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!