The Merger


Photo: Matt Weyuker

Matt Weyuker interviewed by Dr. Michael Seffinger, DO

  • Dr. Seffinger:  Who are you? Please state your name and date of birth. Where were you born, raised, educated and trained?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  My name is Matthew L (Matt) Weyuker. I was born in Brooklyn, New York in April 1933. My family moved to Queens when I was 9 months old, where I was raised, went to grammar and high schools. I joined the U.S. Navy in 1952, and while stationed in San Diego received 2 years of college credit. I worked in the insurance business for over 13 years, (the last 6 years in my own agency), was elected to 2 different school boards in Orange County where I served one for 8 years and the other for 4 years. In 1966 I managed a State Assembly campaign which led to my serving as a legislative consultant for 10 years from 1967-77. I made many friends among both legislators and staff. This network of associates would prove to be an invaluable asset to OPSC and COMP (later WesternU), and my being able to have many legislative bills passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by 3 different governors. I took courses in risk management, association management, and association finance. I retired from being OPSC’s Executive Director in December 1997 after 19 years of what turned out to be a calling and a cause. In December 1997 I became full-time Director of Government Relations for Western University of Health Sciences, a post I held until July 2000. My wife Marlene and I moved to the desert in February 1998, and I soon became involved in the city’s politics and in November 1999 I ran for, and was elected Desert Hot Springs’ Mayor, where I served three 2 year terms. At an OPSC Convention which took place in Las Vegas in March of 1998, the OPSC Board of Directors unanimously voted to bestow upon me “Executive Director Emeritus” status, (that still hasn’t shown up in print - anywhere!) along with a “Life” membership in the association.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  How did you become involved with the Osteopathic profession?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  I first became aware of the Osteopathic profession during the fall of 1961, when an insurance agency associate and I made a group medical malpractice insurance presentation to the Los Angeles Osteopathic Society. In 1962, Proposition 22 was approved by the California voters, and along with the demise of the California Osteopathic profession, the opportunity for me to place a large group medical malpractice insurance program was nullified. Then in January 1978 I responded to a classified ad that had been placed in the Los Angeles Times for an executive director’s position. I was interviewed the following month for the position by then executive director Dwight James in the South Laguna Beach association office. Dwight was apparently impressed with my credentials and background, as I was chosen to be one of the four finalists to be interviewed by the OPSC Board of Director’s Executive Board. However, the Executive Board put off the interviews for over 2 months. As I still had to earn a living, in March I took a position as the Los Angeles regional office manager of the California Trucking Association. The OPSC Executive Board finally agreed to meet in April at the Registry Hotel at the Orange County Airport (it was not called the John Wayne Airport back then). In attendance were the following Executive Board Members: Dr. Ethan Allen, Dr. Louis Bartosch, Dr. Donald Dilworth, Dr. Richard Eby (who was ex-officio to the OPSC Board and the charter President of OPSC), Dr. Robert Lee, Dr. Donald McCabe, and Dr. Herbert Stotenbur. I was the third candidate interviewed and they queried me at least 30 minutes longer than the previous two candidates. I went to our home in Costa Mesa, and about an hour or so later that afternoon I received a phone call that would forever change my life, as well as reshape and redefine the California Osteopathic profession over the next 20 years - when Dr. Allen asked, “When can you start?” When I met with my trucking association boss, the managing director Thomas Schumacher Jr, to tender my resignation, I told him that I had taken a position as executive director of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, Schumacher was incredulous. He responded with, “My father took care of the Osteopaths back in 1962!” He proceeded to tell me that his dad had been the executive director of the then California Osteopathic Association (now the 41st State Medical Association) in the 50s and early 60s, and along with several rebellious D.O.s, (including Senator Stephen Teale of the California Legislature who was responsible for framing the language that wound up being the essence of Proposition 22), led the charge for the amalgamation of the Allopathic and Osteopathic professions in California. Before I was on the OPSC payroll, on May 30, 1978 I was asked to travel to the State Capitol in Sacramento to take on, and/or stop a legislative bill (AB 2691 - Agnos), that was going to be heard in the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means the following day, and that already had a good head of steam up, having passed the Assembly Committee on Health with little or no opposition. If passed by the Legislature, then enacted by the Governor, this measure would have essentially nullified the California State Supreme Court’s D’Amico decision of March 1974, by permitting the state’s medical board (BMQA) to license D.Os. This was a follow-up bill to SB1044 (Garamendi). On May 30th I literally ran around the Capitol building as if my pants were on fire. I met with at least 10-12 legislators of the 23 member Assembly committee. AB2691 was passed out of the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 14-5 - a far more dismal showing than the vaunted CMA had expected. I came on board as OPSC’s Associate Executive Director on June 1, 1978, and became the “Exec” on August 1, 1978. My first 3 responsibilities were to move the office from South Laguna Beach to Sacramento, hire sufficient staff, and stop AB2691. Early in August, AB2691 came before the 9 member Senate Committee on Business and Professions. The committee had a long agenda and didn’t hear the bill until just before they broke for dinner. BOE President Dr. Billie Strumillo, BOE Executive Secretary Gareth Williams, COMP President Dr. Philip Pumerantz, OPSC Board Member Dr. Ethan Allen, and I spoke against the measure. When Committee Chairman Senator Alex Garcia called for the vote it was 3 to 3, (voting “yes“ were Senators Marks, Wilson, and Presley - voting “no“ were Senators B. Green, Roberti, and Song). Immediately the bill’s author Assemblyman Art Agnos (who was to become the Mayor of San Francisco in the mid 1980s) requested that the vote remain open, (technically speaking the bill was placed “on-call”). After dinner both sides tried in vain to move the yes and no voters, and herein lies a funny story. When Jay Michaels, who was the CEO and lobbyist-in-charge of the CMA’s 9 member lobbyist Sacramento office, asked Senator Bill Green, (who is a black man), “Are you going to let a minority profession get away with blocking this important piece of legislation?” The Senator, who is a big man, (about 6’4”-240lbs), with an equally large and booming voice, (when I first met Bill in 1967, he was the Reading Clerk of the State Assembly - and was first elected to the Assembly in 1968), said forcefully while poking Mr. Michaels in the chest with his rather large index finger, “Jay, let me tell something about minorities!” The CMA had just inanely lost the black Senator’s vote for a long, long time. Chairman Garcia cast his yes vote, and an old friend of mine, Senator John Briggs from Orange County voted no. That left one non-voting Senator - George Deukmejian, who was seeking to become State Attorney General in November, and the CMA was known to be among his major financial supporters. I caught up with “Duke”, as he was known to his friends, and of course he knew what I wanted - his no vote. He said to me in a very somber tone, “I can’t vote with you this time Matt.” Then he said in his forthright way, “You know that I’ve got a very expensive statewide campaign this fall and I can’t afford to upset the CMA.” So the bill passed out that night on a 5 to 4 vote and all of us left the Capitol building that night feeling pretty low and worried. That left the California profession’s fate in the hands of the 13 member Senate Finance Committee. Needless to say, we pulled out all of the stops. I went and talked with 4 old friends of mine, Committee Chairman Senator Al Rodda, and member Senators Bill Green, Nick Petris, and John Stull. We also enlisted the help of Terri Thomas, one of Governor Jerry Brown’s liaisons to the State Legislature to lobby some of the committee’s Democrats. The strategy was to not allow either Assemblyman Agnos or the CMA to present the bill. Instead I had asked Senator Bill Green to make a motion for the Senate Finance Committee to send AB2691 out “for an interim study,” and in the Committee passing Senator Green’s motion by a vote of 7 to 4 (voting “yes” were Senators Behr, Green, Petris, Smith, Stull, Cusanovich, and Rodda; voting “no” were Senators Gregorio, Nejedly, Holmdahl, and Stiern; not voting were Senators Alquist and Carpenter), the Committee, in essence killed the measure.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What did you notice that was unique or different about DOs and the osteopathic profession at the time you began your association with them; did that perception change over time?