SB 494 DILUTES ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE
SB 494 was introduced by Senator Monning and enjoys having Senator Ed Hernandez as the principal co-author. Their bill was heard in Sacramento this morning.
SB 494 would increase the number of health plan enrollees or insureds to primary care physicians. The original bill was introduced on 2/21/13 and was amended on 4/03/13 to allow "the assignment of up to 2,000 enrollees or insureds to each full-time equivalent primary care physician and would authorize the assignment of an additional 1,750 enrollees or insureds" to each primary care physician if that physician supervises one or more nonphysician medical practitioners.
The bill threatens that "willful violation ... would be a crime."
Senator Hernandez has also proposed enlarging the scope of practice for nurses, optometrists, and pharmacists (SBs 491, 492, 493). Diluting the quality of health care, Hernandez evidently feels, will improve access to health care generally. SB 494 is a companion bill that will make it impossible to do anything else but reduce the quality of physician-time spent with patients. Physicians will be penalized for having assistants by having their workloads increased. That maneuver by itself will chop down the amount of time physicians can spend counseling patients. If this bill is signed into law, patients will yearn for the day then they were allowed a whole ten or fifteen minutes with their doctors.
SB 494 is intended to bully physicians because it makes willful violation a crime. Physicians may not be in charge of whether or not they have assistants since assistants may be hired by HMOs, Accountable Care organizations, Foundations, hospitals, and managed care plans generally. This proposed legislation damages physicians' chances to provide optimal diagnostic and counseling efforts.
At the hearing today, no testimony was offered by physicians' organizations.