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Legislative Advocacy

NP Scope Bill is Derailed: Message from President Bussey

August 31, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I have some good news for the start of this Labor Day weekend.  On Friday August 30th, SB 491, the bill to expand the nurse practitioner scope of practice, suffered what may be a fatal blow.   The Assembly Appropriations Committee has opted to put the bill on suspense rather than pass it on to the full Assembly for a vote.  While the bill is not officially defeated, the likelihood of it gathering the political steam it would need to come off of suspense is highly unlikely.  You can download the UAPD press release here.

As you might imagine, these Senators have been hearing a lot from people like you and me.  Doctors appreciate the work that nurse practitioners do, but many of us have serious doubts about their ability to safely practice without physician involvement.  Hundreds of you took the time to write, call, and visit your local legislators about this issue, and I can tell you that your words made all the difference.  Credit for this victory belongs to all of you, as well as to UAPD’s Chief Legislative Representative Doug Chiappetta, who for months has been working relentlessly to defeat this bill.  Doug refused to give up even when the odds were against us, and made sure no one else in the UAPD family did either.   We look forward to working with legislators on real solutions to the physician shortage problem, things like creating more residency programs and offering incentives for doctors to work in rural and other underserved areas.

This is not the first time we’ve faced this issue, and it will certainly not be the last.  But let’s all take a moment to enjoy what we accomplished today.  Happy Labor Day.

In Solidarity,
Stuart A. Bussey, M.D., J.D.
President, UAPD

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UAPD Member Named to the Medical Board

August 21, 2013

Yesterday Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Dr. Ronald Lewis to the California Medical Board.  In addition to the many distinctions listed in the Governor’s official announcement, Dr. Lewis is an active member of UAPD.  He currently serves as the President of the State Employed Physicians Association (SEPA) Board, which advises the UAPD Executive Board on matters involving State-employed doctors.   Dr. Lewis, who has worked at Ironwood State Prison since 2008, is believed to be the first union doctor to serve on the California Medical Board.

UAPD congratulates Dr. Lewis on his latest accomplishment and thanks Governor Brown for appointing a distinguished state worker to the California Medical Board.

Read UAPD Press Release

Trial Lawyers Go After MICRA Cap

August 1, 2013

UAPD is part of a broad-based coalition that has denounced a trial lawyer sponsored ballot measure that would make it easier and more lucrative for lawyers to file lawsuits against  health care providers..

The initiative’s main provision would change California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) to increase the cap on speculative, “non- economic” damages from the current $250,000 to more than $1.2 million.  As it is currently written, MICRA already fairly compensates patients by awarding unlimited economic compensation for all economic or out-of-pocket costs, including past and future medical care, past and future lost wages, and unlimited punitive damages.

Filing a ballot measure is just the first in a long series of steps the trial lawyers must take in order to qualify their measure for the November 2014 ballot. Visit the Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) website to learn more about what doctors can do to protect MICRA.

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UAPD Continues Opposition to SB 491

August 1, 2013

SB 491, the bill to expand Nurse Practitioner scope of practice, passed the Senate in May and may soon come before the Assembly for a vote.  UAPD has made great strides in combating this dangerous bill, with the help of hundreds of UAPD members who took the time to contact members of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which holds a hearing on the bill on August 6th.

Up until the day of the August 6th hearing, doctors can continue to send opposition messages to the committee via the email of staff person Sarah.Huchel@asm.ca.gov.

Some points UAPD doctors have made in their opposition letters:

  • “This bill, which is not well thought out, will put care in the hands of people who are not professionally trained to do it.”
  • “I have great relationships with all the NPs at work. However there are numerous occasions when they feel totally out of their depth and to their credit come and ask for consultations, suggestions advice.”
  • “Scissors are skilfully used by tailors and hairdressers but you would not go to a tailor for a haircut, would you? Proper training is not a one size-fits-all type of endeavor.”
  • “I also think that independent nurse practitioner practice will likely lead to the end of the family physician. Large health care organizations will prefer to hire nurse practitioners for lower salaries and patients will not really have much say in this…As a patient I cannot support such a move.”


