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Calif. Law Requires Hospitals To Increase Involvement of Caregivers

A new state law (SB 675) requiring California hospitals to involve patient caregivers in the hospitalization and discharge process is scheduled to take effect in January, Kaiser Health News/New America Media reports.

Details of Law

Under the law, by state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada/Flintridge), hospitals must:

  • Identify patients' caregivers;
  • Inform caregivers of a patient's discharge date; and
  • Provide caregivers with discharge instructions about a patient's needs, such as medications (Gorman, Kaiser Health News/New America Media, 12/30).

Hospitals still must comply with privacy requirements and cannot release information without a patient's consent.

The law, which is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, was supported by the American Association of Retired Persons. It passed unanimously in the state Legislature (Sandler, Modern Healthcare, 12/29).

Eighteen states, including California, now have passed such laws (Kaiser Health News/New America Media, 12/30/15).

Some experts say the law could help:

  • Cut costs;
  • Improve quality of care; and
  • Prevent readmissions.

However, other stakeholders say the law could add another level of "bureaucracy" and complicate discharge plans (Modern Healthcare, 12/29).

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