CONSUMER ADVOCACY: Attorney General, UC-Berkeley Combine Efforts
The University of California-Berkeley will house "an unprecedented research center dedicated to studying the health care industry and shaping public policy to protect patients," the Contra Costa Times reports. The $2 million center is being financed by the settlement of a lawsuit brought against Levi Strauss & Co. for alleged price-fixing. It will be named after state Sen. Nick Petris (D-Oakland), who championed affordable health care during his 37 years in the state Legislature, and will be part of the university's School of Public Health. A group of health care providers, professors and experts from the attorney general's office will draft the research agenda, the first project of which will focus on "the consolidation among hospitals and [HMOs]." The center plans to share its findings with lawmakers, regulators, consumer advocates and health care providers. Richard Scheffler, the UC-Berkeley professor who will head the center, said, "This will help ensure that the health care market provides high-quality care at competitive prices." Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) said, "We need to have solid, reasoned research that will inform public policy." The Nicholas Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare is expected to be operational by fall (Squatriglia, 6/24). It will "focus on affordablity and access to health care, especially for low-and moderate-income consumers (Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/24).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.