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December 30, 2008 | Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber
California's failure to check the criminal backgrounds of health professionals extends well beyond nurses, encompassing tens of thousands of doctors, dentists, psychiatric technicians and therapists. The Times reported this fall that regulators had not vetted about 195,000 of the state's registered and vocational nurses, exposing patients to caregivers with histories of violence, addiction, predatory behavior or corruption.
December 19, 2008 | David G. Savage
The Bush administration announced its "conscience protection" rule for the healthcare industry Thursday, giving doctors, hospitals, and even receptionists and volunteers in medical experiments the right to refuse to participate in medical care they find morally objectionable. "This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience," said outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.
December 17, 2008 | Mark Magnier
Since the gruesome Mumbai terrorist attacks, mental health experts understandably have been in big demand here. But India, with 1.1 billion people, has only 4,000 psychiatrists, and efforts to provide adequate professional help for those traumatized by the rampage is proving a daunting task. Psychiatrists say it's not unusual to arrive at rural clinics and find 300 people waiting to see them. Each patient receives five minutes of attention at best.
December 13, 2008 | Evelyn Larrubia
A controversial poll of unionized healthcare workers in California came to a close this week, with 86% voting in favor of a single statewide long-term healthcare worker local. The vote by the Service Employees International Union asked certain members of locals 521 and 6434 as well as United Healthcare Workers West, whether they preferred to consolidate into a single healthcare union or only to consolidate the long-term workers, which include nursing home employees and home health aides.
December 6, 2008 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Health workers are on the verge of eradicating Guinea worm disease in what would be just the second time in history that a disease has been wiped from the planet, the Carter Center said Friday. Cheap interventions such as hygiene education, using larvicides to kill the worm and distributing inexpensive cloths to help filter parasites from drinking water have cut the infection rate by 99%, the center said. Fewer than 5,000 cases of Guinea worm disease, also known as dracunculiasis, remain in Mali, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia, the Atlanta-based center said.
November 24, 2008 | Evelyn Larrubia, Larrubia is a Times staff writer.
The presidential election has come to an end, but a stormy political battle of another sort is in high gear in labor circles, with long-ranging consequences for California healthcare workers. At issue is whether as many as 300,000 employees now represented by three separate local unions across the state will be rolled into one enormous local, a proposal that was put to a nonbinding vote of members on Monday.
October 21, 2008 | Gale Holland
After a yearlong impasse, the University of California has reached a tentative labor contract with 11,000 patient care workers. The pact calls for the minimum wage for workers at the system's five medical centers to be raised to $14.50 an hour over five years. It also provides salary parity for existing employees and new hires, sets up a step system to reward workers for years of service and guarantees extra pay for overtime work. Officials with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will recommend that its members ratify the contract when they meet early next month.
August 22, 2008 | Rob Stein, Washington Post
The Bush administration Thursday announced plans to implement a controversial regulation designed to protect antiabortion healthcare workers from being required to deliver services against their personal beliefs. The rule empowers federal health officials to pull funding from more than 584,000 hospitals, clinics, health plans, doctors' offices and other entities that do not accommodate employees who refuse to participate in care they find objectionable on personal, moral or religious grounds.
July 27, 2008 | Mary Engel, Times Staff Writer
During a typical 12-hour shift, Hector Hernandez can be found in just about any corner of Kaiser Sunset, tending to premature infants and the elderly, to patients with asthma and those with AIDS, to heart attack victims and survivors of car wrecks. He connects patients to ventilators, evaluates lung capacity and blood gases and administers oxygen and aerosol medications. Clad in green scrubs and white running shoes, he is often the first to arrive on a "code blue" -- the term that is broadcast when a patient has stopped breathing.
March 11, 2008 | Charles Ornstein, Times Staff Writer
In light of widespread failings in a state-run treatment program for substance-abusing doctors, a key state senator said Monday that audits are needed of similar programs for nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals. Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) called a legislative hearing in the wake of a decision by the Medical Board of California last year to abolish its confidential addiction program after five audits found that it was not working.
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