Court denies second hearing on Medi-Cal rate cut
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A federal appeals court has denied a second request by California doctors, pharmacists and hospitals seeking to undo the state's 10% rate cut for treating the poor.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied an appeal from medical providers to rehear their case. A three-judge panel had ruled against them in December.
Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Association, said in a statement that the decision was expected. But he says health providers will continue to press lawmakers to restore the 10% reimbursement rate cut to the state's Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal.
Friday's decision cements a budget victory for Gov. Jerry Brown.
The governor and Legislature approved the cut two years ago. The administration estimates the move saves about $330 million a year.
LAPD GUN PROBE
LAPD, feds probe alleged gun sales by officers
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Police Department has reopened an investigation into whether members of the SWAT and Special Investigations Section units violated the law by purchasing firearms and reselling them for profit.
Chief Charlie Beck said Friday that an earlier investigation, which found no wrongdoing on the part of officers, was "clearly lacking."
He acknowledged the probe to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/173lr9u), which reported that federal investigators were also investigating the matter. The newspaper cited sources who could not be named because they were not authorized to speak.
The probes stem from a whistle-blower lawsuit by a lieutenant who attempted to account for the LAPD Metropolitan Division's weapons.
Federal and state laws restrict gun sales by people not registered as weapons dealers.
Report: Yahoo, pay-TV operators among Hulu bidders
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A person with direct knowledge of Hulu says the video site is again up for sale, with Yahoo and pay TV operators DirecTV and Time Warner Cable among the seven bidders.
The person wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke Friday on condition of anonymity, after several news outlets reported on the bidding.
The person didn't offer details on the prices offered. Published reports have pegged a bid by a group led by former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin at $500 million.
The person says other bidders include private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; private equity firm Silver Lake in partnership with talent agency William Morris Endeavor; and private equity firm Guggenheim Partners.
The Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. control Hulu. Comcast Corp. is a silent investor.
Bill would treat e-cigarettes like other tobacco
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California would treat electronic cigarettes like any other tobacco product under a bill approved by the state Senate.
Democratic Sen. Ellen Corbett of Hayward says some of the vapors emitted by the e-cigarettes may pose health risks.
SB648 would impose the same limits that apply to other smokers regarding where the devices can be used under California's existing smoke-free laws.
The Senate approved the bill 21-10 Friday, sending it to the Assembly.
Health organizations support Corbett's bill, but the Electronic Cigarette Industry Group objects. It says there is no proof the product emits secondhand smoke that can harm bystanders.
Republican Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine also opposed Corbett's bill. He said the e-cigarettes are a popular alternative for those who are trying to stop smoking.
PG&E calls $2.25B fine for deadly blast excessive
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The utility responsible for a deadly pipeline explosion in Northern California says the record $2.25 billion in fines being sought by state regulators is illegally excessive.
Pacific Gas & Electric said Friday that it agrees with the California Public Utilities Commission finding that a penalty is appropriate for the explosion that killed eight people.
But the utility argues that its shareholders are already paying $2.2 billion in system upgrades and other safety improvements in response to the blast, and that any fines should be deducted from that.
The September 2010 blast in the San Francisco Bay area city of San Bruno also left dozens injured and destroyed 38 homes.
CPUC judges are expected to decide later this year how much to fine PG&E.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA QUAKE UPDATE
Some damage reported from 5.7 quake in N. Calif.
GREENVILLE, Calif. (AP) - A moderate earthquake in far northeastern California damaged some homes and caused the rupture of a tank that supplies hundreds of homes with drinking water.
The magnitude-5.7 quake sent items tumbling from grocery store shelves and downed chimneys when it hit at 8:47 p.m. Thursday. Despite the damage, no injuries have been reported.
The quake was centered near Greenville, about 99 miles northwest of Carson City, Nev. Shaking was felt as far away as Oregon and Nevada. About four dozen aftershocks have been reported including a magnitude 4.9 quake that struck early Friday morning.
About 300 people were affected by the damaged water system and were under a boil advisory until further notice.
Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood said it's the strongest quake he's ever felt in the area.
