Californians Urge Healthy Food and Jobs Focus in Fast Tracked Farm Bill

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California postcard
I Wish They All Could Be California Figs

Oakland, Calif. — More than 60 public health, nutrition, food, farm and environmental groups representing hundreds of thousands of California citizens are urging Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s congressional delegation to support healthy food reforms as the Congressional super committee crafts a new five-year farm bill.

Environmental Working Group is a leading sponsor of the advocates letter and petition, along with Center for Science in the Public Interest, Roots of Change, Prevention Institute, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Pesticide Action Network North America and Food and Water Watch.

“In this difficult budget environment, we must invest our money where it will generate the greatest good,” Kari Hamerschlag, a senior analyst at Environmental Working Group, said. “That means investing in conservation, research, nutrition, local and organic food and fruit and vegetable production and promotion. These programs will save us billions in health care costs, while creating jobs, supporting family farmers and protecting our valuable water and soil resources for future generations of farming.”

“We can find billions of dollars in taxpayer savings by limiting support to the largest most profitable farming operations that do not need our help,” Hamerschlag said.

The letter and petition, delivered on National Food Day, Monday October 24, demonstrate a broad consensus in California, the largest grower of vegetables, fruits, and nuts, that top priority for federal funding should go to local food production, nutrition, research and conservation programs.

The petition has been signed by more than 16,000 California citizens. It urges the California delegation in Washington to stand up for healthy and sustainable food and farming policies. Advocates plan to descend on Congressional offices over the next few weeks to press their case.

Continue reading Californians Urge Healthy Food and Jobs Focus in Fast Tracked Farm Bill

The Doctor Is In … Your Laptop

doctor reaching out of computer screen with stethoscope
Log in and cough

By Jasmine Viel – email

New Law Will Help Rural Medical Patients

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday to improve the way aid is delivered, and other health-related services, through telecommunications technologies, used mostly by patients living in rural communities.

In a news release from North State Assemblyman and Republican Chief Whip Dan Logue Friday, he announced the Governor passed Assembly Bill 415: The Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011.

“This legislation is vitally important not only for those that live in rural California, but all Californians,” stated Steve Barrow, Executive Director of the California State Rural Health Association, in the news release. “AB 415 will likely serve as model legislation for similar changes across the nation.”

The Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011, sponsored by CSRHA, will make it easier for health care providers to use telehealth in the treatment of patients, especially in underserved, rural areas of the state. AB 415 was strongly supported by a wide array of groups in the health care industry, including doctor associations, hospitals, patient advocates, and insurance companies.

“AB 415 will be extremely beneficial to people in rural districts like mine, because it will allow health care providers to deliver better care at a lower cost to people that were previously out of reach,” commented Logue, in the release Friday. “Telehealth is a valuable tool that helps to connect patients in underserved areas of the state to doctors and specialists that are located far from where the patients reside.”

AB 415 would eliminate several obstacles in California law to using telehealth in the delivery of health care.  The bill makes several significant improvements, including removing a requirement that doctors first document a barrier to the patient obtaining an in-person visit before they can use telehealth, eliminating a requirement that doctors first obtain an additional written consent form from the patient, and eliminating unnecessary requirements for doctors to be independently credentialed with every hospital to which they provide telehealth services.  Overall, AB 415 cleans up California law so that doctors and hospitals are able to use telehealth more effectively.

The bill will come into effect on January 1, 2012.

Transitional Duty Tips… Always a Hot Topic

man cleaning giant clock faces
Clocking in is a win win

Probably the topic that raises the most eyebrows whenever we mention it; transitional duty programs. All the research we’ve seen from the medical profession side of things indicates that transitional duty not only benefits the employers bottom line but is also beneficial to the employee’s mental and physical health.

Successfully returning employees to work is one of the best ways to reduce workers compensation costs because … the longer an employee is out of work, the more the claim will cost! Medical bills will increase, and so will lost wages.

Several Tips for Transitional Duty are:

• Have the employee work their regular shift so no transportation or childcare problems occur.

• Consider paying full earnings temporarily, even for partial work hours, to avoid paying lost wage benefits.

• Obtain employee’s feedback about the transitional duty position.

We have even more tips at our blog posting here: