Calif. radiation bill goes to governor

A California bill that would implement new procedures and reporting requirements to protect patients from medical radiation overdoses passed a procedural vote in the state Senate on August 30 and has been sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.

SB 1237 was passed by the Senate in May and the state Assembly on August 26, but another Senate vote was required to approve amendments tacked on by the Assembly. Schwarzenegger has until September 30 to sign or veto the legislation; a spokesperson told today that the governor hasn't yet taken a position on the bill.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), said that the California Department of Public Health will provide a recommendation to the governor as to whether or not the legislation is worthy of a signature.

"The senator and staff have worked consistently with the California Department of Public Health on any amendments we have taken," Taryn Kinney, a legislative aide to Padilla, told in an e-mail.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also in the process of implementing radiation protection measures that will take effect in 2012, but California's history of medical radiation accidents made the state law an urgent necessity, Kinney said.

"FDA regulations can take several years to develop and the state cannot wait to protect California patients," Kinney wrote in her e-mail, noting that there were more than 260 cases of radiation overexposure in a widely publicized incident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. In California, incidents have been reported in at least seven different locations, she added.

"In a state the size of California, the reporting of incidents and misadministration will not only prevent large numbers of patients from being harmed, it will also assist the physicians, facilities, technicians, and equipment manufacturers in reassessing their tools, protocols, and operating procedures," Kinney wrote.

A PDF document containing the latest version of the bill can be accessed by clicking here.

By Eric Barnes staff writer
August 31, 2010

Related Reading

Calif. Legislature passes radiation protection bill, August 27, 2010

SoCal hospitals say patients got too much CT radiation, August 6, 2010

Calif. Senate passes radiation bill, June 2, 2010

FDA hearings rise above medical radiation rhetoric, March 31, 2010

Lawsuit hits GE in Alabama CT overdose case, December 18, 2009

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