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  My early experiences with the Osteopathic profession between 1978 and 1988 were in noticing that most of the GP/FP’s were caring professionals who practiced as they were trained - Osteopathically. Some specialists, as an example, I knew of one D.O. obstetrician who performed lumbar-spine manipulation on his pregnant patients as a method of strengthening the lower back muscles and alleviating low back pain. I also noticed that unlike many of their Allopathic counterparts, many D.O.’s kept on practicing their manipulative skills into their 80’s and I knew two who saw patients into their 90’s! The strong majority of the Osteopathic physicians that I came in contact with in the early days of my involvement with the profession, had a staunch loyalty to their chosen careers as D.O.s. How else does anyone account for a few hundred stalwart Osteopaths committing to defying many of their counterparts who “took” the M.D. degree, overcoming the pressure of losing hospital privileges and professional standing, and spending a lot of their time, money, and steadfastness in defying the odds while laboring 11 arduous years before obtaining victory in the March 1974 D’Amico California State Supreme Court decision that brought the profession back from near-extinction in the Golden State. During the late 80’s and early 90’s I began to notice that many of our schools were turning out what I defined as, “Wannabe M.D’s.” Many of the Osteopathic schools (including COMP) were loathe to hype any of the Osteopathic associations - local, regional, state, or national. There was a reluctance to become involved, either with the state osteopathic association, (OPSC), or on-campus Osteopathic clubs, by a preponderance of many students enrolled in D.O. schools. This was followed in lock-step order by many opting for M.D. training opportunities, the closing of a good number of D.O. hospitals and other D.O. teaching sites, and the subsequent development of the HMO juggernaut. Unlike their predecessors, many of these newer D.Os were not loyal or devoted to their “chosen” profession, and for various reasons didn’t practice as they were trained. Before I left OPSC in 1997, I began to notice that even some doctors in state leadership had begun thinking, acting, and practicing like their Allopathic brethren. Many were no longer practicing “Osteopathically” and had caved in to the M.D practice model. Prior to my “retirement” from WesternU, I had noticed that the school did relatively little in the way of encouraging the D.O. students to get involved in or with regional, state and/or national Osteopathic associations. In my opinion, many of the current crop of D.O.s would leap at the chance to become M.D.s.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What was your role in the history of Osteopathy in CA?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  I was the Executive Director of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California (OPSC) from June 1, 1978 until December 1, 1997. My responsibilities in this position was, with guidance from the OPSC President, to organize the quarterly Board of Director’s meetings; to coordinate the annual meeting and convention, spring seminar, and fall conference; to be the profession’s lobbyist; to write articles for, and was the Executive Editor of, both the California Osteopathic Report, and the quarterly OPSC Journal; and was responsible for the oversight and operation of the OPSC staff and central office. Due to my 10 year tenure working as a legislative consultant for the California State Assembly, I did all of the lobbying for OPSC, and from January 1980, I simultaneously represented the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), now Western University of Health Sciences, as the school’s lobbyist. On December 1, 1997, I became the school’s full time Director of Government Relations, a position that I filled until June 30, 2000. I was responsible for drafting language for bills, as well as choosing just the right State Legislator for introducing and carrying the many legislative measures that eventually passed both houses of the State Legislature and were signed into law by 3 Governors. I’ll go into more detail in answering question #5.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What events were you personally responsible for that had an impact on the history of this profession?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  As Executive Director of OPSC, I was not only the CEO who was responsible for the day to day operations of the association and the profession’s only lobbyist, and since OPSC had been caretaker-managed by a former retired state osteopathic association executive who was now in his late 70s since the CA Supreme Court’s D’Amico decision of March 1974, there were many changes needed in the management, legislative/political activity, and outlook of OPSC. I set about initiating some of these important changes in the fall of 1978. At the fall OPSC Board of Director’s meeting I introduced OSTEOPAC, a political action committee for the California Osteopathic profession. I wrote its first set of by-laws, filed the name and paperwork with the Secretary of State, Fair Political Practices Committee, and State Franchise Tax Board. With the help of the Chairman (Dr. Ethan Allen) of the new Legislative Committee that I suggested be put in place, the association began soliciting contributions for newly formed “Pac.” It was important for the fledgling state osteopathic association to help those State Legislators who had helped us, in not only defeating Assemblyman Agnos’ bill, AB2691, that would have obfuscated 1974s D’Amico decision, but for OPSC to become involved in the political process. In February 1979 at the OPSC annual meeting and convention that was held at the Doubletree Inn/Monterey Convention Center I laid out a bold action plan during the Board of Director‘s meeting. It included taking decisive legislative action, (not waiting for the CMA to act and OPSC react), the development of local or regional affiliates, a new look for newsletters, magazines, letterhead stationary, the modernization of the central office, more member services, more OPSC sponsored CME opportunities, and the creation of defined committee responsibilities within 3 overseeing departments (which led to the 4 that OPSC uses at the present time), all leading to the multi-pronged goal of strengthening the profession with and thru an energized and growing membership. My daughter-in-law worked for BMQA in 1979, and she told me of an agenda item on the December 7, 1979 BMQA Board meeting that was scheduled in San Diego that would be disastrous to the Osteopathic Profession. I alerted everyone, (OPSC Board Members, COMP President Pumerantz, and the BOE) about this turn of events. At that time there was a former D.O., Dr. Joseph Cosentino, from Sacramento who was the 1962 President of the California Osteopathic Association (C.O.A.) and one of the ringleaders that led to Proposition 22 in that same year, and was now serving BMQA as its Chief Medical Officer, and along with some of the “rebels” of the now defunct C.O.A., (Dr. Taylor, etal), were instrumental in the placement of this insidious item on the December agenda. What that agenda item proposed was the following: that the BMQA Board adopt regulations and approve D.O. education, training, and post-graduate training institutions, for the expressed purpose of licensing D.Os. By adopting this language, BMQA would circumvent both the essence of the CA Supreme Court’s ruling in its D’Amico decision, and the CA State Legislature - as well as doing the bidding of the CA Medical Association and the 41st State Medical Association. When that day in December arrived, at least 3 of the former D.O.s spoke in favor of the proposal, along with leaders of the CMA, representatives from the M.D. medical school community, and some CMA affiliate officials. Speaking on behalf of Osteopathic Profession were: OPSC Board member Dr. Ethan Allen, BOE President Dr. Billie Strumillio, COMP President Dr. Philip Pumerantz, and me. BMQA took all of the testimony “under advisement,” taking no action. But the unresolved outcome gave us that were present at that December meeting a loud wake up call. One result of that very close call that happened immediately after the BMQA session, was a confab between COMP President Pumerantz and me in the San Diego International Airport parking lot. Phil was obviously shaken by what had transpired during the pressure-packed BMQA meeting. We talked for over an hour. I told him of my plan to go on the offensive with a many-pronged, pro-active legislative program that would take the battle to the Profession’s enemies, instead of waiting for their next moves and then OPSC, COMP, and the BOE reacting to them. Phil liked the idea so much, that he offered me a contract to be COMP’s lobbyist in addition to my remaining as OPSC’s Executive Director and lobbyist. I told him that I would have to talk with the OPSC leadership and if they had no problem with the offer, that I would be proud to represent both the school and OPSC. Then the CMA did the obvious. They had State Senator John Foran, a member of the Senate Committee on Business and Professions, introduce an identical measure to 1978s AB2691 - SB1199. Foran’s Senate district contained the CMA’s headquarters office located in San Francisco. Because OPSC’s office was now located in Sacramento in the shadow of the State Capitol, I was in the Capitol building almost daily “schmoozing” with Legislators and staff, educating them about the Osteopathic Medical Profession, informing them that the profession was back and that they would be seeing and hearing from more of us. In as much as Senator Foran missed the bill introduction cut-off, his bill couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to be heard in a Senate Committee (Business and Professions) until some time in August or September, SB 1199 had become a “2-year bill.” (in SB1199’s situation, meaning a bill that, if enacted, couldn’t take affect until January 1st of 1981) Suffice it to say that my lobbying efforts were so successful, that when Senator Foran took up his bill, SB1199 in the Senate Business and Profession’s Committee in August 1979, he could not get a motion “to move the bill!” With