, there are some people that might benefit. But the impact on patient privacy is too high. The bill would contain some privacy features, but ultimately would just accelerate the problem of patient information being dispersed into too many hands.
The bill's status? Currently the bill has failed to clear the Senate Health committee. But if the proponents can garner one more vote, the bill could be back. A hearing is set for March 26.
Calderon has indicated that he won't support an amendment that would condition these communications on written patient consent.
It's the old opt-in vs opt-out controversy.
Opt-in. That's workerscompzone's stand. What's yours?
The bill is viewable here:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postq ... r=calderon
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