The San Bernardino Sun recently detailed the increasing demand for primary care physicians and the effort to draw new doctors to that role.
San Bernardino Sun
The Doctor Is … Out
Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
San Bernardino/Riverside counties have a significant physician shortage of about 3,000, according to local medical school officials.
While the situation has not yet reached crises for the area’s larger cities, medical experts have concerns about the future, when a series of events could push current shortage levels into unhealthy territory.
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Two of our esteemed doctors, Drs. Alesia Wagner and Franz Ritucci, spoke with California Healthline recently about the growth of urgent care. Check out what they had to say:
Use of Urgent Care Growing in Southern California
By Stephanie Stephens, California Healthline Regional Correspondent
Having matured from their early 1970s image of “Docs in a Box,” urgent care centers are growing in popularity with patients who would rather not wait to see a doctor — whether in an office or in the emergency department.
Urgent care’s growth is partly attributable to immediate and projected shortages of primary care physicians. California barely meets the nationally recognized standard for the number of primary care physicians. According to a July 2010 California HealthCare Foundation report, only the Orange, Sacramento, and Bay Area regions meet the recommended supply. Los Angeles falls just below.
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Every businessperson does what they can to protect their company. Strategic planning is a part of every move to ensure the likelihood of success. Insurance provides all sorts of protection. But even so, we sometimes forget to protect our most valuable resources – our people. People are the backbone of any organization. In today’s economy each person can be mission critical in carrying out the effective operations of any business, large or small.
Earlier this year, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) declared an epidemic of whooping cough (Pertussis), a highly contagious bacterial illness spread by coughs and sneezes. Transmission can also occur indirectly through touching contaminated shared surfaces in common areas. The work environment is a potential place for Pertussis to spread quickly.
Although Pertussis most significantly impacts the health of infants and children; adults who get infected with the bacteria can potentially be off work for months due to severe coughing attacks. Employees may also spread infection to their children, who can become severely ill. The employee may require time to care for their family and need to take time away from work.
In response to the high levels of Pertussis in the community, the CDPH is recommending that all Californians make sure that they are immunized against this disease, especially if they are in contact with infants and children. Many adults may require “booster” vaccinations to achieve immunity.
The Tdap vaccine which became available in 2005 offers the best protection against whooping cough. The threat of Pertussis affecting employees and the potential effect on businesses is clear. Vaccination is the best defense against whooping cough.
- Dr. Minh Q. Nguyen, Area Medical Director
By Dr. Donald Bucklin
Juggling the need for a drug-free workplace with the rights of employees might get a lot more complex in California after Nov. 2.
That’s when Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use — not just medical reasons — will be voted on by Californians. Polls show it could very well pass.
Should the measure become law, every employer will be asking, “How does this impact my drug testing policies and my hiring process?”
As it’s currently written, Proposition 19 says that employers would retain all existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs employees’ work performance.
But legalized marijuana could create significant conflicts, particularly if an employer is unprepared and doesn’t have a clear drug use policy. That’s because many employers have a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to employee drug use, conducting drug testing before and during employment.
Read the rest of the column here (subscription required).
Posted in Healthcare Trends, Latest Healthcare News, Occupational Healthcare
Tagged businesses, California, drug testing, election, Marijuana, policies, proposition 19, sacramento, workplace
California now finds itself with hundreds of Medical Marijuana Dispensing Clinics and is set to vote on legalizing it completely in November.
Yet its citizens still lose jobs over marijuana positive drug screens.
So is a Medical Marijuana Card a “Get out of Jail Free Card”; or is it worth about as much as me giving you permission not to pay your taxes?
The only straight forward part of this is the law. It starts with the Federal Government, and the DEA. Marijuana is still listed as a Class 1 drug with LSD, Heroin and several others. That means a doctor can’t prescribe marijuana under federal law. Despite all arguments, unless that changes the whole California initiative may be a bit of a moot point.
Marijuana is compared to alcohol all the time. But this is fundamentally a false comparison. Alcohol does a lot of bad things, but is a legal drug.
The big difference between alcohol and marijuana is verifiability. A breath alcohol or blood alcohol test can easily determine if you are impaired by alcohol. It is inexpensive and very reliable technology. There is no way to reliably determine if someone is impaired by marijuana. And there lies the rub.
Everybody agrees marijuana distorts the sensorium, otherwise what’s the point. Right this minute most large employers, private and federal, state and local, fear most that an employee can’t be proven to be impaired or unimpaired. This uncertainty clouds this issue like uncertainty affects the stock market (negatively, with a vengeance).
So the future of marijuana is not dependent on its many physiologic effects. Rather it is dependent on the development of technology to monitor its use.
- Dr Don Bucklin, National MRO, AKA “Dr B”
Every member of our staff does exceptional work every day, but there are some employees that seem to excel beyond expectations.
This spring, we recognized a few of those stand-out team members at our 2nd U.S. HealthWorks Medical Symposium in Pasadena.
We began by honoring those who have led the way for others. Six individuals received the Leadership Award, which recognizes those who have gone above and beyond treating their patients. They have exhibited exceptional management skills in both their clinics and within their communities. These recipients demonstrate a powerful, personal commitment to the success of U.S. HealthWorks:
- Syed Saquib, MD – Irwindale
- Steve Nall, MD – Northside
- Edward Demmi, MD – Medero
- Carlos Garrett, MD – City of Industry
- Donna Diziki, MD – Edison
- Minh Nguyen, DO – Hillcrest (no photo)
- David Rollins, MD (no photo)
- Thomas Savoie, MD (no photo)
Next, we awarded four outstanding physicians with the Employer Relations Award. These folks have collaborated successfully with our business partners and the community in order to reach their health care needs. These honorees have ensured quality patient care, including excellent communication, treatment and follow up:
- Richard Amegadzie, MD – Rahway
- Rodolfo Ruiz-Velasco, MD – National City
- Scott Bischoff, MD – Stafford (no photo)
- Cori Repp, MD – Bradenton (no photo)
Then there are those U.S. HealthWorks superstars who embody everything you’d want in a team player. The Team Player awards celebrate the invaluable support these individuals have given to their co-workers and respective clinics. These recipients have exceeded expectations by doing more than what is asked of them and by making their clinics a more effective and positive working environment:
- Betsy McKendry, MD – Southcenter
- Bruce Hoang, DO – Santee
- Robert Wagner, MD – Berkeley (no photo)
- Bernard McDermott, DO – Oxnard (no photo)
Lastly, there are just some people who are the glue that supports and holds a medical community together. Our Outstanding Physicians Assistant awards are for those who have shown exceptional leadership in serving clients. These honorees have gone beyond day-to-day patient care by demonstrating exemplary service to the PA profession and the community:
- Victor San Roman, PA – Riverside
- Shauna Cole, PA – Kearny Mesa (no photo)
- Karen Manitsas, PA – Oakland (no photo)
Congratulations to all of our award winners! We can’t thank you enough for the services you provide every single day.