the election in November 1978 numerous new Senators who rode in on the property-tax-cutting-Proposition 13’s back were seated. Among them were Senators John Doolittle, who is now in the U.S. Congress, and Joe Montoya, who was to become Chairman of that Committee and a good friend of the profession. The two newest members of the Business and Professions Committee and a holdover, Senator John Briggs were helpful in weakening the CMAs legislative effort. The CMA, in a face-saving move, pulled the bill “off-calendar” for the purpose of amending the measure. SB1199 was not brought back to the committee again. With the killing of SB1199 came the end of the CMA introducing measures to license D.O.s and circumvent the D’Amico decision, and the beginning of a new and exciting era where OPSC and its intrepid Executive Director would set in motion a series of legislative forays that would lead to the CMA, medical schools, HMOs and insurance companies and their numerous lobbyists initiating a sometimes very spiteful opposition campaign against OPSC and COMP. The legislative process is operated on, and by, a plethora of rules, cut-off dates, and other confusing-to-the-public-at-large policies. Generally speaking bill introduction is limited by dates (generally until the end of January) in which the measure’s sponsor or author (Assembly Member or Senator) visit’s the Legislative Counsel’s (the State Legislature’s legal advisors) office to have the idea for legislation drafted in bill form. By the end of February the bill introduction period usually ends. Due to these constraints, I had to wait until 1980 to start the numerous bill introductions that would last into the mid 1990s. In the spring of 1980, I asked Senator Rueben Ayala, a Democrat from Chino, whose district included COMP, introduce SB1461 that would permit any COMP clinic that treated MediCal patients, to bill the state for reimbursement. At first the bill met with opposition - mostly from the Los Angeles County Medical Association, who opposed the existence of COMP. But when they saw that opposing SB1461 was not winning them any friends among the Legislature, they removed their position of “oppose.” The bill passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Following on the heels of obtaining Legislative and Gubernatorial approval of SB1461, I once again asked Senator Ayala to carry a measure (SB1144), that would assure that Osteopathic medical students would be eligible to participate in the state sponsored competitive graduate fellowship program. Although there was a modicum of opposition from the California Post Secondary Education Commission, (former D.O., now an M.D., former State Senator Stephen Teale who penned 1962’s Proposition 22, was now a member of this Commission - hence the opposition), SB1144 passed the Senate on June 14, 1981 and the Assembly on September 9, 1981. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on September 23, 1981. The first major piece of OPSC sponsored legislation was introduced on February 13, 1980. The measure, SB1368 (B. Green), was aimed at strengthening the D’Amico decision by forthrightly stating that the Board of Osteopathic Examiners (BOE - now The Osteopath Medical Board - OMB) was the only board authorized to license D.O.s. I persuaded my old friend, Senator Bill Green to carry (author) the bill - the first of many measures that Bill would carry on behalf of the profession because of the long friendship between the Senator and me. The following month SB1368 was heard in the Senate Business and Profession’s Committee. Although we lost this round to the CMA, the medical schools, and BMQA, because of their near-overwhelming opposition, SB1368 was a milestone! The bill introduction heralded a new era whereby the California Osteopathic Profession, represented by the Executive Director of OPSC, would be on the offensive to establish the profession’s right to practice as trained, be licensed by the only Board authorized to license D.O.s - the Board of Osteopathic Examiners, and its right to coexist with its Allopathic counterparts. My choice of Senator Greene to introduce this important measure was to prove to be fortuitous for the Osteopathic Profession. In early 1981, Senator Green introduced an almost identical piece of legislation to SB1368 - SB18. The Senator’s office had set and reset the bill for a hearing in the same Senate committee where SB1368 had met its ignoble demise the previous year. As a result of the committee’s use of parliamentary chicanery, mostly caused by SB1368’s opposition in 1980, Senator Green called for a pow-wow in his office, to be attended by a representative from the CMA, the state’s 10 medical schools, BMQA, the Senator’s staff and me. We met in June 1981 and the demeanor of the bill’s opponents were anything but pleasant. Senator Green asked what amendments to SB18 they had in mind - which is a normal course of action that bill author’s take when they are faced with opposition. When the measure’s opponents couldn’t, or wouldn’t, offer any amendments to make the bill at least somewhat more “acceptable”, Senator Greene ushered the bill’s antagonists out of his office with the statement, “I’ll see you in committee - and I’ll be calling in some IOUs.” SB18 was heard in the Senate Business and Profession’s committee in late January 1982, where it passed on an 7 to 2 vote. Along with my intense lobbying effort and committee testimony, I had asked Drs. Allen, Krpan, and Pumerantz (COMP’s President) to demonstrate their support for SB18. Then it went to the Senate Floor later that same month where it passed with a large plurality. In April, SB18 was heard in the Assembly Health Committee, and although the CMA, BMQA, and the CA medical schools showed up in committee with at least 6 full-time lobbyists and many Drs., including some former D.O.s, we were able to get the bill out of that committee with a vote of 13 to 6! In June, the measure passed the Assembly - and on July 7, 1982, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB18 into law! This bill’s enactment was the foundation on which I constructed both OPSC’s and COMP’s aggressive legislative programs, because I had established once and for all that the Board of Osteopathic Examiners (BOE) was the only licensing board that was empowered to license the Osteopathic Profession, approve schools of Osteopathic Medicine, and/or certify Osteopathic institutions. In the fall of 1982, during the waning hours of his Governorship, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that is still reverberating in most physician offices, hospitals, the state and federal governments, and millions of patients - AB3480 (Maddy). This was a bill that the health insurance, and the fledgling health maintenance organization (HMO) industries had wanted for years because it allowed them to “play doctor.” I only reference the signing of this measure to indicate a time frame when managed care was born in California, the impact it had on the practice of medicine, and its affect upon both the principles and practice of Osteopathic medicine - especially reimbursement within and under the managed care system. The next few years would prove to be among my busiest legislatively and accomplishment wise. Early in 1983 I had 5 bills introduced by a broad spectrum of State Legislators - AB3943, AB1050 (Bader-R); SB488 (Green-D); AB1021 (Felando-R); and SB1571 (Watson-D). SB1571 (Watson-D) During the summer of 1982 I receive a telephone call at the OPSC office in Sacramento from an Osteopathic student who was attending Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine. The young man related to me that he was a native Californian residing in Westwood near the UCLA campus and that he had been denied a clerkship that he had applied for at UCLA in the spring of 1982. The reason given by UCLA for the denial, was that the young man was not enrolled at an Allopathic school. I wrote a letter to UCLA on behalf of the Ostepathic student and sent a copy to then COMP Dean O.J. (Jerry) Bailes, D.O., OPSC’s attorney, and copies to the OPSC Board. The letters I received from both the Dean of UCLA’s medical school and the attorneys for the California University system were most upsetting. They claimed that there was no provision in the law for Osteopathic students to attend any training programs at any University of California educational locale. My next step was almost predictable - I went to see Senator Dianne Watson, a powerful black Democrat friend from the Los Angeles area - Dianne was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. When I told the Senator of the young Osteopathic student’s plight, Dianne said that I should formulate my ideas for a law to correct this injustice, take them to the Legislative Counsel for bill drafting and that she would author and introduce the measure. I suggested that the measure’s language should forthrightly state that Osteopathic medical students be eligible to apply, and be accepted, for elective clerkships/preceptorships in any medical school or training program in California. SB1571 was heard in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services in the spring of 1983 and the result was obvious - the bill received overwhelming approval, in spite of heavy opposition from the CMA and the University of California’s 6 medical schools. The measure was passed out of the Senate, again by a great majority and sent to the Assembly for a committee hearing. Because the Dean and attorney from UCLA had requested a meeting, we agreed to put off any Assembly action on the measure until early the following year. Later that summer, I received correspondence from both the UCLA medical school Dean and the University’s lawyers requesting a meeting at the school. I flew from Sacramento in the fall of 1983 and was met at LAX by Dr. Bailes who drove us to the UCLA campus. The meeting was, at the least, frustrating for the university’s representatives, because for a change the Osteopathic profession held the high