California Healthline Highlights Recent County News
Health advocates with the Act Now Against Meth Coalition collected approximately 10,000 signatures requesting that Los Angeles County supervisors declare methamphetamine abuse a public health emergency, KQED's "The California Report" reports. The coalition includes HIV/AIDS advocates, faith-based groups and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Although the Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday did not declare an emergency, they did request that county health officials make fighting methamphetamine use a higher priority, according to KQED.
The segment includes comments from Tim Young, a member of the coalition (Myrow, "The California Report," KQED, 9/20). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Sacramento County officials are considering terminating as many as 11 county pharmacists who did not return to work on Wednesday after their union said a strike had ended, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Steve Lakich, county director of labor relations, said a letter informing the pharmacists that they have until Tuesday to return to work could go out as early as today. If the pharmacists do not return to work by the deadline, the county could fire them or act on a provision of a labor agreement that says employees who do not report to work for five days resign their position, Lakich said.
Judy Steinke -- business agent for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 146, which represents the pharmacists -- said the pharmacists would still be underpaid after pay increases included in a new tentative contract agreement (Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 9/21).
San Diego County may receive more school-based health centers as a result of legislation signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday, KPBS' "KPBS News" reports (Tintocalis, "KPBS News," KPBS, 9/20).
Schwarzenegger signed several pieces of legislation addressing children's health care and health benefits, including AB 2560 by Assembly member Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), which will support the development of 500 school-based health clinics (California Healthline, 9/21).
Jessie Wallace, a nurse in the San Diego Unified School District, said school-based clinics provide care to many uninsured students ("KPBS News," KPBS, 9/20).
The complete transcript of the segment is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
County nurses and union workers might strike if their petitions for improved pay and benefits are not met, the Stockton Record reports. Union officials on Tuesday presented the petitions to the county Board of Supervisors.
The California Nurses Association, Service Employees International Union Local 790 and the Correctional Officers Association are seeking contracts that would include annual cost-of-living increases and health care benefits for retired nurses, hospital staff, road and maintenance workers, and 911 dispatchers.
San Joaquin is one of the few counties in the state that does not offer paid health insurance benefits for retirees, the Record reports.
CNA members will vote on Oct. 11 to decide if they should organize a strike. Catherine Prasad, a nurse at San Joaquin General, said they could stop work even before the vote (Kane, Stockton Record, 9/20).
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to reject Kaiser Permanente's bid to provide health care benefits to county employees, the Ventura County Star reports. Kaiser did not submit a bid in the spring, when proposals were due, but submitted one after purchasing Buenaventura Medical Group, the largest physician group in the county.
County supervisors awarded the contract to Health Net. Kaiser's rejected bid was nearly $144 lower than the monthly premium charged by Health Net.
The decision will require 419 county employees and 133 retirees, and their dependents, to find new physicians in January because Kaiser's Buenaventura Medical Group will accept only Kaiser patients after that point.
Health Net's proposed plan will reduce employees' current contributions for private health plans by about 8%, according to county Human Resources Director Barry Zimmerman (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 9/20).