GIRL KILLED IN HOME
Funeral planned for slain Calif. girl shot in home
NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. (AP) - Funeral services are being planned for a 10-year-old Northern California girl who was killed when gunmen fired a barrage of bullets into her family's home while she was drawing and watching television.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the Mexican Consulate is helping Elvira Campos' family pay for a private memorial service that will be held today and to find a new place to live.
Elvira was shot in the heart and head a week ago when gunfire pierced the home in North Highland, located outside Sacramento.
The fifth-grader's parents both were wounded in the arm.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has described the family as innocent victims and is searching for suspects.
Olga Cruz, Elvira's Bible study teacher, says the girl talked about devoting her life to end violence just hours before she was killed.
Molester found slain in Corcoran prison cell
CORCORAN, Calif. (AP) - Investigators at California State Prison-Corcoran are investigating as a homicide the death of an inmate who was a convicted child molester.
On Thursday corrections officials found the 63-year-old unresponsive in his cell. They have not released his name.
He was serving a 6-year sentence out of Los Angeles County for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, among other crimes.
The inmate's cellmate, 48-year-old Allen Duane Queen, is the suspect. Queen is serving 259 years for convictions in San Joaquin County including attempted murder of a government officer, possession of a weapon by a prisoner, assault with a deadly weapon of a custody officer and making terrorist threats.
Prison investigators are being assisted by the Kings County District Attorney's Office.
Corcoran houses 4,395 inmates.
Mom, boyfriend held after Palmdale boy, 8, dies
PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) - An 8-year-old boy who was allegedly beaten and burned by a Palmdale couple has died.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said Gabriel Fernandez was pronounced dead at a hospital Friday.
The boy's mother is in jail for investigation of child abuse, and her boyfriend is also in custody. He was arrested Thursday for investigation of attempted murder.
Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Hudson says firefighters called to an apartment Wednesday night found the boy wasn't breathing. He was rushed to the hospital with burns and a broken skull and ribs.
A neighbor, Claudia Sergoviano, tells KCAL-TV that whenever she saw the boy he was covered in bruises.
Child welfare officials removed two other children from the home.
Working telephone listings couldn't be found for Aguirre or Fernandez.
BABY FAR FROM HOME
Woman gets 8 years for kidnapping granddaughter
MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) - A 60-year-old Southern California woman was sentenced to eight years in prison for kidnapping her infant granddaughter from her son's Northern California home.
The Contra Costa Times reports that Ericka Gallego of El Monte in Los Angeles County was found guilty of kidnapping and residential burglary after taking the child and fleeing hundreds of miles to her home.
Prosecutors said Gallego took a bus and a cab to her son's home in the Contra Costa County community of Knightsen and nabbed her 4-month-old granddaughter.
Authorities say she then called another cab that took the pair back to her home in El Monte, where she was later arrested.
Gallego's defense attorney, David Goldstein, told the newspaper that his client suffered from mental illness and thought the child was in danger.
MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) - Monterey County's public defender has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the county jail offers substandard health care to inmates.
The Monterey Herald reports (http://bit.ly/Z6fPWh ) that the complaint alleges the medical and mental health care in the jail is "woefully inadequate," endangering the lives of staff and prisoners.
The suit is seeking a court order to require Monterey County, the sheriff's department and its jail health care contractor California Forensic Medical Group to provide adequate care to prisoners.
Sheriff Scott Miller, who runs the jail, said he disagreed with the allegations, and said he believes health care in the jail is adequate.
Public Defender Jim Egar filed the case on behalf of 5 jail inmates and is seeking class actions status.
The medical company would not comment on the case.
Monterey County sued over health care in jails
POOP IN PARADISE
San Diego mayor has plan to end bird poop stink
SAN DIEGO (AP) - San Diego officials have announced a plan to rid the scenic beaches of La Jolla of bird poop smell after declaring the excrement a health hazard.
Mayor Bob Filner said Friday the city has hired a company that specializes in bio-active microbial odor cleaning for cleanup of La Jolla Cove.
Non-pathogenic bacteria will be used to digest bird guano and any smelly organisms it hosts, thereby eliminating the stench coming from the droppings.
Filner says declaring the area a health emergency exempts the city from the normal permitting required to clean the state-designated area of "special biological significance."
The cleanup begins Tuesday.
Biologists say the odor is a sign that environmental protections put in place over the past few decades have brought back endangered species, like cormorants and brown pelicans.
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