Trying to Understand Jerry Brown’s Veto of Calif. Nursing Board

California Gov. Jerry Brown last week vetoed a bill that would have extended the life of California’s nursing board and allowed the board to hire sworn investigators to look into misconduct.

The reason Brown gave [PDF] is that the investigators’ pensions would be large, which “makes no sense fiscally and flies in the face of much needed pension reform…The Board has existed for 106 years without these enhanced benefits and should continue to do so.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, sworn investigators are entitled to more generous pensions than other state employees.

Without passing judgment on the need for sworn investigators, it’s worth a reminder of how the board has functioned in recent years.

In the prime of his life, Spencer Sullivan was rendered a quadriplegic. It took the nursing board more than six years later to revoke the  license of a nurse involved in his care. (Photo: Liz O. Baylen, Los Angeles Times)

ProPublica and the Times reported extensively in 2009 about major problems at the board, which took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline nurses. A huge part of the problem was a backlog at the investigation stage. The nursing board had to share investigators with many other agencies, and complaints lingered.

The governor's veto caught nursing board officials off-guard, the Times reported. “We were not adamant about having sworn peace officers,” Board executive officer Louise Bailey told the paper. “It would have been an easy fix had we known that was their concern.”

(Bailey did not say or the Times did not ask how, as executive officer of the board, she did not know this.)

According to the Times story:

At the time of The Times’ investigation in 2009, it took an average of more than three years for complaints against nurses’ licenses to be investigated and adjudicated. The average time was down to two years at the end of the 2011 fiscal year in July.

But it still falls short of the target of 12 to 18 months set by the Department of Consumer Affairs. And recently the state’s fiscal crisis has prevented the board from hiring enforcement staff to keep up with an increasing number of complaints.

Largely because of the new enforcement efforts, the total number of complaints coming into the enforcement division more than doubled between the 2008 to 2011 fiscal years, from 3,900 to 7,977.

To read all of ProPublica's stories on the nursing board, including problems with its drug and alcohol monitoring program, check out our series page:

This is cross-posted from Healthy Buzz, a tumblr on health news and issues maintained by ProPublica reporter Charles Ornstein.

There always is politics that come in to play and distracts common sense with our elected officials. The bottom line is always do the right thing, or the wrong thing—needless to say many choose the latter.
The young protesters [ occupy wall street ] should be demanding the removal of the—sleeze—in government then we would see a real change.

Barry Schmittou

Oct. 18, 2011, 3:34 p.m.

The first link on this ProPublica story said Governor Brown “also removed the legal authority for the board that licenses and investigates nurses”

Brown would fit in well with Obama and Bush’s DOL and DOJ directors !! They did nothing after seeing quotes from numerous Federal Court Judges that prove Doctors’ paid by insurance companies ignore life threatening medical conditions including brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

The Judges quotes can be seen at :

Professor’s quotes prove multiple insurers are destroying the lives of very sick patients !!

This quote was written by Joseph Belth, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University :

“They’ve turned Erisa on its head,”  “It was supposed to protect employees, and it’s being used to protect insurers.”

“The most important federal insurance regulation of the past generation is ERISA,” says Tom Baker, deputy dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia. “If ever a law backfired for the public, ERISA is the perfect example.”

John Marshall Law School Professor Mark Debofsky wrote:

“empirical evidence is now available that shows insurers operating under ERISA have systematically engaged in the wrongful denial of claims. Cases of abusive benefit denials involving other disability insurers abound.

(ERISA is the U.S. Title 29 Employee Retirement Income Security Act which regulates employee benefit health plans for 150 million Americans)

Obama and Bush also protected rampant crimes in Workers Comp :

In 2006 the Securities Exchange Commission wrote :

“AIG will pay in excess of $1.6 billion to resolve claims related to improper accounting, bid rigging and practices involving workers’ compensation funds.”

No one was charged with a crime!

Two years later AIG received $182 Billion of taxpayer money to bail them out !!.

During the time of the bid rigging WFAA-TV wrote :

“a remarkable number of Texans committed suicide because they could no longer endure the pain caused by their injuries and they had been repeatedly turned down for worker’s comp care.”

Prudential, Unum Insurance, and MetLife also committed similar bid rigging violations regarding health care plans and no one was prosecuted!

Judge Wrote MetLife Trained To Ignore !

In Solomon v. Metlife Judge Robert Sweet wrote :

“As in Glenn, MetLife urged plaintiff to apply for government benefits, but then disregarded the SSA’s grant of benefits.  Indeed the appeals specialist assigned to decide Solomon’s appeal stated that she had been trained by MetLife to disregard SSA decisions !!

I’ve given Obama’s DOL and DOJ Directors quotes from four more Judges that prove MetLife ignores SSA Judges’.

