Sunday, September 30, 2012

Response to "Desperate parents surrender autistic children to state custody"

My response to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune titled: Desperate parents surrender autistic children to state custody

"Autism is a real neuro behavioural disease. It does have many different presentations and degrees of severity. Some patients can be relatively high functioning, but as this article illustrates, many patients and their loved ones can be devastated for both the short and long term due to the many problems which are so destructive. Further, this disease is widespread with the studies showing up to 1 in 47 children afflicted. It may be even more prevalent. Families suffer in so many ways: financially, emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, due to the many presentations and due lack of primary training in this area, many physicians do not diagnose this condition early nor know the best ways to treat. Research is on going and treatments are evolving that promise to be more effective. 

 Clearly, early intervention can be very beneficial. But treatments can be and are expensive--as are too many areas of medical care nowadays--and often not covered by traditional third party insurance, so patients and their families are left to cope with the costs and go without or experience crippling healthcare related costs. I support increased research in the area of autism by our medical centers. We need to know more about causes and develop evidence based treatments. I encourage inquiry by our legislature into fairer and more effective ways to fund treatment of autism. Our current legislation in Utah is incomplete and we need together to meet as patients, families, insurers and medical providers to resolve this problem of recognition and under treatment of this condition." 

 Brian Shiozawa MD FACEP

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I had a great time at the Canyons District PTA event on Tuesday night at Jordan High School.  It was great to share my passion for public education with others who are concerned about our state's public education system.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Utah's Jobless Rate

Interpreting and attributing Utah’s jobless rate falling to 5.8% can be complicated, but one thing is clear: Utah is doing something right.  Governor Herbert calls it ‘wise economic stewardship and fiscal prudence’.  I agree, but will add that there is indeed something special about the people here in Utah.  I’ve lived in other parts of the country, and I’m impressed that there’s a special spirit of hard work, responsibility, and innovation in this state.  

Still, 5.8% is not something we should settle for.  Putting Utahns back to work is a priority for me.  

I’m an avid reader, and I stumbled across an interesting quote recently in a novel.  Two men are riding in a train out in the old American west, reflecting on their condition and their fare in life.  One expresses his regret at moving his family to the area.  He  was seeking opportunity, leaving behind a job that didn’t challenge or satisfy him.  He remarks, “I wasn’t makin’ anything back there, just working sunup to sundown on the farm.”  His friend replies “It will be the same here.  Wherever a man is, there is work to do.  That’s the very best part.”  

This response startles him, and he asks “The very best part?” His wise friend affirms, “The very best part.  My friend, there is a Hell.  It’s when a man has a family to support, has his health, and is ready to work, and there is no work to do.  When he stands with empty hands and sees his children going hungry, his wife without the things to do with.  I hope you never have to try it”.

I am not blind to the struggles that many Utahns have faced during this Great Recession--I see them everyday.  I treat them in the ER when they have lost their insurance from their employer and when they can’t afford to go anywhere else for healthcare.  I care deeply for these people, and I have solutions that will help create more jobs for Utahns.  

By electing me, you have the opportunity to be represented by a Senator with experience in healthcare and small business, a Senator who will always listen and respond and have a dialogue with you.  Vote Brian Shiozawa on Nov. 6th.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Politics Up Close: Senate Candidate Brian Shiozawa

Listen as I talk the issues with KCPW! This radio interview aired on Friday, September  21st.  We talk about healthcare reform, funding for public education, and the campaign to represent Senate District 8!

Politics Up Close: Senate Candidate Brian Shiozawa, The Tribune’s Thomas Burr

My Year in the UMA

Last Friday, I was joined by my wonderful family as I passed the torch of leadership of the Utah Medical Association to its new President, Dr. Brian Hales.  This was a bittersweet experience for me; I will miss my time as President, but I know that Dr. Hales has much to add in this new role.  I think this is an appropriate time for me to reflect on the things we were able to accomplish in the last year.

Here are a couple of legislative highlights:

House Bill:  this legislation which we advocated, was to allow physician offices the right to dispense free samples of medications for up to 30 days or longer, depending on medical necessity.  Previously, DOPL regulations prohibited clinics sending home more than 3 days worth of medications.  We recognize that patients often do not fill their prescriptions due to cost and studies have shown that over half of prescriptions are never filled thus putting the patient in significant danger.  By increasing this sampling time, doctors can  provide free medications, for a significant length of time, to patients who may not be able to afford them.

Another bill dealt with the treatment of cancer patients.  This bill allows oncologists and cancer clinics to treat patients at the time of service at the clinic with specific anti cancer medications provided at cost.  Previously, patients had to leave the clinic and obtain their oncology medications.  Often, patients are very ill from the disease itself or from the side effects of their treatments.  This bill helps patients to obtain these vital medications and then post treatment to go directly to their homes or rehab centers without the delay in getting their medications filled or ordered.

I really liked both of these bills as they truly helped patients.  

SJR 15 was a very important bill that I testified on before the Senate Committee.  In late 2011, a District Court ruling struck down protection of peer review in hospitals.  This ruling created the dangerous potential of limiting the frank and open discussion by physicians and  hospital personnel about patient complaints, injury and system problems. The result would be lack of discussion due to fear of litigation. This bill restored an amendments of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the confidentiality and peer review protection.  This restored the confidential review of cases in order to improve quality care.  Importantly, the bill did not limit the rights of the patient to their records nor inhibit their rights to litigation, if they choose.

