Patients in California Have ‘Solid’ Rights, Zingale Says
In light of recent allegations that two physicians at Redding Medical Center performed unnecessary surgeries, patients should be aware that they have "solid rights they can exercise to prevent abuse," Daniel Zingale, director of the Department of Managed Health Care, writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. Zingale cites a patients' rights law signed by Gov. Gray Davis (D) in 1999 that gives California HMO members the right to a second opinion, even under "circumstances where a doctor tells you you're OK but your concerns linger." In addition, Zingale says that a newly enacted law allowing patients to access information about medical malpractice suits against their doctors will "go a long way toward giving patients peace of mind." To further strengthen patients' rights, Zingale notes that Assembly member Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) has introduced a bill that would require public disclosure of financial information "throughout the HMO system" and could "help raise red flags" about the kind of problems alleged at Redding. Zingale concludes, "There's only one thing Californians want more than justice: to avoid the kind of situation alleged at Redding in the first place. By exercising patients' rights and supporting passage of new protections, they can" (Zingale, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/19).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.