ground. They told us that the bill’s language was “overly broad” and that we needed to amend it to “tone it down.” We told them “no” as politely as Jerry and I could muster the patience to do so, and then we left the UCLA campus. Suffice to say that SB1571 passed the Assembly Health Committee (where I had at least a dozen or more “friends” on the 19 member committee) and then passed off of the Assembly floor by a substantial margin. SB1571 was the bill was signed into law by our old friend, and then Governor, George Deukmejian in the summer of 1984. AB1050 (Bader-R) California has a number of agencies that either oversees or administers the state’s multitudinous health training projects, health care systems, and manpower programs. The major ones being The California Health Manpower Policy Commission that, among many other health care related responsibilities, administers the Song-Brown Family Physician Program and The California Medical Assistance Commission that oversees the state’s Medi-Cal program. In the spring of 1983 I asked newly elected Assemblyman Chuck Bader to author and carry two bills for me. He introduced AB1050 in 1983 and AB3943 the following spring. The intention of AB1050 was to add one D.O. to the California Health Manpower Commission. However when I completed the language of the measure, it would wind-up adding two. The Commission was comprised of an overabundance of M.D. representatives, including two commissioners from the ten Allopathic medical schools. Of course the bill met with considerable opposition from certain quarters on the commission, the CMA, and some hospitals that were involved in the Family Physician training program. COMP Dean Jerry Bailes testified in the Assembly Health Committee about the need for the bill. In July 1983, Governor Deukmejian signed AB1050 into law. The new law not only added a D.O. to the Health Manpower Policy Commission, but also afforded the profession the opportunity to submit a nominee from a private Osteopathic medical school accredited in California. The venerable Ethan R. Allen, D.O. was the profession’s first appointee to this influential commission. SB488 (Green-D) Back in the late 1970’s and into the early 1980s, the relationship between OPSC and the BOE was “out of Joint.” The major problems that had become very apparent were the following: Alex Tobin, the attorney that was credited with the winning of 1974s famed D’Amico CA Supreme Court case, was not only on the BOEs payroll as its “legal counsel,” but was also working for both the CA Chiropractic Assn and the CA Podiatric Assn as the two association’s “legal counsel” and lobbyist. OPSCs Board felt that there was clearly a conflict of interest that clouded the once trusting relationship that the Board had for the attorney. Added to that now strained relationship, was the growing mistrust by the OPSC leadership for the BOE’s Executive Secretary, Gareth Williams. The OPSC Executive Board met with a like group from the BOE at least twice during early 1983, to discuss Mr. Tobin’s status and licensing fee rates that OPSCs leadership had said was too high. The BOE representatives maintened that they needed the revenue that the various licensing fees raised (no doubt to pay for the licensing board’s expensive “legal counsel”). As soon as I returned from the OPSC’s 1983 San Diego convention, I asked my good friend, Senator Bill Green to author and introduce SB488. The gist of the bill was very straightforward - it simply lowered “ficticious name” fees from the then quite expensive annual rate of $325, to a more reasonable $100. Although the BOE’s Gareth Williams and Alex Tobin showed up with their opposition at every Senate and Assembly committee hearing, SB488 passed overwhelmingly. Later that summer, Governor Deukmejian signed the fee-lowering measure into law. AB1021 (Felando-R) In 1983, the BOE was literally “flying by the seat of their pants” as far as granting reciprocity for out of state and previously licensed D.O.s. Although introduced in 1983 by Assemblyman Jerry Felando, who was not only to become a good friend of mine, but a pretty reliable ally of the profession, we once again had to deal with the obstinance of the BOE. What they failed to understand, was that the profession not only had a large influx of numbers of D.O.s seeking reciprocity licensure, but the state had COMP graduates that had need of written procedures and tests, etc. Although the BOE had taken an official “oppose” position, Assemblyman Felando moved forward with AB1021 in early 1984. The bill codified the written examination and its procedures for both a first time licentiate an out of state physician applying for California licensure under Osteopathic provisions. OPSC President Dr. Joe Brueckmann testified on behalf of the profession and AB1021 passed out of committees and off of the floors of both houses of the State Legislature and was enacted by the same Governor in the summer of 1984. AB1258 (Rosenthal-D) The tension that existed between the OPSC Board of Directors and Board of Osteopathic Examiners (BOE) grew even worse when the Democrat Governor Jerry Brown appointees began to be replaced by Republican Governor George Deukmejian during 1984. Added to that scenario was the growing public outcry for all of the healing arts licensing boards to have public representation. THE M.D./D.P.M. licensing board, Board of Medical Quality Assurance (BMQA) had legislatively added 4 public members, the Dental Board 3, and the Board of Chiropractic Examiners 2, in 1983. I asked another friend of mine, and soon the profession’s, to introduce AB1258, a bill that would add public members effective January 1, 1985. During the hearing that took place in the Assembly Health Committee, the Governor Brown holdover BOE board members, along with their Executive Secretary Gareth Williams and legal counsel Alex Tobin, opposed this measure, and in addition they were in the forefront of suing the state and its Legislature for extending the public member concept to the BOE, and in doing so, gave the Osteopathic profession a totally unprofessional “black-eye.” OPSC President Dr. Joe Brueckmann assisted Assemblyman Rosenthal and I in giving positive testimony on behalf of the profession. Needless to say AB1258 passed the committees and floors of both legislative houses and was signed into law by Governor Deukmejian in September 1984. Before the year was out, all 5 BOE members were replaced by the following D.O.s: Dr. Bob Acosta of Fremont, Dr. Don Dilworth of Escondido, Dr. Bryn Henderson of Huntington Beach, Dr. Richard Pitts of Orange, and Dr. Ken Stahl of Newport Beach. Among the first actions taken by the new BOE was in accepting the resignation of the board’s Executive Secretary Gareth Williams, firing Legal Counsel Tobin, and rescinded the public member lawsuit. The newly constituted BOE then hired Linda Bergmann as Executive Secretary, where she has remained until the present day. AB3943 (Bader-R) Although the profession had a representative on the California Health Manpower Policy Commission, there wasn’t any impetus or funding for Osteopathic Family Physician Residency training programs coming from the commission. Early in 1984, I asked my fine friend Assemblyman Chuck Bader to introduce a bill that dealt with this subject. Although the bill met with some opposition from some of the Song-Brown Family Physician Training program funding recipients, we moved ahead with AB3943. Once again, COMP’s Dean Jerry Bailes assisted me when he testified of the bill’s merits. The measure was amended, passed the Assembly and the Senate and became law when Governor Deukmejian signed it. AB3943 directed the state’s Health Manpower Policy Commission and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to conduct a special study on the overall needs for special state funding for Osteopathic medical residency programs for family physicians to be eligible to compete for funding under the state’s family physician training program. As one who was involved in a close, yet definitive way, it seems to me, that the profession has had more than an uphill climb getting the kind of professional status and recognition that they had worked so hard to attain. Discrimination against the D.O. degree, along with the derogatory use of the word “Osteopath,” in some Allopathically controlled medical sectors was wearing thin and demoralizing some D.O.s, particularly specialists, those in residencies, and students. Early in 1985, I had heard from a D.O. Ob-Gyn from Ohio, who had applied for a position in the Hayward Kaiser-Permanente facility.He flew to the newly opened No. CA facility at his own expense for the in-person interview. He didn’t get the position - the reason given, was that Kaiser-Permanente had a policy not to employ any D.O.s. He was told to come back and see them when he had his M.D. degree! With this, and other documented stories of professional discrimination, I went in search of an author to introduce legislation aimed at stopping the blatant prejudicicial unfairness. I found the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Professions, Senator Joe Montoya, an El Monte moderate Democrat. The plight of the Osteopathic profession resonated with the feisty Senator and his staff. Senator Montoya introduced SB586 in March of 1985 and it was sent to the Senate Insurance Committee where it passed 3 to 0. OPSC President Earl Gabriel, D.O. and Legislative Committee Chairman Ethan Allen, D.O. testified at that and the ensuing Senate Appropriations Committee hearings. Kaiser-Permanente and the rest of the HMO horde overpowered our efforts and we failed to get enough votes to get the measure out of the Appropriations Committee. SB586 didn’t have any request for funding in it, so why did the bill get referred to this committee? They were displaying who had the power - the HMO industry was flexing its political muscles and in doing that, they made me more resolved than ever that I was going to do everything within my strength and ability to get an