It’s treasonous to train agents to ignore evidence; MetLife is allowed to sell billions of dollars of policies every year because they have agreed to the fiduciary laws under U.S. Title 29 1104 which mandates :

“ a fiduciary shall discharge his duties with respect to a plan solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries”

“with care, skill, prudence, and diligence”

U.S. Title 29 also mandates :

“The claims procedures contain administrative processes and safeguards designed to ensure and to verify that benefit claim determinations are made in accordance with governing plan documents and that, where appropriate, the plan provisions have been applied consistently with respect to similarly situated claimants.”

In exchange for agreeing to these laws the insurance companies make trillions of dollars providing health benefits to 150 million Americans and the insurance companies and they cannot be sued for punitive damages !

Similar crimes are also being committed against severely injured War Zone Contractors.

Here are quotes from a article :

“CNA’s failure to pay out benefits underscores the continuing problems with the Defense Base Act, essentially the workers compensation system for overseas federal contractors.”

“Workers fought long battles for medical care, including such things as prosthetic devices and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Labor Department seldom took action to enforce the law. One official called the system a “fiasco.”

“CNA withheld portions of the investigators’ findings when it submitted the claims to the Labor Department, court records show.”

“Labor officials can recommend cases for prosecution to the Justice Department–but have only done so once in the past two decades, according to Labor officials.”

Governor Jerry Brown’s failure to stop delays in removing dangerous and deadly nurses makes him a perfect fit to be a Presidential candidate for the Democrats and Republicans, as seen by comparing Governor Brown to Obama and Bush’s protections of deadly doctors that I have just posted !! God please help us all !!

Betsy Wallace

Oct. 18, 2011, 3:55 p.m.

I read Governor Brown’s letter/veto in which he explained why he vetoed the legislation, urging legislators to bring a bill to him that would extend the life of the Nursing Board, but without the provision for “sworn officers” who, according to the Times article, would be entitled to greater pensions than regular investigators.  I do not read Brown’s veto as his wish to demolish the Nursing Board.  The legislature will get it together to pass sunset bill extending the powers of the Nursing Board and the Governnor will gladly sign it.  Although the Nursing Board’s Executive Director said that she was surprised by the veto and would have addressed Brown’s concerns about the “sworn officer” provision had she only known, it appears that she and the Board had some notice of the problem before the veto.  The Times reported that Brown’s office complained about it and the State Department of Finance had written a letter opposing the bill because of the pension issue.

I’ve drafted legislation for a state assembly and testified before legislative committees on proposed bills.  Sounds to me that whoever drafted the bill was trying to get the pension provision passed without notice, in other owrds “under the radar,” by wrapping it up in a seemingly inocuous sunset bill. To his credit, the Governor noticed it.

It’s a sad day for this country when Gov. Jerry Brown (Jerry Brown!!) sides with the corporate $%#@&^%!!  Was he bought for a few pieces of gold or silver?

CA is broke, really broke unfortunately Gov. Brown is left with a broken state and is trying to mend it.

Perhaps somebody has a better place to cut and can call Gov. Brown and tell him about it.

Somewhat Insider

Oct. 18, 2011, 7:15 p.m.

Please look deeper before castigating the board or its current staff. Politics is very much alive and well in good old CA:

1) The St of CA cynically allowed BRN to raise their licensing rates in order to get much needed staffing that was neglected by the previous EO. So what did the state do shortly after the new rates went into effect? Imposed a hiring freeze on the BRN -and- robbed their coffers to the tune of $15 million to fund other state programs.

2) Both the AG office and the Dept Consumer Affairs Div of Investigations have viewed BRN as a big dumb cash cow for years. In the past two years the cow has wizened up: BRN are now tracking case turnaround times AND invoices from both groups. It seems AG / DOI have used inflated invoices to BRN to “fund” their other pet projects. BRN has been making strides to put an end to this and now these guys have their noses out of joint. I might add: The gov came from AG. And DCA has their own axe to grind - see next item.

3) DCA has been upset with how autonomous BRN has been. Upper mgmt would much prefer they kowtow more to DCA wishes. Ex: BRN decided the costs and turnarounds of Div of Investigations were unacceptable and decided (against DCA wishes) to hire on their own investigators. This sent a jolt through DCA and DOI: BRN is THE major funding for DOI. (see #2 above)

4) One of the people BRN has been unable to hire: A legislative analyst. So DCA, out of the pure goodness of their hearts I’m sure, “loaned” BRN an analyst. Maybe its not too much of a stretch to think DCA used this as an opportunity for payback? Who do you think the analyst had greater to: BRN or her employer - DCA? BRN learned this analyst had actually posted something about “the gov won’t buy this” on her Facebook - a good week before it was presented to the gov. Now why didn’t she bother to tell the EO of BRN?

