Unions Criticize Bill That Aims To Boost Discipline for Calif. Health Workers
The California Nurses Association, Service Employees International Union and other groups representing health care workers are criticizing components of a bill (SB 1111) that aims to standardize the disciplinary process for licensed health professionals accused of serious wrongdoing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A provision in the bill would require employers to report workers who are fired or suspended for misconduct. Many states have similar reporting requirements.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has prioritized changes to the health worker disciplinary system since the Times and the not-for-profit news organization ProPublica published an investigative report last July that found the California Board of Registered Nursing sometimes takes years to settle misconduct complaints against nurses.
Vote on Tap
Today, the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development is set to vote on the legislation. If the panel does not advance the bill, it will be dead for the session.
Committee Chair Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) said she is uncertain whether the measure has enough votes to move forward.
Union Positions on Bill
In the letters to the Senate panel, the unions said they support many pieces of the legislation, including efforts to speed up the disciplinary process and grant the Board of Registered Nursing the authority to hire its own investigators.
However, the letters also objected to elements of the bill that they said could undermine workers' rights to due process.
In addition, the nurses association said the reporting requirement could punish whistleblowers who are unfairly terminated by their employers (Weber/Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 4/17).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.