Osteopathic anti-discrimination bill passed and signed into law! During the same time period, I had requested that Senator Bill Greene author and introduce a measure to change each and every mention of the terminology “Osteopath” in the California Labor Code to “Osteopathic Physician” and where appropriate, add the “and Surgeon.” This bill passed both houses of the Legislature, was signed by the Governor and afforded D.O.s equal treatment with M.D.s in treating and certifying workers’ compensation and disability insurance patients. I also asked Senator Montoya to introduce SB599, which would add Osteopathic family practice residency training programs to those approved as part of the Song-Brown state funded Family Training Act. The measure passed both houses of the Legislature but was vetoed by Governor Deukmejian. During 1985 the CA Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) tried to amend MICRA by having Senator Nick Petris introduce SB520. The bill was aired in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a group made up of lawyers and not known for its support of doctors. The entire medical and medical malpractice insurance community showed up en masse for that May hearing (CMA, CA Hospital Assn, CA Nurses Assn, HMOs, Liability Insurance Co Representatives, and me, representing OPSC). The Trial Lawyers used 2 witnesses - the CTLA President and a 40 year old man who was wheeled in in a wheel chair. His testimony was gut-wrenching. He had kidney removal surgery at Kaiser-Permanente’s Long Beach facility and the Kaiser surgeons excised the healthy kidney! Our group’s 6 speakers, of which I was one, did our best to rebut this emotional testimony, but it turned out that the 40 year old had turned down the $250,000 that the law allowed, on the advice of his attorney. Unbeknown to “the anti-change-to-MICRA-group” the hearing was televised as a “sensational human-interest news story” and my mother, who was residing in Florida at the time, while watching the 11PM news, saw me testifying against what she termed as, “that poor man,” called me, proceeded to chew me out for not being sympathetic to “that poor man.” Also during 1985, the Osteopathic profession was invited to participate in Governor Deukmejian’s two-day Symposium on Aids. Representing OPSC was then OPSC President Dr. Earl Gabriel and I. It was a “feather-in-our-cap.” SB306 (Montoya-D) During 1987, I began to take steps to overturn the blatant discrimination that was taking place in the patient-treatment market-place by the CMA; HMOs; the U.S., CA, and local government agencies; major insurance companies; and some hospitals. Once again I prevailed upon my growing friendship with Senator Joe Montoya, who had retained his powerful Chairmanship of the Senate Business and Professions’ Committee, to introduce and carry legislation for the profession. The Senator authored the first of four measures aimed at ending discrimination against the D.O. degree - three that Senator Montoya would introduce and carry himself. The first of these anti-discrimination forays was SB306. This measure was aimed at prohibiting hopitals, HMOs, insurance companies, PPOs, and self-insured benefit plans from discriminating on the basis of whether the physician & surgeon holds an M.D. or D.O. degree for the purposes of employment, staff privileges, providing professional service, or contracting. Before I relate the intense battle that took place the 6 major HMO lobbyists, the 3 lobbyists of the 9 the CMA used, the 2 from the CA Hospital Assn, and 2 from the health insurance industry - vs. me, as the lone part-time lobbyist for the Osteopathic profession, I would like to mention the commitment of Senator Montoya and his staff, (especially Manuel Zamorano, now a lobbyist for SCE). I had been in, or witnessed, legislative confrontations and struggles before, but nothing that had the ugliness and obstinacy involving SB306. This history making measure that would impact the profession up until the present-time, was introduced on February 5, 1987. Instead of the bill being heard in the Senate Business & Professions Committee, the Senate Rules Committee referred it to the Senate Insurance, Claims & Corporations Committee, where both the insurance & HMO industry had some major clout. I asked OPSC President Dr. Gil Roth, COMP’s Associate Dean Dr. Don Krpan, and OPSC Legislative Committee Chairman Dr. Ethan Allen to testify, in addition to Senator Montoya and me, in this vital Senate committee at the May 20th hearing. The days before the hearing date, I met with committee members and told them of the awful, unprofessional, and discriminatory treatment that some D.O.s were receiving from HMOs, insurance cos, and hospitals. All but 2 of the 6 Senators who would eventually vote “Aye” for SB306, committed to me in their offices. When the measure was voted on in that committee, the vote was 6 “Ayes” (Senators Davis, Deddeh, Doolittle, McCorqdale, Montoya, and Chairman Robbins. Voting “No” was Senator (now Congressman) Royce. The Senate floor was a different story. My tactics in the Senate committee had taken the opposition by surprise and they were not going to let that happen again! It takes 21 votes to approve a bill in the Senate (in the case of “urgency” measures it takes 2/3 or 27 yes votes). When Senator Montoya took up SB306 before the Senate on June 5th it failed passage by a vote of 19 “Aye” votes and 11 “No” votes, with 10 Senators not voting. The Senator and I scurried around, called in some IOUs, and Senator Montoya asked for, and received “reconsideration” by a vote of 36-0, for SB306 to be heard in the Senate again. The measure was “reconsidered” on June 22, 1987 and was passed out of the Senate by a vote of 21-14, after a difficult, and sometimes, nasty street brawl-like battle with the well-heeled and connected opposition. The next stop for SB306 was the Assembly Health Committee. It was pretty much the same scenario, with the opposition “pulling out all of the stops” and me laboriously meeting and talking with both the members, and staffs of this next-hurdle-committee. The day of the hearing, August 18th, I had the same physicians testify along with the Senator’s and my testimony, while growing opposition had at least 10-12 insurance company, HMO, and hospital CEOs and lobbyists speak againt SB306. The results were positive for OPSC. There were 12 “Ayes” and 3 “Nos.” Voting “No were Chairman Tucker and committee members Felando and Klehs. Voting “Aye” were Assembly and committee members Agnos, (yes, THAT Agnos of 1978s AB2691 renown), Doris Allen, Bronzan, Chandler,Ferguson, Filante, (who was an M.D.), Hill, Isenberg, Leslie, Moore, Polanco, and Lucy Roybal-Allard ( now a Congresswoman). SB306 passed the Assembly by a vote of 66 to 1, and was signed into law by Governor Deukmejian on September 4, 1987. It was a fight that I will not soon forget! AB2089 (Leslie-R) Now that the profession had a positive, pro-active BOE, and more cooperative Executive Secretary, the OPSC Board and I met with the aforementioned on a regular basis. The California profession was growing steadily, what with COMP’s graduating class size increasing yearly, and out-of-state D.O.s heading to the Golden State in ever-increasing numbers. The BOE could not keep up with the influx. I asked an old friend of mine Assemblyman Tim Leslie (we had been neighboring “staffers” together in early to mid 1970s), to author, introduce, and carry legislation that would permit the BOE to establish a birthdate license renewal program for D.O.s. The bill also codified and lowered “ficticious name” fees for osteopathic physicians. The BOE President, Richard Pitts, D.O., the OPSC President-Elect Donald Krpan, D.O., joined Assemblyman Leslie and me in testifying in favor of AB 2089. The measure passed both Legislative houses, and was enacted when Governor Deukmejian signed AB2089 into law. SB657 (Green-D) Osteopathic physicians had long been frustrated by the California Workers’ Compensation system. The profession’s dissatisfaction with the methods used by the state to fail to recognize D.O.s as being qualified to diagnose and treat injured workers (addressed by OPSC’s sponsored Senator Green’s SB587 passed and signed into law in 1985) and reimburse adequately for OMT was a well-known fact. So, I turned to my old buddy Senator Bill Green to carry a measure that would add 2 D.O.s to the Industrial Medical Council - the body that was responsible for such important items as setting rates of reimbursements for doctors who treat the state’s injured workers. At the time of the introduction of SB657, the composition of this Council, was 5 M.D.s, 1 Chiropractor, 1 Podiatrist, 1 Registered Nurse, and 3 representatives from the state’s Industrial Accident Division. The bill was initially taken up in the Senate Committee on Industrial Accidents, where the bill’s author, Senator Green was Chairman. So, there wasn’t any opposition in that committee, or the Senate Floor, where the measure received overwhelming approval. However, the Assembly Committee on Insurance was another matter. Both the Chiropractic and Podiatric associations’ opposed the bill on the grounds that they only had 1 representative on the Industrial Medical Council, and why was OPSC seeking to have 2 D.O.s on this important council? (Actually, I sought to have 1 D.O. on the IMC and thought if we asked for 2 D.O.s, that if there as any opposition, we could reduce our request). Senator Green and I were imposing in our arguments that a great many D.O.s performed “manual medicine techniques” on injured workers and the growing Osteopathic profession needed this vital representation. SB657 passed the Health committee and the Assembly floor in the summer of 1987 and was signed into law by Governor Deukmejian. The profession first appointees in 1988 were Laurie Woll, D.O. and Richard Pitts, D.O. Three years later, Richard Pitts, D.O., a Workers’ Compensation specialist, was elected Chairman of the Industrial Medical Council. During the following year (1988), I