Another rewarding role was to be the physician representative on the Utah State Medical Liability Reform Committee.  Chaired by Lt Gov. Bell, this committee has worked with many stakeholders including the trial attorneys, Utah Medical Association, Department of Health, etc. to consider alternatives to current medical liability system which is very problematic.  The current liability system is fraught with adversarial, hugely expensive legal proceedings which does not help the injured patient.  We are studying an early dispute resolution program as an alternative to the traditional tort system.  This program, if adopted would allow patients and physicians to communicate and resolve their disputes sooner and in a much more open and collegial manner.  Similar programs in Michigan have found much lower costs, fairer and quicker dispute resolution;  further, patients retain their ability to opt out to the traditional system if needed.

These are just a few of the legislative highlights of the past year for me.  It was engaging, and rewarding as we successfully advocated for patient care, public health and preserving the doctor patient relationship.

Healthcare Reform is an extremely important issue to me, and I hope to continue to fight for reasonable, bipartisan healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

Today we remember with sadness the tragedy of 9/11.  We give thanks for all those who have and continue to give their lives for our great nation's freedoms.  May we never forget the lives sacrificed on that day, or the unity and somber pride we felt as Americans that day and every day since.

Like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of that awful morning.  We were eating breakfast as a family when a call came on the phone to turn on the news.  I remember tears being shed as we held each other in shock and fear.

That night, we watched on television as the Cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point held a candelight vigil, the first time in history that such an event was held for an event other than the death of a current Cadet.  Our oldest son, Brian, had just recently begun his first year of training there.  My wife, Joye, and I were proud of his decision to serve but we worried as we wondered what his military service might bring in the surely troubling and difficult years ahead.

Fortunately, this great nation has risen from the ashes of that tragedy.  We are blessed to continue to enjoy the freedoms espoused in our Constitution.  I am reminded of the lyrics of the beautiful hymn “America the Beautiful”:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!”

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Something that has been on my mind a great deal recently is the idea of foundations.  The foundation of good public education is good teachers; the foundation of a good healthcare system is a strong doctor-patient relationship; the foundation of strong small businesses is fiscal responsibility; and as I’ve met with many people in District 8, I’ve been impressed more and more that the foundation of our society is families. Truly, nothing is more crucial to good society than strong families--in every form they take--producing good, contributing citizens.

So naturally, one of the most important commitments a candidate for state office can offer is to strengthen families. When families succeed, people succeed, and those people go on to solve problems they encounter in the world around them.

My campaign’s three primary focuses--affordable, bipartisan healthcare reform, improving public education, and providing strong support for small businesses--all serve to help families succeed.  I know this because these have all helped and blessed my family.

My wife, Joye, and I have been married for thirty years. She is the foundation of our family, and I owe my happiness and the happiness of our family to her. Together, we’ve raised our four children here in Utah and we can say enthusiastically that truly, ‘this is the place’. When we married, we faced the  uncertainties faced by all families--we didn’t know where work and child-rearing would take us, or what struggles we might face along the way.  Fortunately, we have been able to raise our family in Utah. Our children all attended public high schools in Salt Lake City.  Because of good teachers and good administrators, they were well prepared to enter college and begin pursuing the careers of their choice. Utah’s business-friendly environment has fostered a climate that gives them confidence in being able to find jobs and provide for their own families.  And through all of this, our high-quality healthcare system has kept them healthy and fit for the daily challenges of life.  Nothing has been so rewarding as to raise our children together in this great State, and that’s a feeling we share with so many great people in SD8.

But, these three systems--healthcare, education, and small business--require responsible stewardship.  The families of Utah deserve a government that will help public schools, hospitals, and businesses to better serve those who need and use them.  As a candidate to represent you and yours on Capitol Hill, you have my promise that I will always represent you effectively.  Your interests will be my interests. I will fight to make sure that your family’s needs are a priority.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sign-Drop Blitz

We had a great turnout at our campaign sign-drop event today.  Support is growing and the word is getting out! Find out more about my candidacy at my website and get involved. Let's take this message of practical, bipartisan healthcare reform, support for public schools and small business all the way to Capitol Hill this fall!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Campaign Billboard

Check out our new campaign billboard as you drive north on Highland Drive near 6200 South!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Autism in Utah

I enjoyed attending the recent Autism Conference at Sugarhouse  Park.  Autism is a neuro- behavioral disease which has recently received increased attention locally and nationally.  There is an especially high prevalence of autism in Utah. The conference was well attended and very informative.  Even as a physician I learned a great deal, especially about the efficacy of early recognition and treatment.  Such early diagnosis and intervention by trained medical personnel can result in better outcomes and improved prognosis.  This can result in lifelong benefits of improved academic, behavioral and social functioning of the autism patient.  However, many patients remain untreated and under-treated due to lack of insurance or private funds by patient's families.  This  under-treated condition then becomes chronic, resulting in huge medical, social and long term economic costs, estimated to be 1.5-3 million dollars per patient.  This a huge, unaffordable, unsustainable burden to the patient, their loved ones and our communities.  Some families are forced onto Medicaid insurance due to the costs.

In Utah we have previously had legislation that addressed the recognition of autism as a disease and also insurance coverage.  However, we still have gaps in coverages.  The estimated increase in insurance costs resulting from treating autism, if any, would be relatively small.  The  long term health, social and economic benefits of early treatment to the patient, their families and to the community are very big.  It makes good sense on many levels to address a change in insurance to treat and prevent the consequences of this disease.  It is a common-sense measure for which I am proud to voice my support.