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IN THE NEWS
September 27, 2016

Mayers Patients Win Big
SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Brian Dahle won two major victories when Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills which he co-authored Friday.

Assembly Bill 2024, by Assemblyman Wood and co-authored by Dahle, allows critical-access hospitals, which serve remote areas including most of the 1st Assembly District, to directly hire and employ doctors. California currently has the strictest limits on “corporate practice of medicine” in the United States.

When doctors must establish independent practices, it is especially difficult to attract physicians — especially those graduating with large medical-school debts to rural areas. Small hospitals have long urged the Legislature to relax the rules to ease the shortage of medical providers serving rural California.

The second bill, AB 72 Assembly Bill 72 which Dahle co-authored, bars “surprise billing” by doctors who are out of a patient’s insurance network, even though they practice at an in-network hospital. This can cost unsuspecting patients thousands of dollars out of their own pocket despite their good-faith efforts to seek treatment by providers in their insurance company’s network.

For instance, a patient might choose an in-network surgeon and schedule a procedure at an in-network hospital, only to learn after the fact that she was treated by an out-of-network anesthesiologist or other specialist — sometimes while the patient wasn’t even conscious or able to make a choice.

With insurance companies increasingly steering patients into narrow networks of providers, this protection is all the more important.

“Patients can’t be expected to check the network status of every doctor while they are so sick or badly injured that they are in the hospital,” Dahle said. “This is a basic patient protection that is long overdue. California has built a model here that I fully expect to see copied nationwide.”

Assemblyman Dahle was a lead author of AB 72 along with fellow Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, from San Diego County, and Democratic Assemblymembers including Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).

“I certainly don’t always see eye to eye with the majority party in Sacramento,” Dahle said, “but I am very proud that we were able to work across party lines over the past two years to negotiate the difficult details of this legislation.”

When patients are treated by out-of-network doctors at in-network hospitals, AB 72 sets a cap on the charges, based on the average contracted insurance rate.

Native American Appreciation Day

BURNEY — The Pit River Tribe celebrated California Native American Appreciation Day at ceremonies, dances and a Tri-Tip luncheon at the Pit River Casino Friday.

Russ Hawkins Moved to Rehab
SANTA CLARA — Russ Hawkins of Bieber is expected to be moved from the Trauma section to the Rehab section of the hospital early this week.

Hawkins, who suffered a broken neck when he slid face-first down a steep hillside September 10 while Quail hunting, has been in rehab since early last week, but they have been unable to move him into regular rehab.

According to a close family friend, his condition hasn’t changed a lot and he has some feeling in his arms, hands, feet and legs. They are giving him antibiotics for a mild case of the flu.

USDA Honors Mayers

USDA State Director, Janice Waddell, presented MMHD Board and Staff with a Certificate of Recognition at the September 20th Board Meeting. MMHD was recognized for their continued commitment to addressing the critical need for health care and promoting job growth and retention in rural California. (Pictured l to r – Travis Lakey, CFO, Louis Ward, CEO, Janice Waddell and Abe Hathaway Board President).
Mayers Closed Obstetrics by the Books
FALL RIVER MILLS — When Mayers Memorial Hospital District made the decision to close the Obstetrics
department, they followed state law and the guidelines, immediately notifying California Department of Public Health, (CDPH). In response Mayers received from Sheila Ennes, CDPH Associate Governmental Program Analyst who noted, “Being that notification requirements are specific to including certain information within the notification, please move forward with posting a notice at the facility entrance and notifying the Board of Supervisors of your county in writing. Being that previous verbal communication was provided to the Board of Supervisors, notice announced in local newspaper and in community meetings… utilize that communicated effective date within the notice posted at the front entrance and the letter to the Board of Supervisors. Your facility will not be required to extend this service another 30 days.”

According to Board Secretary Valerie Lakey, they did, in fact, follow guidelines provided to the facility by (CDPH was notified by CEO, Louis Ward immediately following the July Board meeting; at which time notices were provided via social media beginning July 27, in both local papers the week of August 1st, and a public meeting August 23. Additionally, notification was posted on the facility’s website beginning July 28. The discussion surrounding the challenges of the Obstetrics Department has been a continual one over the past few years. The final determination came in July after staffing became a constant challenge. Chairman Abe Hathaway again addressed the issue at the August board meeting stating,

“This is about liability and staffing; there is not a financial piece. We are concerned about patient quality and care and being able to provide the service we advertise. The Board decided based on keeping the hospital viable. We are in a liability disadvantage. We cannot advertise something we cannot provide. The board has the best interest of the whole community at heart.” The board has ratified the decision.


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