was as busy and successful with OPSC’s and COMP’s legislative agenda, as I had been in previous years. In 1988 I tackled a great many important issues that were critical, not only to the profession and its lone school (at the time), but to individual Osteopathic physicians and students. AB4197 (Isenberg-D) There was, and is a problem that most healing arts licensing boards were, and are faced with - what to do with practitioners who had, or have drug or drinking addictions. In the past, all the latitude any California licensing board had was a license suspension for a given period of time, and/or in the case of repeat offenders, license revocation. These licensing board actions were “lose-lose” situations for both the physician and his or her profession. Early in 1988, I drafted some language and went looking for a Legislator who would be sympathetic to my ideas. I found that “simpatico” in Assemblyman Phil Isenberg-D, who had been a “staffer” during the same period of time that I had been working in the State Capitol, and whose wife worked as a registered nurse in a drug rehab center. Assemblyman Isenberg introduced AB4197 - a measure that was aimed at creating the Osteopathic Physician & Surgeon Drug & Alcohol Diversion Program. The BOE embraced the ideas encompassed in the bill, so much so, that they encouraged me to go to the CMA & BMQA and ask if there would be any interest from the 2 organizations to include M.D.s in the language of AB4197. They made their inquiries and told me that they weren’t interested. With the help of Keith Simpson, D.O., who was in an alcohol & drug rehab practice, I was able to lobby the legislation to approval in both Houses of the State Legislature and it was signed by Governor Deukmejian in September 1988. It was the first-of-its-kind diversion program specifically designed for D.O.s in the country. Now, instead of having to either suspend or revoke a D.O.’s license for having a drug or alcohol addiction, the BOE had another avenue with which to save an osteopathically trained physician’s professional career. By implementing this diversion program, the doctor has the opportunity to enter a course geared toward helping him or her rid themselves of the addiction, all the while the physician remains in practice under the strict supervision of the BOE. AB4622 (Bader-R) With the growth of the profession in California, came the corollary of some osteopathic physicians who either had not taken and passed the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) written exam or osteopathic principles and practice on the state written exam from the state where the doctor was reciprocating. The aim of AB4622 was to permit the BOE to require the licentiate applicant to successfully complete a special examination (SPEX) in osteopathic principles and practice and general medicine as prepared by NBME and/or the BOE. Bryn Henderson, D.O., President of the BOE and OPSC President Donald J. Krpan, D.O. worked with me in securing passage of this important-to-the-viability of the D.O. license legislation. Governor Deukmejian signed the bill into law in September 1988. SB2236 (Craven-R) One of the more sensitive issues that the OPSC Ethics and Peer Review Committee dealt with, was the matter of fee disputes raised by patients. The same can be said for the BOE if the difficulty involved a non-OPSC member. As a result of this problem, I sought out a long-respected legislator and personal friend, Senator Bill Craven to introduce a measure that would be known as, “The Unconscionable Fee Act” - SB2236. The bill was clearly defined to protect D.O.s from unwarranted complaints, while at the same time it protected patients from fee abuses that go beyond “usual and customary” or reasonable charges. OPSC President Krpan joined my lobbying efforts in getting the measure approved and signed into law by the Governor. SB2267 (Green-D) In 1984, Senator Diane Watson introduced and carried legislation (SB1571) for the profession assuring osteopathic medical students the opportunity of participating in state university medical school’s elective clerkship programs. Some of the 9 state-run medical schools were not cooperating. Therefore, I went to my old friend Senator Bill Green, and told him of the dilemma, and he responded by introducing SB2267. The bill include non-discrimination language similar to SB306 that was afforded to licensed and practicing D.O.s. This bill was much stronger for California’s D.O. students - including legal relief. Senator Green and I were once again successful in getting the measure thru the legislative process, including the Governer’s signature. AB1924 (Bader-R) Osteopathic post-graduate training was the subject of this much needed bill. As envisioned, AB1924 created osteopathic post-graduate training program which would have offered the first-of-its-kind partnership involving the state of California, the osteopathic medical community, and hospitals collectively supporting the concept. The bill was to have established $120,000 in joint funding from the BOE and the state’s general fund, was opposed by the Deukmejian administration at first. In spite of their opposition, the measure passed out of the Assembly Health Committee, and off of the Assembly floor. Following this action, I arranged a meeting between members of the administration, Assemblyman Bader, OPSC President Krpan, COMP Dean Bailes, and me to work out differences. Subsequent to this meeting the administration removed its opposition. AB1924 passed the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee and the full Senate, only to be vetoed by Governor Deukmejian, in spite of a very strong letter writing appeal from the osteopathic profession and its students. SB2491 (Montoya-D) The most important piece of the 1988 OPSC 7 measure legislative agenda was SB2491! While I was able to successfully shepherd 6 out of the 7 bills that OPSC sponsored that year, nothing had the overall impact of this piece of legislation. SB2491 took over where SB306 left off and continued OPSC‘s and my personal efforts to overcome discrimination against the D.O. degree. This legislation focused specifically on hospital staff privilege problems by zeroing in on the issue of board certification. Many D.O.s were being denied hospital staff privileges because their certifying board was not “M.D.” Under the provisions of this landmark new law, which went into effect January 1, 1989, D.O.-M.D. board certification will be considered comparable, I.e., one not deemed to be the standard to which the other must adhere - rather, the two professions will be considered to be parallel, separate, comparable to one another. In addition to those vital provisions, I had included that the measure outlaw mandated membership in the CMA in order to obtain a PPO contract, an employment offer, or hospital privileges. SB2491 also included assurances for D.O. representation on hospital committees where D.O.s were on staff. Although there was some opposition from the CMA and hospitals, SB2491 did not receive one “No” vote, either in the two committees where the measure was heard, or on the floors of the two legislative houses! Governor Deukmejian signed SB2491 into law on August 31, 1988, thus ending more than three years of painstaking and arduous work on the part of yours truly. The language contained in both SB306 and SB2491 went on to become the model osteopathic antidiscrimination legislation that was embraced by the entire profession. The AOA and AOSED (Assn. of Osteopathic State Executive Directors) made a series of positive statements about the measures, as well as my unswerving hard work and resourceful role in the drafting and lobbying efforts in securing passage of these two vital pieces of legislation. 1989 was a rather less taxing legislative line up for me. I had 3 bills introduced that were aimed more at “housekeeping” and clarification, or in AB1181’s instance, lowering D.O. license fees. AB1180 (Leslie-R) There was a growing confusion regarding the reporting of CME hours - both to the BOE and the AOA. AB1180 stipulated that CME hours were to be reported to the BOE at intervals of not less than one year or more than three years. The measure passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Wilson, who was elected in November 1988. AB1181 (Leslie-R) For years, one of the frequent complaints of OPSC members was the matter of the excessively high licensing fees assessed by the BOE. With the arrival of the passage of both SB306 and SB2491, D.O.s were working more and more in settings that closely linked them with their M.D. peers. My guess is that they shared relevant info - such as BMQA license fees in comparison to the BOE’s. The M.D.s were paying a whole lot less than D.O.s. ($200 vs. $400). I talked my old chum Assemblyman Tim Leslie into introducing AB1181 that stipulated that D.O. license fees could be no higher than $200. The measure passed both houses and was signed by the Governor. AB1249 (Bader-R) Discrimination against osteopathic medical students reared its ugly head again - this time it was hospitals teaming up with the University of California medical schools. I asked an old friend, Assemblyman Chuck Bader to carry legislation that would put this matter to rest. He introduced AB1249 early in the 1989 legislative session and it passed both legislative houses, in spite of some opposition from the University. Governor Wilson signed the measure in the fall of 1989. 