Escondido, CA
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Healthcare: Sacramento concerns; local impacts



As a member of the Assembly Com­mittee on Health, I understand that de­cisions made in that committee have a deep impact on the lives of the people I serve at home. The cost of care, health insurance issues, formularies, access to new treatments and astounding innova­tions and even cures are major debates in our committee each week.

AB 59, a bill I introduced early this session, is a perfect example. The bill passed the Health Committee last year, the full Assembly in January, and now awaits final Senate approval. AB 59 will extend the January 2017 sunset date for Assisted Outpatient Treatment for the Mentally Ill, (known as Laura’s Law) by five years. Through passage of AB 59, San Diego County, one of 12 other participating California counties, will continue to benefit from this impor­tant health and public safety legislation.

My legislation also includes AB 1739 allowing Medi-Cal primary care doc­tors to administer allergy blood tests in place of skin prick tests if needed to efficiently aid in allergen diagnosis. Right now this is not covered for Medi- Cal patients and must be administered by a specialist.

As a member of the Select Commit­tee on Infectious Diseases in High Risk Disadvantaged Communities, chaired by Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Car­son), I was pleased to co-host a com­mittee hearing at UCSD with Assem­blyman Gipson to solicit input from health care providers and experts on outreach to at-risk communities in our region regarding testing, treatments and health coverage options.

During the July break, I also partici­pated in an open house ceremony at Borrego Health’s new Centro Medico Escondido clinic. Our local clinics do an amazing job of providing af­fordable and quality care to our un­derserved community and increasing much needed access to preventative and non-emergency care. Sometimes, just publicizing the availability of local health care resources can raise citizen awareness and save tax dollars. Our clinics provide high quality health care while keeping patients out of expensive hospital emergency rooms.

It is an honor to serve you on our As­sembly Health committee. I will con­tinue to work on improving our Health Benefits Review process to include the value of life-long patient outcomes and early treatment to innovative cures as opposed to only looking at costs.

Preventative care and education about available treatment options goes a long way to establish good doctor/patient re­lationships and healthy lifestyle habits. As always, the committee’s plate will be full when the new session begins in January!

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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