State Prop. 46: What would raising the malpractice cap do?

[ Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

roby_southwestern3At a Proposition 46 debate at Southwestern Law School, the Center’s Dylan Roby said states with caps on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice have lower medical malpractice premiums than states without caps, but those caps make no difference in overall healthcare spending, the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to the state voter’s guide, California Proposition 46 — the Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cap and Drug Testing of Doctors Initiative — would do the following:

  • Increase the current $250,000 pain and suffering cap in medical negligence lawsuits to $1.1 million, with annual adjustments for inflation.
  • Require hospitals to test certain doctors for  alcohol and drug use.
  • Require health practitioners to consult a state patient drug history database before prescribing controlled substances.

Read the story, or watch the law school’s debate video.

Nearly 1.3 million California women report having serious mental stress

[ Posted on October 26th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

Nearly 1.3 million women in California – 9 percent of the state’s adult females– experience serious psychological distress (SPD) in a given year, according to a new Public Health Institute policy brief that uses data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS).

The study’s authors, including Center Faculty Associate Roberta Wyn, found that half the women also suffer from chronic medical conditions — asthma, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke — yet 1 in 4 don’t receive mental health care. The authors suggest that passage of the Affordable Care Act should help improve access to care.

Using CHIS data from 2011-12, the study found that one in 10 women age 18-44 said they had SPD. The poorest women (0-199 percent of FPL) were more than twice as likely to report SPD compared with women at 400 percent of FPL (12.5 percent compared to 5.9 percent), and single women with children had significantly higher rates of SPD than women in other family structures.

Read the policy brief.

Tomorrow: Ponce at youth climate, global health event

[ Posted on October 24th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

Ninez Ponce, the Center’s Associate Director and Director of the UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, will be part of the 1st Annual Global Health Symposium on Youth Engagement at the Sustainable Earth Decathlon 2014 tomorrow at Metro Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

Other policy, practice, and research leaders scheduled to be on the panel:

  • Senator Kevin deLeon, California Senate President pro Tempore
  • Wm. Jahmal Miller, Deputy Director, CDPH-Office of Health Equity
  • Piyachat Terrell, Program Officer, US EPA – Pathway

Event information here.

Report: Latino children and families in California

[ Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

packard130pxlA new report from the Lucile Packard Foundation finds California’s Latino children raised in primarily Spanish-speaking households trail behind Latino and white children in primarily English-speaking households in terms of health access, educational attainment and neighborhood/community support. California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data from 2011-12 were used to illustrate disparities in health access, income and other areas.

The report also found that Latino children in Spanish-speaking households fare as well or better than children in English-speaking households in terms of family practices that promote a healthy home environment, such as eating meals together daily and living in a non-smoking home.

Some CHIS data in the report:

  • Source of health care: 58% of Latino minors from Spanish-speaking households go to clinics for health care, compared to 18% of children from English-speaking households.
  • Financial stress: 54% of Latino minors from Spanish-speaking households live in a household at 99% or under of FPL, compared to 20% of Latino children from English-speaking households.
  • Mixed families: 91% of Latino minors are U.S.-born citizens, while 36% of their mothers are U.S.-born citizens

Read the report.

Tracking changes in access to care under Medi-Cal expansion

[ Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

Associate Center Director Ninez Ponce will be part of a California Healthcare Foundation briefing in Sacramento today at noon to discuss new research about Medi-Cal enrollees’ access to care before the state’s expansion of Medi-Cal and how to use that information to monitor access to care under health reform.

Discussion will include how Medi-Cal enrollees’ access to care compares to that of Medicaid recipients in other states and to Californians with employer-sponsored insurance.

Other panelists include:

  • Janet Coffman, associate professor, UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
  • Toby Douglas, director, California Department of Health Care Services
  • Sharon Long, senior fellow, Urban Institute
  • Chris Perrone, director, CHCF Health Reform and Public Programs initiative (moderator)
  • Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access

The panel will respond to audience questions.

Join the briefing online or by telephone here.

Confusion over effects of Proposition 45

[ Posted on October 14th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]


About a million Californians who have health coverage not purchased on the state exchange could have their premium increases kept in check with the passage of Proposition 45, said Dylan Roby, the director of the Center’s Health Economics and Evaluation program, in a Capital Public Radio report. But Covered California, which negotiates its own rates with insurers, said giving the state insurance commisser the power to reject rate hikes could interfere with its marketplace.

Roby also said in the story that passage of Prop. 45 could result in more bureaucracy and duplication of effort, since there are already two existing state health regulatory agencies, the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance.

Listen to or read the story.

panelprop45Watch a related pro/con discussion about Prop. 45, from the UCLA Fielding School Health Forum that took place Oct. 1. Roby moderated the session, and panelists were Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access, Martin Gallegos, Senior V.P. for Policy and Communications at the Hospital Association of Southern California and Herb Schultz, President and CEO of Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center.

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