Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Union fight underscores Richard Pan emergency room bill

Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, greets supporters at his election night party in Sacramento on Nov. 4, 2014.
Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, greets supporters at his election night party in Sacramento on Nov. 4, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

Last year, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West helped bankroll independent expenditure committees that spent more than $1.3 million to elect state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, in a tight intraparty race.

Now Pan is wading into the union’s biggest ongoing battle: stopping the purchase of the nonprofit Daughters of Charity Health System, which operates six hospitals in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, by for-profit chain Prime Healthcare Services.

Pan will introduce legislation, 11 a.m. in Room 1190 of the Capitol, banning hospitals from having severely drunk patients arrested. The bill sets financial penalties for hospitals that call 911 rather than treat those patients in the emergency room.

The announcement singled out Prime: “I know it sounds incredible, but some hospitals in California – especially those in one particular hospital system – routinely call 911 and have patients with potentially lethal levels of alcohol in their systems taken to jail,” Pan said in a statement.

Pan is among the dozens of lawmakers who have urged Attorney General Kamala Harris to reject the Daughters of Charity deal, which will be decided next month, citing concerns that Prime would cut services for low-income patients, as well as workers’ pay and benefits. SEIU-UHW, which represents Daughters of Charity employees, has been leading the campaign against the purchase.

VIDEO: California will be thrown for a loop if Arizona legislators win their Supreme Court case to maintain control of redistricting, Dan Walters says.

ELECTION ANALYSIS: Haven’t had your fill of November election analysis in the the last three months? UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies hosts a two-day postmortem, starting at 1 p.m. at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley. Political strategists Ace Smith and Aaron McLear discuss the gubernatorial race; former Brown adviser Steve Glazer, who lost a bruising Assembly primary, considers how the new top-two system might have impacted the results; and California Democratic Party executive director Shawnda Westly participates in a panel about the state of the parties, moderated by The Bee’s political editor Amy Chance. Other sessions focus on the growth of independent expenditures, local battles over soda taxes and fracking bans, and voter turnout.

HARRIS ON TRAFFICKING: Harris will deliver the keynote address at a human trafficking symposium hosted by the UCLA Law Review, 11:30 a.m. at UCLA’s Ackerman Student Union. Last year, she urged California lawmakers to put more money toward fighting international organized crime syndicates, which frequently traffic sex workers into the state.

DE LEÓN ON ADVOCACY: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León visits La Raza Roundtable, a monthly forum for community organizations, to discuss advocacy and leadership development, 6 p.m. in San Jose.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to state Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, who turns 59 today.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 10:39 a.m. with more information on the Daughters of Charity Health System.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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