California Regulators Say Furloughs Will Not Hurt Health Care Quality
California officials say that health care will not be compromised by mandatory furloughs Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has ordered for state employees, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The furloughs began Friday.
Nancy Kincaid, a spokesperson for the state Department of Mental Health, said state employees who provide patient care will report to work so that state facilities comply with licensing and accreditation requirements.
State employees who work on designated furlough days will accumulate the furlough time and use it at another time.
Ken August, a spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health, said that state health care regulators also will be available during the furloughs.Â
In a written statement, he said, "The licensing staff will be able to respond to emergency situations, just like they currently do for situations that occur on weekends and holidays. The field offices will be open to receive complaints and facility-reported events and to respond accordingly."
Pat McGinnis, executive director of the consumer group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, expressed relief that nursing home inspectors will work on furlough days but voiced concerns that nursing home investigations could be delayed (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/6).The mandatory furloughs are projected to save the state $1.3 billion through June 2010 as the state works to solve its budget deficit (California Healthline, 1/12). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.