The State of Things - CA & Fed Health and Education Legislation

CAMILLE GIGLIO, Legislative Analyst

March 23, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - There is a 30 day waiting period between the end date for filing new bills and having those bills show up in committees. That waiting period is about to expire. Also, very likely little activity has been occurring on legislation, especially health and education bills, until the Obama Care bill is signed. So, beginning this week or next bills may be starting to move.

In the meantime here are two bills to carefully watch.

California

AB 1542, Medical Records: Homes - This bill is authored by the Assembly Health Committee. It establishes the Patient-Centered Medical Home Act pilot project. This creates the authority to assign every health care client's medical records to a specific location. It further assigns the patient to that location, or medical home, creating a patient/doctor partnership. A team of medical personnel form a contract with each patient to oversee and guide that patient's health care, mostly preventive care.

This home is sort of the gatekeeper approach to health care somewhat like the procedure for Kaiser patients, it would seem.

At this time the bill carries no penalties for a patient's failure to live up to the agreements of the health care contract. There is other legislation establishing peer review boards to track the performance level of the personnel, denying them new patients or payments for failure to provide appropriate care which could be used to punish those who fail to secure the compliance of the patient.

This bill has been sitting in committee since July, 2009, and is now beginning to see action. It has passed the Assembly and is now awaiting action in the Senate Health Committee.

The main selling point of this bill might be that this would be one way to restrain the costs of health care in the Obama bill.

Federal

HR 1303, Robert Menendez, (D-NJ), Women's Medical Home Demonstration Act. Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a three year pilot program for a women's medical home demonstration project to guide the redesign of the health care delivery system for women to oversee the delivery of "targeted, continuous, coordinated, confidential and comprehensive care to eligible individuals" beginning at age 13, or for any woman on MediCaid or Children's Health Insurance Program - CHIP.

Key elements:

This project can be headquartered at a medical facility or clinic.

It can include family planning services.

Preventing cervical cancer by immunization. That means vaccination of teen girls with Gardasil?

Overcomes "health disparities for minority women.

It will reward (or punish) the management of the care through performance-based bonus payments, incentive payments.

It will create a woman's medical home advisory council consisting of 13 stakeholders, as they call it, representing various aspects of government and private health care professional levels.

There will be a continual analysis and assessment of which women, based on "demographic facts, such as age, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status benefit the most from participating in a women's medical home."

Cost savings to Medicaid, CHIP and other federal programs will also be evaluated.

At this time there is no indication of who is sponsoring or supporting this legislation, but I have little doubt that Planned Parenthood is behind this. Becoming the controlling agent for women's health and reproductive activities has always been their goal.

SECURING JOBS

Now that the Health Care Insurance seems securely in place you may have noticed that President Obama is calling for a jobs bill. This is workforce development and it fits right into the health care over all plan just like the medical home. A healthy person is a healthy worker. A healthy worker is a happy worker. One can become a healthy and happy worker by submitting his working desires to a government controlled jobs and career training program either in a one-stop career center for adults or through technical education in the schools.More about this as it develops.

PARISH NURSING.

A Lutheran trained Minister named Granger Westberg first conceived of the idea of delivering government services to citizens by accessing the people through churches.He had accompanied a U.S. Health Department fact finding trip to China in the early 1980's, and saw the resistance of the people to direct contact by government officials. Being a minister he realized two things, A) people would have more trust in their minister than in a government official, B) people, especially women, have more trust in a woman than in a man and would confide in that woman much more easily than to a man or to a minister. He is credited with developing the delivery of "services" to parishioners in what is now termed faith based health care ministries. This is total, comprehensive health care; social, emotional, spiritual and physical.

This parish nurse, though often an actual registered nurse, can be anyone with the ability to have a pleasing personality and good listening skills. The Parish nurse often starts out as a non-paid, volunteer member of the church, but, in fact does not need to be either of the same faith or non-salaried.

The position of Parish Nurse is elevated to one of authority right alongside the pastor. She is designated as an essential provider of spiritual, physical and emotional well-being for the parish. She establishes a partnership with community organizations and attempts to match parishioners with what she determines to be needed services of a community agency.

According to one Catholic church parish nurse that I interviewed she even refers women to Planned Parenthood which is merely one of the community agencies with which she establishes a raport. Though she started out all friendly when I asked her how it was possible for a Catholic parish nurse to refer a pregnant teen to Planned Parenthood she instantly became very reserved and spoke very distinctly, saying that: it was not her position to be judgmental. She was there merely to provide information about agencies and what they provided. It was up to the person to decide which services to use and what agencies to contact.

Though the parish council may give approval for this it is seldom to never fully explained by the parishioners. It starts usually with a questionnaire being given to those attending Sunday Services. It asks parishioners what they would like to see in the way of assistance from their church and other types of somewhat invasive questions. From this they create a foregone conclusion that parishioners are "needy" and can only be brought to spiritual and physical wholeness through the aid of government programs.It has happened that parishes have received payment for directing parishioners to sign up for MediCal or Healthy Families.This parish nurse said that she brought the program to her pastor who took it to the parish council which approved it. The Bishop was not contacted for approval.The Parish Nursing Program is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and can receive start-up funding through the federal faith-based initiative legislation. Within a period of time the outside funding disappears and the parish is required to take up the costs of running this government representative-in-the-parish program.

This hands-off attitude by church officials regarding associating with Planned parenthood but not approving abortion and family planning is standard operating procedure in many Dioceses in California and elsewhere. This thinking is what enables Catholic Pastors to form associations with ACORN and PICO and its affiliates. It's sort of the Pontius Pilate syndrome.Wash your hands of the whole abortion thing, look the other way while the vulnerable are sent off to Planned Parenthood but applaud the affordable housing, community organizing training, help for immigrants, etc.

Find out if your church has a Parish Nurse Program and if your collection plate money is going for membership in a PICO type community organizing membership. I asked the parish nurse I interviewed if her pastor was active with CCISCO - the Contra Costa branch of PICO? She said: Oh, yes,he is heavily involved with CCISCO.

2010 Camille Giglio. All rights reserved.