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SF Chronicle Publishes Op-Ed by President Bussey

June 20, 2013

Proponents of these bills (SB 491, SB 492, SB 49) claim that they will ease the provider shortage by allowing allied professionals to treat individuals in underserved areas. However, there is little evidence supporting this claim. In states like Arizona where nurse practitioners are allowed to practice independently, there has not been a shift to rural or undeserved areas — in fact, they’ve stayed right where the physicians are practicing. So the claim that SB 491 will alleviate the physician shortage in rural California is simply not true.”

Read full editorial at the San Francisco Chronicle

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Dr. Lewis Appointed to Respiratory Care Board

June 20, 2013

Ronald H. Lewis, M.D., a UAPD member and President of UAPD’s State Employed Physicians (SEPA) Board, has has been appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the Respiratory Care Board of California. Dr. Lewis works as a physician and surgeon with Ironwood State Prison.  Congratulations!

UAPD President Gives Scope Bill Status Update

June 13, 2013

By Stuart Bussey, M.D., J.D., UAPD President.

As of the June 1st legislative recess, SB 491,492,493 (the Hernandez ancillary provider trio) remain alive.  They all barely passed the Senate in the last week in May and now enter the world of Assembly committees where they will no doubt be further challenged and amended by various doctor groups, including UAPD.

Since we began questioning the wisdom of extending independent practice to NPs, optometrists and pharmacists, UAPD members have responded with a flurry of strong “nay” opinion letters which have been read by legislators and Californians all over the state.  I wrote a joint op-ed with the California Medical Association President decrying the indiscriminate scope expansion for all of these ancillaries as potential “on the job training.”  Medical care is not the place for such training.  And All Californians deserve the highest quality of care.  These bills do not ensure that equality. Read more …

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Trial Lawyers Launch Campaign to Remove MICRA Caps

June 5, 2013

Consumer Attorneys of California, representing trial lawyers, paid $6,635 to install the billboard. It is part of a coalition committed to spending $1 million in pushing to eliminate the $250,000 cap, said Eric Bailey, spokesman for trial lawyers…

Lisa Maas, executive director of Californians Allied for Patient Protection, countered that the cap on pain-and-suffering was enacted for good reason – to curtail out-of-control medical costs…

CAPP, the coalition supporting MICRA, contends that patients receive fair compensation. Only non-economic damages — pain and suffering — are capped, not lost wages, punitive damages, or past and future medical cost, the group notes.”  — From the Fresno Bee

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Support Cindy Chavez for Santa Clara County Supervisor

May 16, 2013

On June 4th, Santa Clara County will hold a special election to fill a vacant seat on the Board of Supervisors.  This is an opportunity for UAPD members to support a candidate that will represent our members fairly and equitably in Santa Clara County.  Former Vice Mayor Chavez publicly opposed the Board of Supervisor’s decision to unilaterally implement furloughs and cuts to UAPD members in 2012.  She was instrumental in getting the County back to the table, where UAPD negotiated long overdue improvements to salary and benefits for our members in that County.  Click Here to Donate Today!

Doctors Speak Out on Scope of Practice Bills

April 29, 2013

Dozens of UAPD doctors wrote letters to the editor objecting to the Sacramento Bee editorial in favor of three bills that would expand mid-level scope of practice.  So far, the Sac Bee has printed letters from UAPD members Dr. Craig Yamada, Dr. Matthew Gleason, Dr. Jeffrey Lee Neubarth, Dr. Milton Lorig, Dr. Robert Weinmann, Dr. Ali Alkoraishi, and Dr. Irvin Herman (click each name to see the letter).  Each of these letters shines light on the significant safety issues posed by these bills.

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