California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Launches New Public Health Department

The new Department of Public Health is set to begin managing public health threats in California and help the state devote more attention to emergency preparedness and health information technology, the Contra Costa Times reports (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 7/3).

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last year signed legislation (SB 162) to create the Department of Public Health and reorganize the Department of Health Services. DHS will continue to oversee Medi-Cal and other state insurance programs (California Healthline, 9/15/06).

The public health department will allow state officials to place a greater emphasis on health threats such as bioterrorism, tuberculosis and obesity.

The department also is intended to:

  • Prepare the state to handle an aging population;
  • Expand use of electronic health records;
  • Upgrade the state's computer database; and
  • Improve patient safety (Contra Costa Times, 7/3).
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