The Merger

Jay Michael interviewed by Dr. Michael Seffinger, DO

in Sacramento
May 22, 2006

  • Dr. Seffinger:  Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your work with Senator Teale. There is so little information available on him, at least not for people’s immediate view. Your contribution today will make a great difference.
  • Jay Michael:  I was a lobbyist for an organization of California cities when I met Senator Teale in 1957. The office of the league of Cities regularly had a cocktail party for invited people, including Senator Teale. Senators represented three counties. Senator Steven Teale represented El Dorado, Alpine and _____. These were very small but powerful. Teale was a living God in that part of California. He was a D.O. in Railroad Track, a small town. There was a very small hospital but it was critical to those people who lived harsh lives, in the mountains and so on. Senator Teale had a gigantic sense of civic responsibility. He could make things better. At times it was a great inconvenience to people but he did it anyway. In those days there was “cross-filing” (i.e. file both, for Democrat and Republican). Steven Teale always got cross-filed.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Did he give up his practice, as he was so busy?
  • Jay Michael:  No. He slept 3 hours/night. The League of California Cities had a “white hat”, meaning no stigma. Most were honest legislators, very bright and articulate. Steven Teale was Chair of the Joint Budget Committee as long as I can remember. It was a critical position. That committee hired and fired positions like a legislative analyst. Alan Post held that position for 35 years. He was an icon, an honest man. Steven Teale and Alan Post were close friends. In 1957 I was 25, Steven Teale was about 35, and we got along well. Steven Teale had two drinks at the League and then drove home for 35 minutes, on a winding road into the foothills. The population of his town was about 100. His home and hospital were adjacent. He was on call at night and on the weekends while his wife did the practice during the day. They were the only healthcare resource in the Foothills. At that time there was no lobbying arm of the CMA. The Public Health League provided the lobbying. The League consisted of doctors, nurses and health administrators. The general council for that group was “Hap” Hassard. The CMA did not like the idea of the merger but Steven Teale was passionate about the merger. He did not feel so passionate about osteopathy. Steve’s passion was to get rid of that distinction. He wanted osteopathy to go away and it was a disappointment to him that not all D.O.s were in favor of the merger. Steven Teale went to the CMA to convince them to grant the MD degree to the D.O.s. He went to the Public Health League and to the council, the governor, and the CMA. They were not buying it.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Which year was that?
  • Jay Michael:  About 1958. Steven Teale decided being “no more Mr. Nice Guy” and proceeded. He had a proposal that was reasonable to both sides. As Chair of the Budget Committee he told the Regents there would be no UCI unless UCI took the soon to be converted osteopathic medical college and that he had the votes for that decision. Steven used his position as Budget Chair, and he had a close relationship with the legislative analyst and with Randolph Collier, Senate Finance Committee chairman.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Is it anywhere documented how the arguments were laid out?
  • Jay Michael:  In the Resolutions.
  • Jay Michael:  Shirley Teale is still alive. She lives in Stockton and her phone number is listed.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Steven Teale was so active until 1965. Beyond 1968 you did not hear from him and in 1972 he retired from office. When the D.O.s fought against the merger, there was no opposition.
  • Jay Michael:  The health system broke up between 1961 to ’63. Ben Reede who had run the Public Health League was fired and the Public Health League broke up. Until then it had been so powerful that nothing happened unless the Public Health League signed it off. In spite of Steven Teale’s passion the Public Health League would have prevailed with its opposition. But because it broke up Steven Teale was able to succeed. The key for it all happening was his high integrity and the respect he was given. His official address was Westpoint. There was a range hall and on Saturday nights he played the violin, a fiddle. They played blue grass, by ear.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Did Dr. Grunigen come here?
  • Jay Michael:  I worked for the CMA in 1975. In 1966 I became university lobbyist and represented UC for 10 years. Then I was lobbyist for the CMA from 1975-’91. Then I was lobbyist for a consortium that was the old Public Health League. I represented the medical society on liabilities. (Dr. Seffinger mentioned M. Weyeuker). I was like Matt Weyeuker. I wrote a book entitled The Third House: Money, Power and Lobbying in Sacramento (Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2002). The book store “The Avid Reader”, on 9th and N Street, has it. The University was deeply involved. The CMA was involved. I was always in the periphery. UC Irvine in 1966 was just forming. Dr. Bostick’s daughter, Marilynn, was my personal assistant. There are three persons you need to talk to:
    • Shirley Teale, R.N.:  She came after things but Steven Teale might have mentioned things.
    • Alan Post:  He is still alive at 92. He was at my house last week for dinner. His phone number is probably listed or you can call my house.
    • Hap Hassard is dead. Dave Lillette worked in a Hassard firm and might still be alive.
    This story is not complete without mentioning one fact that permeates all of it: COP&S was a good school with a good curriculum and a strong faculty. The problem from the MD’s view was that three or four other schools in the US were not as good. But there was a reciprocity in licensing which might lead to watering down the standards. The MDs were concerned about medical liability, not just ego.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  How did they get over that?
  • Jay Michael:  The licensing board had a provision that blocked reciprocity. (Dr. Seffinger explained the Medical Practice Act). When I was lobbyist for the CMA this issue came up many times, mainly with foreign medical schools. It’s hard to define a good medical curriculum and residencies. There was endless wrangling about this, not just D.O.s, what constitutes comparability between schools.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Dr. Bostick aimed at hiring high ranking MDs and Ph.D.s.
  • Jay Michael:  And the other medical schools in the UC system demanded him to do that. There is still some back wash from that.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  How were the D.O.s able to sell themselves within a year, after having been rejected for so long? In reality it was a real tough sell.
  • Jay Michael:  Everybody has a different spin on that history. I might have given it a different spin too but I tried not to. Regarding your interview questions: I was born in Kansas on 10-14-1932, raised in California, educated at UC Berkeley, and I have a graduate degree from UCLA. I am just a lobbyist! What is different about D.O.s? At one time I had a pretty good understanding of it. Attitudes have changed. My understanding now is one of merged professions. I do not want to be responsible for raising awareness about osteopathy. I had a very close relationship with Steven Teale. We were close personal friends. Nobody benefits by maintaining a distinction between allopathy and osteopathy. If the purpose of medicine is to improve healthcare, then you don’t want to draw a distinction unless there is a well-documented purpose to do so. I don’t want to support this project if anyone is trying to advocate D.O.s over M.D.s.
  • Dr. Seffinger emphasized that there was no such intention to this project but to document historical developments from the perspectives of those who contributed to that history.
  • Jay Michael:  Steven Teale was not disappointed in osteopathy. He saw no distinction. Regarding your questions: I studied public administration to be a city manager of the city of Claremont.
  • Dr. Seffinger thanked Mr. Michael for his insights and contribution.

Biographical Summary

Jay Michael was Vice President of the University of California during the student revolts in the 1960s and ‘70s. He convinced legislature to defeat constitutional amendments that would have decreased UC’s autonomy. Michael left UC in 1976 and represented the physicians and healthcare interests for 24 years. He was one of Sacramento’s leading lobbyists. He retired in 2000.