1990 was a “slow” year legislatively speaking. There was another attack on MICRA by the California Trial Lawyers Assn. But there were still additional issues that needed “fixing,” AB4361 (Leslie-R) There was a peculior statute in the state’s Business and Profession’s code that permitted physical therapists to employ and utilize “physical therapist aides.” So, at the December 1989 OPSC Board of Directors meeting, I told the Board of this anomaly and suggested that we look into the feasibility of having a Legislator introduce a bill that would permit a D.O. to employ an “Osteopathic Aide” for OMT, and describe the aide’s limitations. Once again, I prevailed upon my good friend Assemblyman Tim Leslie to author legislation (AB4361) that would permit this practice. During the hearing in the Assembly Health Committee the Physical Therapist’s Assn opposed the measure, on the lame statement that they used “aides” because they practiced physical medicine. I had done quite a bit of lobbying this committee, but prevailed upon Drs. Ethan Allen and Billie Strumillo, both of whom used OMT a lot in their respective practices, to testify on behalf of the bill. As a result of these stratagems, AB4361 passed that committee, and I went on to garner support for this measure in both houses of the State Legislature. The measure was signed into law by Governor Wilson. SB2036 (McQorcdale-D) As all healing arts professions do, the osteopathic medical profession had its share of ne’er-do-wells. From time to time OPSC or the BOE would find some D.O. who wasn’t “board certified,” holding themselves out as such. Because Senator McQorcdale had spoken out against this abuse of medical practice, I asked him to carry a bill for the profession. SB2036 simply stated that it was unlawful for a D.O. to hold themselves out as being “board certified” unless the certification was granted by the appropriate certifying board. The penalty for this untrue statement in some form of advertising was “unprofessional conduct” and possible license suspension. The measure passed both houses and was enacted by the Governor. SB194 (Morgan-R) The California Postsecondary Education Commission is the major state agency that is responsible for approving medical, law, dental and other professional post graduate institutions as well as vocational schools. Among other corrections, SB194 addressed a problem that COMP and other postsecondary educational institutions were experiencing under the California Postsecondary & Vocational Reform Act of 1989, namely that of receiving institutional approval for more than one year. Knowing of Senator Rebecca Morgan’s more than passing interest in this subject (the Senator was the author of the reform bill), I asked her to carry this measure for COMP. It passed both houses and was signed by Governor Wilson on September 28, 1990. During much of 1991 I was focused upon many of the matters that would affect the practice of medicine, but with all that these other issues entailed, had 3 pieces of legislation introduced. Even with the Proposition 140 mandated cuts on the amount of legislative staff, both houses introduced nearly 4,000 measures, with almost 20% of them affecting health care! AB437 (Frizelle-R) The BOE was having trouble licensing out-of-state D.O.s who hadn’t taken and passed a written exam in the state from which they were requesting reciprocity. I went to another old friend of mine, Assemblyman Nolan Frizelle from Newport Beach. Nolan, who was an Optometrist himself, empathised with the Osteopathic profession. I asked him to carry a bill that would require a reciprocity licensure applicant to successfully complete written exam prepared either by the NBOME or the CA BOE. The Orange County Assemblyman included this provision plus a stipulation that the applicant had to hold an unlimited license, as opposed to an unrestricted one, in his AB437 legislation. The measure passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Wilson in September of 1991. AB1332 Friizzelle-R) During the 1990 legislative session, BMQA had its name changed to the Medical Board of CA. After a meeting of the BOE with the Executive Board of OPSC, it was mutually decided to change the BOE’s name to the Osteopathic Medical Board (OMB). I went once again to my friend Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle, told him what we wanted to do, and why, and Nolan introduced AB1332. While we were at this change in name for the licensing board, I had the Assemblyman include language in every CA code where the terms “osteopath” and/or “osteopathy” were delineated, to change those outmoded descriptions to read “physician & surgeon, D.O.,” or “osteopathic physican & surgeon,” or “osteopathic medicine.” The proposed legislation also mandated that a D.O. had to be practicing in CA before he or she could be appointed to the licensing board. AB1332 was overwhelmingly approved by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Wilson in September 1991. SB476 (Watson-D) The Senator and had long championed the concept of having a minority health professional foundation for the express purpose of increasing the participation of under represented minorities in the health professions. I asked Diane to introduce SB476 for this purpose. This legislation created this foundation and established programs in conjunction with the state’s medical schools, including COMP. SB476 gained approval in both houses and was signed by the Governor in September 1991. It was growing clear to me, that although I was winning an inordinate number of legislative battles, seeing as how I was the lone parttime lobbyist for the osteopathic profession waging war with the CMA, HMO’s, and hospital associations and their combined 20+ lobbyists, that there was still more to do regarding discrimination against the D.O. degree. Knowing that, I again set out in 1992 to rid California of this wrong. AB2372 (Frizzelle-R) We had gotten to 1992 and there was still a problem with HMO’s, other managed care, and/or risk based entities, discriminating about D.O. board certification. After hearing from disgruntled D.O.’s about their experiences with the aforementioned entities, I sought out my old Orange County friend, Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle, told him the frustrating plight of these doctors, and he responded by introducing the language that I had come up with, in AB2372. The measure went to the heart of the problem by broadening the antidiscrimination statutes that had been previously codified in SB306 and SB2491. AB2372 addressed and strengthened D.O. board certification by including the above listed entities as being mandated to accept D.O. board certification as being separate, but equal with M.D. board certification. We were in for a fight and we knew it. I asked Drs. Don Krpan, (also COMP’s Dean) & Norm Vinn from the OPSC Board, Dr. Bryn Henderson from the OMB, and a constituent of the Assemblyman, to testify on behalf of this important bill. The HMO/managed care industry countered with at least 6 lobbyists & 5 HMO company CEO’s in attempting to thwart us & AB2372. They failed, & this much needed legislation won the approval of the Assembly Health Committee by a vote of 13 to 4. The bill went on to pass both houses and was signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson in September 1992. AB2944 (Brulte-R) The Osteopathic profession was being rebuffed in having its D.O. family practice training programs approved & funded by the Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development within the authority of the Song-Brown postgraduate training program. The problem was that no official state government entity had established any standards for these family practice curricula. I related the profession’s predicament to a new Assemblyman, Jim Brulte, who once worked for former Assemblyman Chuck Bader as his district office aide, to carry a bill for me that would address this vital training issue. In the language of AB2944 was this caveat: that the California Health Manpower Policy Commission was charged with the responsibility to establish standards for D.O. family practice training programs, to review each proposal, & make recommendations to the Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development regarding the funding of these programs. The measure passed both legislative houses & was signed by Governor Wilson in September 1992. In 1993, OPSC’s legislative agenda included two bills - AB1987 (Horcher-R) & AB1855 (Isenberg-D). While AB1987 passed without too much fuss, you’d have thought that in AB1855, that we were suggesting that someone steal the crown jewels of England from the sound & fury generated by the six Univ. of California medical schools. AB1987 said three distinct things: (1)-it would allow a special purpose exam to be offered to those D.O.s in need of such an exam during the phase in of the osteopathic pathway to licensure thru the NBOME; (2)-it would continue to remove obsolete references to the osteopathic profession in state statutes; (3)-it would provide for truth in advertising for board certified D.O.s. This measure passed both houses & was signed into law in the fall of 1993. AB1855 sent one emphatic message - that by January 1, 1995 the Univ. of California’s six medical schools will be mandated to reprioritize its postgraduate training programs from over 80% specialty to 50% primary care, with 40% of those residencies in family care. It was basically a reintroduction of AB3593 by the same author which had received two house approval, only to be vetoed by Governor Wilson in September 1992. Although these Univ. of CA medical schools are heavily subsidized by California’s taxpayers, AB1855 still failed. During 1994, the association and I were able to get some “housekeeping” legislation passed, yet at the same time we were able to devise strategies to maintain OPSCs firm handle on managed care and government sponsored healthcare programs. AB3732-(Takasugi-R) During the 1993-94 state budget fight about California’s financial woes that ensued for many months between Governor Wilson and the Democrats who had a majority in both houses, the state government to “appropriate” certain board’s and commission’s reserves. The state government “borrowed” almost $1 million from the OMBC, along with millions of dollars from other state entities, to balance its 1993-94 state budget. Because of the aforementioned fiscal fiasco, I asked relatively new Assemblyman Takasugi to introduce a bill that would permit the OMBC to increase D.O. license fees from $200 to $300 as part of an