5) The BRN had to resort to trying to get sworn officers because they were being stonewalled by hospitals because current laws have no bite to them - people do not have to cooperate with BRN to provide medical records etc. Also, organizations like the LAPD have been charging BRN $50 or more per requested court and arrest record jacket - something they would not do with a peace officer. BRN tried to get legislation passed to compel more forthright disclosure of facts and records - but weenie legislators again kowtowed to nursing unions and others who *might* just want BRN to stay ineffective. Thus BRN’s need for peace officers. There was nothing “stealthy” about it: It was a straightforward attempt to catalyze quicker investigations.

It seems some folks higher up in the CA pecking order have thought BRN is getting just too darned uppity - and they are taking the opportunity to slap them around. Don’t make the mistake of buying their pious-sounding BS.

Does Barry Schmittou have anything else to do in his life? 

It is impossible to read anything on this site without his commentary, which is always skewed the same way, leading to the same thing.

It’s like you are trolling to politically proselytize, and the more you write, Barry, the more you push people away from you.

Barry Schmittou

Oct. 19, 2011, 4:41 p.m.

To Bethy,

(1) Medical doctors paid by insurance companies are ignoring life threatening medical conditions but you take issue with me!

(2) Many injured workers have committed suicide, and the crimes are so obvious multiple professors have written about it as seen in my first comment.

(3) I am desperately trying to stop more lives from being destroyed!

(4) Obama’s Directors’ did nothing after reading I was referred to a Psychologist when MetLife ignored my eye cancer claim for six years, They knew I often had no money for medical treatment.

(5) My Psychologist wrote : “In light of the violations Metlife has committed against Mr. Schmittou and Metlife’s awareness of the additional harm caused him, Metlife’s actions seem irresponsible, inhumane, dangerous, and reckless.”

(6) Obama’s DOL Director’s wrote saying it’s their top priority to stop violations, but did nothing even after seeing the quotes from numerous Judges as seen at :

In addition to ignoring Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients and more, MetLife really enjoys attacking psychological patients :

In the case of Brenda Zanny, U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen wrote :

“Metlife and its henchmen should appreciate that such conduct may itself precipitate the suicide death of a person who has placed implicit trust in their organization. This record is an open indictment of MetLife’s practices and treatment of the mentally-ill and long-term disability benefits.”

(7) People have thanked me for the evidence I’ve posted on ProPubica.

(8) People in three nations thanked me for my personal help, and I helped Marc Munro from Tasmania decide to contact T.Christian Miller about the story that ProPublica featured.

(9) Since many people in the medical profession and government may see this, I am hopeful they may be able to help cause action.

Betsy Wallace commented : “whoever drafted the bill was trying to get the pension provision passed without notice by wrapping it up in a seemingly inocuous sunset bill. To his credit, the Governor noticed it.”

Possibly Governor Brown has a good reason if he did as the quote on the first link on this ProPublica story said including :

“also removed the legal authority for the board that licenses and investigates nurses.”

If I’m wrong about Governor Brown’s intent I apologize.

I have seen so many laws turned upside down. As seen in my first comment Professor Belth wrote “They’ve turned Erisa on its head”

The laws are being violated in California too and Governor Brown needs to know !!

(10) Most people who post here have an opinion or evidence to add like I do.  Bethy, ou can easily scroll past my comments.

(11) Sometimes I mention belief in God because I hope that may help anyone who has nowhere else to turn. I believe God helps me through every day, and I believe I should show my appreciation and gratitude.

(12) Bethy, I see no justice in you taking issue with me while ignoring how horrible it is to have insurance company doctors ignore life threatening medical conditions. And you have not used your last name.

(13) You could be connected with MetLife or the other murderous insurance companies, or you could be trying to discourage evidence that proves the Obama administration is protecting these horrible organized crimes just like Bush did.

(14) Since I’ve had surgery on both eyes typing causes me many problems and increase my risk of falls and accidents that consistently occur. I sacrifice my health and life because I am trying to stop so many more from being destroyed.

(16) It takes time to see justice occur. I filed complaints on State Senator Ford for two years before my complaint led to his conviction for taking $888,000 from Tennessee’s health care program while 300,000 Tennesseans were losing benefits due to lack of funding.

(17) I am hopeful that a local or federal grand jury will see this evidence and bring charges since the DOL and DOJ will not.

(18) ProPublica writes about corporate and government injustices and I believe they are all connected as seen in the link below. That is why my comments do often lead to the same thing as you pointed out.

(19) I file this evidence in Federal Court, as seen at

(20) The topics of my latest filings Proof Wachovia Bank laundered $378 billion for Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for 35,000 murders. No one was prosecuted !!

Bank of America, American Express Bank International and Western Union also laundered drug money and no one was prosecuted.

AIG, JP Morgan Chase, MetLife, Prudential, Unum, rigged huge bids and no one was prosecuted!!

(21) I do not believe there is anything better than I or anyone else can do with their time than to try to stop Obama and Bush’s protection of organized corporate criminals who are destroying our nation and world !!

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