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Senate Votes To Create Public Health Department

Sacramento, CA — The state Senate wants to create a Department of Public Health to help prepare California to deal with a major epidemic or terrorist attack.

Senators voted 22 to 12 Thursday to send the Assembly a bill by Senator Deborah Ortiz of Sacramento that would split the new department off from the Department of Health Services and require the governor to appoint a physician to head it.

Bill supporters say that public health programs are overshadowed now by the Department of Health Services´ administration of Medi-Cal, the state´s health care program for the poor.