effort to restore its once sound reserve. In its final form, the measure also codified the AOA requirements of 150 hours of AOA approved CME in a 3 year cycle, with 60 of those hours in category one, and stating a fee increase expiration date of July 1999. AB3732 passed both legislative houses and was signed into law by the Governor in September 1994. AB2089-(Brulte-R) During the 1991-92 legislative session, Senator Bill Craven authored CMA sponsored legislation making strengthening changes in the law regarding M.D.s supervising physicians assistants (P.A.s). When I went to the Senator and asked him to include D.O.s in the bill, he told me that he would ask the measure’s sponsors and get back to me. Of course, the CMA said an emphatic NO! So, I asked my friend Assemblyman Jim Brulte to introduce legislation that would address D.O.s supervising P.A.s, as well as strengthening statutes involving D.O.s overseeing P.A.s in any medical setting. AB2089 was passed by both houses and enacted when Governor Wilson signed the bill. From 1980, when OPSC and COMP went on the offensive, thru 1994 when we stopped introducing legislation that only affected the Osteopathic profession and/or its students, I worked extremely long, arduous hours on behalf of this uniquely American profession. Of the 49 different bills I had introduced, 39 of them passed the legislative process, 2 were vetoed by Governor Deukmejian, and 37 of these important-to-the-profession’s-survival-and-acceptance were signed into law by 3 different Governors over a period of 15 years.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What were your responsibilities, goals, challenges, failures, and successes in your career within and/or outside of the osteopathic profession?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  As OPSCs Executive Director for nearly 20 years, I laid out a very ambitious set of goals for both the association and me to accomplish. A large portion was achieved in the very aggressive legislative agenda that I planned out. I would rank these successes very high in meeting one of the foremost challenges that both the profession and I faced from the “get-go.” Among my major responsibilities were, in addition to legislative advocacy, the publishing of newsy “Journals” & newsletters, coordinating the conventions & other CME seminars, managing the day-to-day affairs of the association, organizing Board & Annual meetings, interfacing with the AOA, AOSED & other osteopathic & allopathic organizations, and improving communications within & outside of OPSC. From my career’s standpoint, frankly speaking, working for OPSC, while the position was fulfilling from both the cause and accomplishment perceptions, from both a paycheck and retirement plan aspect, OPSC fell short of both my family’s needs and expectations. I passed up several better paying opportunities that offered superior benefits, especially retirement plans, because of, as my wife would say, my inordinate sense of loyalty. At the end of my tenure with OPSC, I felt so betrayed by some in “leadership,” that I sensed a “what have you done for us lately” attitude eminating from some OPSC Board members. I’m now 73, our financial resources almost depleted, in poor health, suffering from some as yet undiagnosed neurological disorder that has me wheelchair bound, my speech is extremely slurred, and I’m very dependent upon my wife to bathe and dress me, and aside from Drs. Paul Steier, Joe Brueckmann, and you, it seems to me that Osteopathic profession & students don’t give a damn about the man who saved the California profession, put it back on its feet, and made sure it had a prosperous and non-discriminatory future. My biggest professional failures were in not adequately convincing the OPSC leadership that they, and not me or the office staff, were really responsible for bringing in new members. The other failure was in not reaching the recent-into-practice-physicians, and not being able to convince them of what had been fought for and accomplished over a 20 year period - FOR THEM!
  • Dr. Seffinger:  How were you able to accomplish your goals?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  My tenacity, network of influential people, a lot of friends both staffers and members of the state legislature, and during the years from 1978 thru 1992, an OPSC Board of Directors that were both helpful and supportive of my efforts, helped me to accomplish a good many of my goals.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Who were your mentors? Who were your supporters? Who did you mentor?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  The most influential of my mentors was my boss when I was employed by the state legislature - Assemblyman Bob Burke. He taught me many things that I used later on as the legislative advocate for OPSC & COMP. Bob shared a lot of information with me over the 10 years that we worked together and some of it was: how to read a bill, especially looking for some of its subtle nuances; how most of the lobbying to get a bill passed or defeated in a committee is accomplished in an individual legislator’s office and not in the committee hearing; how to draft a bill so that it accomplishes what you want and not what some committee member or the opposition wants; and lastly, he taught me how to garner support in each of the committee members’ districts. I spent 10 years working for both Bob and the state legislature honing my skills. My mentors who taught me so much about the Osteopathic profession in my early days with OPSC were: Drs. Ethan Allen, Don Dilworth, Dick Eby, Viola Frymann, my own personal “Doc” - Lou Orlando, and the late Dwight James, whose position of OPSCs “Exec” I took over in June 1978. My major supporters during my tenure as OPSCs executive director, they were, in no particular order: Drs. Don Krpan, Joe Brueckmann, Ethan Allen, Stu Chesky, Steve Pulverman, Alan Menkes, Gil Roth, Bill Treviranus, Mitch Kasovac, Lou Orlando, Paul Steier, Don Dilworth, Viola Frymann, Bryn Henderson, the Agresti family, Dick Eby and my wife Marlene. I mentored many of the former OPSC staff members. Foremost of these individuals are the following: Jim Eli, who is now managing an association; Jackie Miller, who I employed in 1980 as a part-time clerical, and she came on board full-time 3 years later. I personally took Jackie under my wing and taught her meeting planning and the fine points of the legislative process. She is employed, along with her partner Tom Riley, as OPSCs lobbyists; Carole Leveroni, who works for an association multi-management firm; Marie May, who last I knew, was employed by the Fresno Optometric Assn. as their newsletter editor; Jennifer Rigley, who is employed by the CA Grocers’ Assn. as their meeting planner; Assembly Members Chuck Bader, Jim Brulte, and Doris Allen, who I showed how to operate within the legislative process; and countless others.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What were some of your greatest challenges in relation to the osteopathic profession in CA?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  Please go to my lengthy answer of #5. Another answer to this question would be, that too many D.O.s, including some in present day leadership, would happily exchange their D.O. degree for an M.D. degree and not look back. As Pogo would say, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Yet another answer would have to be the enormous opposition from the CMA, the UC Medical schools, and the HMO industry.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What advice do you have for future osteopathic physicians in training?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  You are an integral part of an irreplaceable and distinctively American healing arts profession, protect, safeguard, and nurture it - a lot of osteopathic physicians who brought the profession back from near-extinction here in California are depending on you.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What advice do you have for future allopathic physicians in training?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  Please get to your 2 parent organizations, the AMA and CMA, and have them use their considerable political muscle to rid our state and nation of the death-knell of real and caring healthcare - HMOs.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What documents do you have or know about that we should look up or reference to corroborate the facts you mention in your replies?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  I have in my possession copies of the OPSC and COMP legislative folders, plus many of the OPSC publications. Plus I have copies of some of the Governor-signed bills that some of the authors gave me as a momento.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Who else should we contact that was instrumental in the historical development of osteopathy in CA?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  I believe that you have already contacted the people that I would suggest.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Is there anything else you would like to talk about or discuss in relation to osteopathy in CA?
  • Mr. Weyuker:  I think that I should bring up the following personal observance: in March 1998, at the Las Vegas OPSC Convention and Annual Meeting, OPSC’s Board of Directors voted to unanimously to grant me the title of “Executive Director Emeritus,” and to date there has been no reference IN PRINT -ANYWHERE - in any OPSC letterhead stationary or official publications of this “fact.” I’ve written the following OPSC Presidents about this slight, they are: Drs. Brad Grant, Marc Braunstein, Kevin Jenkins, and Harold Jackson, and I never received a response! You are now a member of the OPSC Board, and I’m asking you to research the minutes of the board meeting that took place the evening before the 1998 Convention started, and see if it was voted on and recorded as such. If it was, please have this rebuff corrected.