SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the largest union representing licensed physicians and dentists, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), announced the introduction of Senate Bill 422.
This legislation, authored by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and sponsored by UAPD, amends the State Civil Services Act so that the State can expand healthcare services at state prisons and hospitals. Modeled after a successful Los Angeles County partnership with UAPD, the state would establish an employment registry for state physicians and other professionals who wish to remain at their place of employment but seek additional work through flexible scheduling.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic there is an urgent need to improve accountability and continuity of care at California State facilities,” said Senator Richard Pan, MD, a pediatrician. “This best can be achieved by providing patients entrusted with state care greater access to the quality care provided by state physicians.”
As of July 2020, data reveals a vacancy rate of 29% among all state medical professionals, and within some state agencies the vacancy rate for psychiatrists ranges from 47%-87%. To partially satisfy the state’s lack of physicians, private contractors are utilized at a much greater cost to California taxpayers.
“Current civil service laws limit the ability for state physicians to work additional hours which can disrupt a patient’s continuity and quality of care,” said Dr. Stuart Bussey. “This legislation will improve patient care, all the while saving taxpayer dollars by reducing the State’s dependency on costly contractors.”
Senate Bill 422 will also establish eligibility and compensation for registry work. The bill would require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Department of State Hospitals, by January 1, 2026, to conduct a study of the effectiveness of the registry to determine if the registry compensation rates were successful in addressing the operational needs for flexible services at a lower cost than contract registries.
Dr. Richard Pan represents Sacramento in California’s 6th Senate District and serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health.