The new California Senate Health Committee Chair, Democrat
Elaine Alquist, wrote two of the new laws to help prevent medical
errors, privacy breaches and hospital acquired infections.
"The goal is to make hospitals a really safe place so that
people are not afraid to go there and they can be cured of whatever
is ailing them."
Alquist says 10,000 Californians die each year from staph
infections called MRSA they get at the hospital. Under her
legislation, hospitals are required to report these infections to
the state, train employees on how to prevent them and screen
high-risk patients for MRSA. By 2011 the state will publicly post
hospital infection rates online. Alquist says her other bill deals
with patient privacy.
"What we were finding is there has actually been over 5,000
patients' medical records that have been breached
Alquist says now hospitals will be fined $25,000 for each
compromised medical record. And, the law increases fines for
As for other new health care laws…insurance companies will have
to pay for HIV testing. Criminal background checks are required for
Emergency Medical Technicians starting in 2010. And for families,
college kids on their parent's health insurance who take sick leave
from school will now be able to keep their coverage.