vals smoking as the largest cause of preventable disease and death. 40% of California’s children are now obese, and daily servings of sugary drinks and sodas significantly contribute to this. SB 1000 would require beverages containing over 75 calories per 12-ounce serving to be sold with a safety warning, so that consumers can make informed decisions. Self-Referral: In general, physicians are prohibited from referring a patient to another medical professional in which a physician or their family has a financial interest or receives a referral fee. However, there is an “in-office exception” which allows our patients to receive integrated care if a physician and the medical equipment are located at one facility. This is consistent with federal law as well. Senator Hernandez’s SB 1215 attempted to prevent this. So, if a patient came to me for a suspected pneumonia, I would not be able to send the patient for an x-ray in our office to make a timely diagnosis. I would be forced to send this patient to an outside radiology office to get their x-ray. This would delay their diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, if a pregnant woman came in to see her OB/GYN, a fetal ultrasound could not been done in the office and the worried mother would then have to be sent outside to get her study. This bill simply did not make sense and we worked to oppose it. I am happy to report that this bill was just defeated and did not make it out of committee. Medical Residency Training Programs: Medicare has frozen residency training funding since 1997. Since then, the population of California has grown 20% and medical students graduating from our medical schools are forced to look for residency slots outside our state. These residents then often live and practice close to where they trained. California is experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians and AB 2458 provides funding for primary care residency programs in medically underserved areas of our state. Finally, no trip this year to Sacramento would be complete without highlighting MICRA. The trial lawyers have enough signatures to put their anti-MICRA initiative on the ballot. The coalition to defeat the anti-MICRA measure continues to grow and includes physicians, community health clinics, hospitals, family-planning organizations, unions, local leaders, public
safety officials, businesses, and the ACLU. It is imperative that we defeat the anti-MICRA initiative, otherwise, malpractice insurance costs for all physicians in the state will skyrocket. Although the California Medical Association (CMA) and its allies have raised several million dollars to protect MICRA on your behalf, we need the help of individual physicians like yourself. I urge you to learn more about MICRA and how you can help in the fight by visiting www.cmanet.org/micra and then making a contribution to either SACPAC or CALPAC to protect MICRA. In conclusion, although the CMA has some of the best lobbyists, lawyers, and advocates in the state capitol, our most powerful weapon is you. A physician dressed in their white coat, speaking with frontline experience and on behalf of their patients, is a powerful voice that can make all the difference for a legislator facing a complicated health care issue. Our strength is in our numbers and we are strongest when each of you speaks up and is heard. I want to thank all the medical students, residents, and physicians who took the time out of their busy schedules and practices to take the bus trip to Sacramento this year to speak on your behalf. I want to encourage all of you to get on the bus in April 2015, and to join us at the CMA House of Delegates, this year, from December 5 – 7 in San Diego.
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