Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Interim Bill Review: AB 1340, 2400, 1805, 1886, and the thinly disguised malpractice initiative

This post includes late additions to the original posting

Assembly Bill 1340 (Achadjian) that would establish Enhanced Treatment Programs is a life-and-death issue for nurses, technicians, and doctors who take care of the sickest and the meanest among us. For this privilege the trial lawyers would like to force the doctors, but not themselves, to pee in a cup. That's the program the trial lawyers are hiding behind in their shameless effort to get higher malpractice awards for themselves under the guise of the Troy and Alana Pack Safety Act which has as its most likely main benefit for a family of four the opportunity to pay $1,000 more annually for health insurance.

Assembly Bill 2400 (Ridley-Thomas) would level the playing field so that Big Biz insurance companies would not be as able as they are now to drive down access to care for patients with chronic and expensive illnesses. For this privilege the trial lawyers want the doctors to pee in a cup. The trial lawyers who have even gone so far as to concoct bogus statistics actually are the ones who should pee in cups. Their campaign cited a report from March of 2000 by the California Medical Board which said "many believe" that 15% of the general population has problems with substance abuse and that among health care professionals the lifetime level might even be 18%. This rough estimate was a supposition, not a researched statistic. Moreover, this lifetime risk translates to no more than 2% at any one time. The trial lawyers' addled research team that thought this one up should pee in as many cups as can be distributed as quickly as possible.

As for the convicted drunken driver who fled the scene  after running down 10 year old Troy and 7 year old Alana Pack,  it is known that she had three drunken-driver convictions before the accident.  Because she fled the scene and evaded the authorities for two days, a timely blood alcohol test was not obtained. While she was on the run, her apartment was searched. Cocaine was found. She eventually told police she'd taken vicodin prescribed by her treating doctor. Her legal defense at trial was that it was her doctors' fault because they prescribed the medicine for pain relief. She did not assert that they also told her to drive under the influence. Her sentence: 30 years in prison.

Our reward, as doctors whose duty includes the relief of pain, is now supposed to be to pee in cups while prosecutors who get wrongful convictions because they withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense booze it up when what they deserve is to pee in cups and then serve out the time they foisted upon defendants who've since been released because of wrongful convictions. It's a logical next step to have every lawyer,  as he passes through security to enter the courthouse, pee in a cup.

Late flash: the trial lawyers' initiative has been officially designated Proposition 46. The campaign against it will be known as the No on 46 campaign. We support the No on 46 Campaign.

Medi-Cal: we support AB 1805 (Skinner and Pan) which would restore the 10% cut in Medi-Cal remuneration that was installed by the State Budget Act of 2011.  It isn't lost on us that devoted  doctors who take care of the sickest and poorest among us would also be obliged to pee in the trial lawyers' cups. Of course, some might say that Gov. Brown already did that for them when he sent through his recent budget bill which managed once again to give the short end of the stick to the doctors who care for Medi-Cal patients. His having done so raises the ugly spectre of  a possible veto of the Skinner-Pan bill even if it passes handily.

AB 1886 (Eggman): Its original aim, while modified pursuant to amendments obtained by the CMA, remains unchanged, e.g., indefinite posting of disciplinary actions, civil judgments, and arbitration awards against doctors, just enough to make sure that good doctors who  run afoul of one or another disciplinary board become persona non grata to whatever managed care, HMO, or PPO organizations that want to use even minor misdemeanor convictions to ruin careers. It's all about the control and humbling of what used to be an honored profession. Doctors need to learn to say "no" to their would be overseers.
So here are our recommendations: yes on AB 1340, yes on AB 2400, yes on AB 1805, and no on AB 1886 and no, no, no on the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, now officially designated as Proposition 46. Accordingly, we urge support for the No on 46 Campaign.

References, 4/29/14, Oppose AB 1886 (Eggman) Unless Amended, and California Medical Association Legislative Hot List, 6/02/14 (author accepted CMA's amendments , CMA now neutral);, 6/24/14, AB 2400 (Ridley-Thomas), Deserves Support plus an amendment;, 6/23/14, AB 1340 (Achadjian), Deserves Safe Passage;, 6/18/14, AB 1805 (Skinner & Pan), Supporting Medi-Cal and 6/16/14, Medi-Cal Patients Snubbed by State Budget;, 4/24/14, Random Drug Testing for Lawyers and 5/28/14, Drug Testing for Lawyers and Pharmaceutical Executives


  1. don't forget to add judges, attorneys & union leadership in this pee cup AND psyche evals for them allowing all of theeir complicit harm to injured workers for the last 25 years.

    1. OK, Dina, We should include all the usual suspects! -- RLW, Editor

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