Governor signs Galgiani's bill to help cut prison health care costs

SACRAMENTO — The office of Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston) said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday signed AB 1985, which is part of a prison health care package designed to help achieve a proposed $820 million cut to the prison health care budget.

The bill, which becomes law Jan. 1, 2011, requires California Prison Health Care Services (CPHCS) to streamline and monitor invoices paid to contract health care providers, such as outside doctors, hospitals and ambulances, Galgiani’s office said in a news release.

A recent audit of past claims identified millions of dollars in billing and payment errors, according to the news release.

“CPHCS was able to reclaim more than $15 million in contractor refunds to the state by catching these errors in the audit,” Galgiani said in the release. “AB 1985 will ensure that better systems and regular audits will prevent most errors and save millions in taxpayer dollars.”

The new law is expected to achieve at least $5-10 million worth of cost avoidance from those programs, the news release said.